Peripheral Neuropathy & Neuropathic Pain
Peripheral Neuropathy (PN) is a condition of damage to nerve fibers that extend outside of the brain and spine (peripheral nerves). The resulting pain is often called Neuropathic pain or simply “Neuropathy”. In some cases, the cause of PN may obvious, such as when nerve compression or entrapment occurs (post-trauma or injury). In other cases, peripheral neuropathy is the result of other conditions including: diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or heavy metal toxicity. PN may also be a result of chemotherapy or other neurotoxic drugs.
Common symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy include:
-Numbness, tingling, or burning pain.
-Sharp pain and/or areas extremely sensitive to contact.
In some cases there is a loss of nerve signal being sent to an area and the following symptoms may result:
-Muscular weakness or wasting.
-Numbness or insensitivity to touch or temperature.
-In many cases, symptoms are worse in evening hours and overnight.
With many possible root causes of PN, there are over 50 specific classifications for the many types of peripheral neuropathies. Each type of PN has its own classic group of symptoms, progressions, and therefore prognosis. Whatever the root cause, Peripheral Neuropathy can be effectively treated with Acupuncture and, in some cases Herbal Medicine.
Acupuncture predominantly has its effect through stimulation to peripheral nerves. Therefore acupuncture is an ideal therapy for conditions of Peripheral Nerve dysfunction, such as PN. By stimulating the neuro-vascular complex and improving local circulation, the body can better repair effected nerves and related structures. When circulation is stimulated, oxygen and nutrient transport is increased to the local area, thereby nourishing and repairing the nerve tissues of the affected area. Not only can this process repair damage to peripheral nerves, it can also quickly reduce pain and restore mobility.
In addition to standard acupuncture, electro-acupuncture (transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation, TENS), may be employed to quicken the results. Electro-acupuncture uses a small electrical pulse to block pain signals and further stimulate local tissues. In some cases Herbal Medicine and/or physical therapy may be combined to achieve faster results.