Evidence points to the fact that acupuncture can provide a safe and effective solution for the millions suffering from neuropathy or nerve pain. Read more below on how this ancient medicine provides a modern solution.
Ancient medicine for the modern body:
How acupuncture can help neuropathy pain
Diseases of the nervous system are call neuropathies. There are many different types and classifications depending on where to disease and origin is. In addition, there can be single nerve involvement like in carpal tunnel syndrome or multiple nerves can be affected and interfere with a wide area.
What causes neuropathy?
Neuropathy can be induced by chemotherapy, caused by toxins, autoimmune, and even be hereditary. It can also be caused by a wide range of factors including alcohol abuse, HIV infection, systemic diseases like hypothyroidism, vitamin deficiencies, lyme disease, and most commonly diabetes mellitus. In some cases neuropathy can actually have no specific cause and considered “idiopathic.” It is thought that 46% of neuropathy is idiopathic in origin (uptodate, 2019).
Which can be very frustrating for many people.
Symptoms often include gradual onset of numbness most commonly in legs and feet, tingling sensations, sensitivity to touch, and even skin color changes. Also, people may have balance issues and muscle weakness or loss of muscle control.
Standard treatment approach examined
The first-line of care is proper diagnosis and testing by primary care doctor and neurologist. In patients with diabetes, tight control of blood glucose is critical to help maintain proper nerve function. While with other causes, treatments may vary and often are prescribed Gabapentin or other medications that often do not provide full resolution of symptoms plus the unwanted side effects.
The issue with Gabapentin
In a recent study, it was found that Gabapentin, may cause memory loss and weakened muscles. Interestingly, in an article in JAMA Internal Medicine, it stated that Gabapentin use has tripled between 2002 and 2015. This is thought to be partially due to the opioid epidemic shift from doctors prescribing opioids to now prescribing more Gabapentin.
In a 2019 article in the NY Times, Physicians from University of South Carolina School of Medicine were looking at why Gabapentin was being commonly prescribed.
Dr. Goodman stated in the article, “There is very little data to justify how these drugs are being used and why they should be in the top 10 in sales. Patients and physicians should understand that the drugs have limited evidence to support their use for many conditions, and there can be some harmful side effects, like somnolence, dizziness and difficulty walking.”
Can acupuncture help?
Quick answer is absolutely!
In a 2019 study looking at acupuncture and its affect on peripheral neuropathy. The systemic review showed that acupuncture can help symptoms of peripheral neuropathy with little to no side effects. Most patients examined in the study saw improvement in neuropathy symptoms in 3-4 weeks following prescribed treatment frequency protocol. In a different study, researchers found that acupuncture improved nerve conduction in people with neuropathy.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture works by stimulating blood flow to increase nerve and muscle function. It is a safe and effective treatment for promoting pain reduction, decreasing inflammation, and restoring function.
If you suffer from neuropathy, please give our office a call today, (425) 686-4498 to see how we can help!
Schedule online here:
Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist in Bothell, WA at her practice Starting Point Acupuncture. She is a pain specialist, seeing people who suffer from chronic pain, migraines, as well as digestive issues. Offering pain relief injections, acupuncture, facial rejuvenation, and nutrition consults. Most insurances accepted. Dr. Ellie Heintze is also the author of the book, A Starting Point Guide to Going Gluten-Free on Amazon.
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Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc
- Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
- Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
- Master’s Degree in Chemistry
Northern Arizona University
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