Peripheral nerves connect the brain and the spinal cord to other parts of our body, such as muscles or skin. When it gets injured, it can interfere with our brain’s ability to communicate with muscles and organs in our body.
If you feel tingling or numbness in your leg, arm, shoulder or hand, you may have injured one or more nerves when you had an accident or broke a bone. You may also experience numbness or tingling if a nerve is being compressed due to factors like a narrow passageway, tumor or other diseases.
Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications and permanent injuries.
There have been some clinical studies about the effectiveness of acupuncture in patients with peripheral nerve injuries.
Zhang reported 34 patients with peripheral nerve injuries who received acupuncture therapy. The results of the report showed that 97 percent of patients had improvements.
To improve the treatment efficacy of acupuncture in patients with peripheral nerve injuries, 30 patients, in another study, were selected into two groups. The first group received acupuncture at the injury site only. The second group received acupuncture both at the injury site and the spinal cord site. Both groups had electro-acupuncture treatment for 30 minutes, once a day, 5 times per week, for 6 weeks. The results demonstrated that the combination of using acupuncture at both sites appeared to be more effective, i.e. it helped promote functional motor nerve repair after a peripheral nerve injury. The research team explained that acupuncture on the spinal cord helped improve the local microenvironment inside injured nervous tissues, thereby ensuring the continuity between the peripheral and central nervous systems.
In a study on mice, sciatic nerve crush was performed on seven week old female mice. All the mice were divided into two groups. The first group was untreated. The second group received electro-acupuncture. The results also showed that normal sensory recovery was achieved within five to six weeks.
- Guan-heng He et al. Improvement in acupoint selection for acupuncture of nerves surrounding the injury site: electro-acupuncture with Governor vessel with local meridian acupoints. Neural Regen Res. 2015 Jan; 10(1): 128–135.
- Ngoc Son Hoang, Chamroeun Sar, Jean Valmier, Victor Sieso and Frédérique Scamps. Electro-acupuncture on functional peripheral nerve regeneration in mice: a behavioural study. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 201212:141. Published: 31 August 2012.
- Zhang Gui-xiang. Acupuncture plus TDP treated 34 cases of radial nerve paralysis. Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science. February 2003, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 46–47.