About peripheral neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy occurs when nerves are damaged. The nerves carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord from and to the rest of the body. Most common symptoms include tingling or numbness, loss of sensation in the arms and legs, and burning sensation in the hands and feet. There are many factors that can cause peripheral neuropathies, so it is often difficult to pinpoint the origin.
There are some clinical findings about the effects of acupuncture on peripheral neuropathy patients.
Acupuncture is proven to be a safe and effective therapy for diabetic patients with painful nerve disease. A clinical study was constructed to determine the acupuncture’s long lasting effectiveness. After a period of ten weeks treated with acupuncture, more than two out of three patients noted significant improvement in their pain and other symptoms. Then those patients were followed up for a period of 18-52 weeks. Sixty seven per cent of these patients were able to stop or reduce their medications.
In another research study about the efficacy of acupuncture on HIV patients with peripheral neuropathy, twenty one patients were treated with acupuncture for five weeks. Acupuncture was shown to help relieve the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in patients with HIV such as pain, aching, burning, pins and needles, and numbness in the hands and feet.
To date, the causes of peripheral neuropathy often remains elusive. This leads us not to have effective therapies on this condition. For these patients, how can acupuncture help? In a 2007 study, patients with undefined causes of peripheral neuropathy were divided into two groups. The first group received acupuncture. The other group received the best medical care but no specific treatment for peripheral neuropathy. The first group saw more improvements in their symptoms than the second group. The data suggest that there was a positive effect of acupuncture on patients with peripheral neuropathy of undefined causes.
- B.B Abuaisha, J.B Costanzi, A.J.M Boulto. Acupuncture for the treatment of chronic painful peripheral diabetic neuropathy: a long-term study. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 1998 Feb;39(2):115-21.
- Phillips KD1, Skelton WD, Hand GA. Effect of acupuncture administered in a group setting on pain and subjective peripheral neuropathy in persons with human immunodeficiency virus disease. J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Jun;10(3):449-55.
- Schröder S1, Liepert J, Remppis A, Greten JH. Acupuncture treatment improves nerve conduction in peripheral neuropathy. Eur J Neurol. 2007 Mar;14(3):276-81.