Are you tired of your tingling toes and fed up with the burning sensation in your fingers? Whether your nerve damage is mildly annoying or outright debilitating, you want nothing more than a treatment that works so you can get back to life on your terms. And you’re not alone.
Neuropathy affects about 20-30 million Americans, and many cases go undiagnosed. What’s worse is that those who know they have neuropathy may not be treating it as effectively as they could be (if at all).
At Nirvana Naturopathics, we want to bring awareness to this painful condition and offer a better way to address it.
Here, Dr. Lana Moshkovich, our naturopathic medicine specialist, takes a closer look at neuropathy and how acupuncture can effectively treat it.
What is neuropathy?
Neuropathy (you may also hear it called peripheral neuropathy) refers to damage to the nerves outside of your brain and spinal cord, which make up your central nervous system.
Diabetes is the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy, but nerve damage can stem from a wide range of conditions, including:
- Traumatic injuries
- Metabolic problems
- Deficient nutrition
- Genetics and family history of neuropathy
- Exposure to toxins
- Certain medications
- Autoimmune diseases
- Bone marrow disorders
- Kidney, liver, or thyroid disorders
Working a job that requires you to make repetitive motions also puts you at risk for neuropathy.
Typically, peripheral neuropathy triggers weakness, numbness, and stabbing, burning pain in your hands and feet, but depending on the type of nerves affected, it can also cause problems with your digestion, urination, and circulation.
Complications of neuropathy are rarely life-threatening, but because of the lack of sensation and weakness, complications can include infections, falls, burns, and other skin injuries.
Treatments for neuropathy can range from pain medication to surgery. But if you’re looking for a different, more natural answer, acupuncture may be right for you.
Acupuncture and neuropathy
When you’re in pain, your first inclination isn’t likely to stick pins into your skin. We know it sounds counterintuitive, but pain is one of the most common reasons people seek acupuncture treatments.
Acupuncture is founded on the premise that your body has a flow of energy called qi that can become blocked or imbalanced. When that happens, we attempt to reboot your qi by using stainless steel needles to trigger a positive response in your body.
Once inserted into your body's various pressure points, the acupuncture needles stimulate your nervous system, which in turn triggers the release of endorphins, your body's natural painkillers.
Suddenly, your body has a different response to the pain signals coming from your damaged nerves. Acupuncture also encourages blood flow, which effectively repairs nerve damage.
What you can expect
During your acupuncture session, you lie comfortably on an exam table. Then, Dr. Moshkovich begins carefully inserting the needles into predetermined points of your body that will yield the best results.
She may gently manipulate the needles after insertion, but then you relax for 10-20 minutes with the needles in place.
Despite the nature of the treatment, you shouldn't feel any pain as Dr. Moshkovich places the needle, nor should you experience side effects other than some mild bruising.
Depending on your situation, you may need a series of acupuncture treatments to get the best results. To further manage neuropathy and get the most out of acupuncture, we encourage you to:
- Manage underlying conditions related to neuropathy
- Eat a healthy diet
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid harmful substances and activities
Acupuncture coupled with healthy lifestyle changes supports your nerve health so you start feeling relief from your symptoms.
Have you been struggling with neuropathy and the frustrating pain and numbness that goes with it? Our team at Nirvana Naturopathics can bring you sweet relief with evidence-based acupuncture treatments.
Check out our website for more information or, request an appointment online or over the phone at our Deerfield, Illinois, office today.