person experiencing peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment in Calgary

Peripheral neuropathy is a result of damage to the nerve tissue outside of the brain and spinal cord. It is
most often experienced in the hands and feet, including symptoms such as weakness, numbness, tingling and pain.
Peripheral neuropathy can be experienced in other areas of the body as well, such as the digestive or urinary systems, although, the most common symptoms are pain and numbness of the hands and feet.
Peripheral neuropathy is common among the population, with several causes. 

Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy

  • Autoimmune disease

  • Diabetes

  • Infections

  • Exposure to poisons

  • Medicine use (such as chemotherapy)

  • Vitamin deficiencies

  • Trauma

 

Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy

  • Pain

  • Numbness

  • Tingling

  • Burning

  • Altered temperature sensation

  • Weakness

 

The signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy depend on where and which nerves
are affected. Damage to motor nerves will cause weakness, and damage to sensory portions can
cause pain, temperature sensation changes or organ disfunction. Pain and numbness are the most common
reasons people seek help for their neuropathy, and also the main reason that acupuncture is often
accessed for its treatment.

Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathy with Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Usually, numbness or tingling sensations begin in the hands or feet and if not treated, pain will eventually begin. The pain experienced can be quite severe, preventing the person from doing daily activities, as well as disrupting their sleep.

Treating peripheral neuropathy with Traditional Chinese Medicine involves two main areas of treatment; Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine.

  • Acupuncture increases blood flow and stimulate the body’s nerve pathways, while also treating any deficiencies of the body that may be contributing to the peripheral neuropathy.  
  • Chinese Herbal Medicine’s main function is to increase circulation in order to bring ample, healthy blood supply to the area of damaged nerve tissue.

Acupuncture points are selected around the body based on the person’s symptoms and areas affected. Thin one-time use acupuncture needles are placed in the legs, arms, abdomen, head and back, and left in for approximately 30 minutes while the patient relaxes on the treatment table. 

A Chinese herbal formula tailored to the patient’s individual needs is prepared at the first appointment. The herbal formula is drank as a tea twice daily during the course of treatment. 

What to expect for treatment?

A typical treatment course will begin with an initial assessment including a detailed health history, specific traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) questions, as well as an inspection of the patient’s tongue and feeling their pulse. After the assessment is finished, the patient will have the acupuncture treatment. The goal of this first treatment is to see how the patient responds in order to make the decision as to whether there is benefit to continuing with ongoing treatments. If there is an immediate change in the neuropathy symptoms, further treatments are advised. Acupuncture treatments are done 2 to 3 times a week and TCM herbal formulas are prescribed to the patient and taken twice a day, prepared as a tea. It is important to note that
the best results are achieved when both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are used in combination.