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Acupuncture for Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a common side effect of chemotherapy treatment, but needn’t be severe if addressed in real time. Acupuncture has long been used to address circulatory nerve-related issues throughout the body and validated by high-quality clinical research. Moreover, a number of dietary supplements have been employed to treat both nerve pain and microcirculatory issues.

Read on to see if acupuncture and several key supplements can address your specific issues.

How Does Chemotherapy Cause Neuropathy?

Neuropathy is one of the more common side effects of chemotherapy treatment, affecting between 19-85% of patients and has been a major problem for both patients and providers. That’s because there is no known way to prevent neuropathy-induced by chemotherapy.

Platinum-based antineoplastic agents, alongside vinca alkaloids, epothilones (ixabepilone), taxanes, proteasome inhibitors (bortezomib) including immunomodulatory drugs (thalidomide) damage neurons in the brain which causes CIPN (chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy).

These drugs work by interfering with the growth and division of cancer cells, but unfortunately, they can also damage healthy cells in the process. This damage can lead to a variety of symptoms, such as numbness, tingling, and pain in the extremities as well as damage to nerves that control motor function.

How Can Acupuncture Treat Peripheral Neuropathy?

From a TCM perspective, this nerve damage occurs from a blockage of qi (oxygen) and blood and resulting in starving our cells and tissues of nourishment. Additional, chemotherapy introduces ‘heat toxin’ which creates further cellular damage.

Acupuncture treatment can help to stimulate blood flow and normalize nerve function (from both a central and peripheral nervous system perspective),which can in turn partially restore nerve function. To be fair, some nerve function returns on its own, but each person is different so if you are experiencing this condition, it’s better to act quickly to minimize damage.

Acupuncture can also be a valuable alternative for pain management as the allopathic pharmaceutical protocol for pain management can result in additional insult the liver and kidneys. This is crucial for cancer patients, as managing pain and discomfort is an essential aspect of their treatment and recovery. Furthermore, acupuncture has been shown to have minimal side effects, making it a safer option for cancer patients already undergoing intense procedures on a frequent schedule.

Gentle exercise and warm magnesium baths are often recommended as complimentary care in addition to an acupuncture protocol.

Acupuncture Research on Neuropathy

A 2007 study confirmed that acupuncture improved symptoms for more neuropathic patients than those receiving allopathic medical care, while a 2017 meta-analysis found acupuncture to be effective in some neuropathies and called for more high-quality research to be undertaken.

Sample Acupuncture Protocol

Feel free to share this protocol from the NIH with your acupuncturist, though any trained professional will already be well-versed in handling this condition.

Key Supplements for Peripheral Neuropathy

I recommend my patients consider the following supplements for neuropathy. Consider doing your own research to see if these supplements may be right for you.

Key Takeaways

Peripheral neuropathy is a common side effect of chemotherapy treatment, but it can be effectively addressed with the use of acupuncture and certain dietary supplements.

Acupuncture has been used for centuries to address circulatory nerve-related issues throughout the body, and numerous high-quality clinical studies have validated its effectiveness. Acupuncture stimulates blood flow and helps alleviate symptoms by addressing both the root cause of neuropathy and pain management.

Moreover, acupuncture offers an alternative to allopathic pharmaceutical protocols for pain management that often result in intense side effects. This is particularly important for cancer patients who are already undergoing intense procedures on a frequent schedule. In addition to acupuncture, gentle exercise and warm magnesium baths are often recommended as complementary care.

Overall, incorporating both acupuncture and select supplements into comprehensive treatment plans can provide relief from peripheral neuropathy symptoms caused by chemotherapy or diabetes while minimizing side effects commonly associated with conventional treatments.

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