What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy, in most cases, describes damage to the peripheral nervous system, which transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to every part of the body.
It is a syndrome which includes symptoms of numbness, tingling, pricking sensations, sensitivity to touch, burning pain, and muscle weakness and atrophy of the arms and legs. The feet and legs are likely to be affected before the hands and arms.
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include:
- numbness or insensitivity to pain or temperature
- a tingling, burning, or prickling sensation
- sharp, burning pain or cramps
- extreme sensitivity to touch, even a light touch
- loss of balance and coordination
- muscle weakness
- muscle wasting
Many people have signs of neuropathy upon examination but have no symptoms at all.
How can acupuncture treat peripheral neuropathy?
Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that Peripheral neuropathy is due to dampness moving to the limbs, where it obstructs the flow of Qi (energy) and Blood within them. The treatment is twofold, to treat the underlying factor that is causing this dampness to accumulate and to directly facilitate the circulation of Qi and Blood in the affected area. By improving the circulation, the nerve tissues of the affected area can be nourished to repair the nerve functions and reduce pain.