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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Johnson

Relief for Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a common side effect of some types of chemotherapy, and the subsequent nerve damage from the treatment can bring about a tingling, burning, or numb sensation in patients. These sensations can be quite painful, and may significantly impact fine motor skills and daily function, such as handling utensils, writing, typing, and even walking.

Cancer-induced peripheral neuropathy may subside or resolve itself completely after cancer treatment, but it is very uncomfortable and debilitating, and may even cause a delay in treatment. Some patients experience lingering symptoms, and in a small number of cases it may result in permanent damage, reducing their quality of life.

While medications may be effective at symptom relief, they can have a variety of other side effects. It is important to seek various methods to help to manage the symptoms, take charge of your cancer-induced peripheral neuropathy, and thrive once again!

How does acupuncture help treat those with CIPN?

  1. Acupuncture has been shown to improve neurological function at the site of nerve damage.

  2. In cases of cancer-induced peripheral neuropathy, one of the sites of nerve damage is understood to be the sensory nerve cell body at the dorsal root ganglion in the spine, affecting the nerves that supply the four limbs. Studies have shown acupuncture improves neurological function at the site of damaged dorsal root ganglions, in the spine.

  3. Acupuncture has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins to decrease pain and increase a sense of well-being. Research has shown that the pain relief achieved with acupuncture works in the same pathways as opioid medications like codeine and endone. However, there is no risk of addiction or withdrawal effects.

What should I expect?

Every patient's needs are different, but generally, a session involves the insertion of about 10-12 very fine, sterile, single-use needles. Acupuncture for Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy generally utilizes established acupuncture points below the knees and/or the elbows.

The treatment is very gentle and pain-free. The needles are left in for 20-30 minutes, while a patient relaxes and rests.

Changes such as a decrease in symptoms can occur immediately after the first treatment or can take 2-3 treatments to occur. Generally the benefits of each treatment are compounded, which is why we often recommend twice weekly treatments to begin with (although significant improvements have also been reported from treatments once a week). A course of treatment consists of 6-8 treatments, though a number of patients opt for a second course or continuing treatments until improvements stabilize.

How long does the pain relief last?

Initially changes to sensory or pain symptoms may come and go, or severity may decrease for periods of time. Treatment is generally continued until symptoms have resolved. At that point, the nerve damage has improved and the pain is not expected to return.

Contact Everybody Healing Center

Acupuncture is one of the most common and trusted methods of treatment for individuals with nerve pain and neuropathy. While certain medications can help manage the pain of peripheral neuropathy, they don’t often change the underlying problem. Sometimes medications or other strategies can have painful side effects, as well.

Because of acupuncture’s focus on strengthening muscles and increasing blood flow, as well as my commitment to holistic health, patients just like you have been able to thrive once again and live life without the pain and frustration of peripheral neuropathy.

If you are experiencing any numbness or tingling in your hands and feet, schedule an appointment today to help treat the neuropathy. Acupuncture can help you manage neuropathy symptoms so you can stay active, have less pain, and continue to live your life without restriction.

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