Treating Peripheral Neuropathy with Chinese Medicine
The medical term “Peripheral Neuropathy” describes the condition of a damaged peripheral nervous system.
As the nerves are responsible for transmitting information between the brain/spinal cord to the rest of the body, this condition is usually a symptom to a variety of possible root problems.
In many cases, peripheral neuropathy develops as a result of another underlying condition, examples including:
- Nutritional/Vitamin Deficiencies - Lupus - Alcoholism
- AIDS/HIV - Rheumatoid Arthritis - Chemotherapy - Scleroderma - Adverse side effects to various drugs
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Peripheral Neuropathy will most commonly present as an uncomfortable sensation of burning pain or “pins in needles” in the hands or feet.
Although the feet and legs are likely to be impacted before the arms or hands, additional symptoms typically include: - Numbness - Burning Pain - Tingling/Prickling Sensations - Sensitivity to Touch - Muscle Weakness - Atrophy of the arms and legs
WHO DOES PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY AFFECT?
Neuropathy is generally a condition that occurs within the middle-aged to geriatric population.
As this experience of pain, numbness and discomfort can impact mobility, the decrease in independence can also put geriatric patients at a high risk of depression and loneliness.
HOW CAN TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM) TREAT PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY?
Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches that peripheral neuropathy is the result of blood (or qi) stagnation, the accumulation of dampness in the limbs, or a kidney yin/yang deficiency within the body.
With over 100 root problems that can result in PN symptoms, TCM investigates the individual set of symptoms, prognosis, lifestyle and physical characteristics to address the patient’s needs and treatment plan.
As Oriental medicine aims to treat each individual based on their unique condition, a pulse diagnosis and tongue observation can help give a better idea of what is going on inside the body.
By use of acupuncture, Chinese herbs and foot soaks, Traditional Chinese Medicine is able to influence blood circulation to the nerve tissues that have been affected while simultaneously repairing nerve function and reducing the experience of pain.
Electro-Acupuncture Medicine (EAM) may also contribute to a faster healing process by applying small pulses of painless electricity to release pain-relieving hormones and stimulate a larger area surrounding the affected tissues.
WESTERN MEDICINE VS TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE
The major difference between Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine is the focus in therapy.
As Western Medicine is focused on treating the symptoms of pain and discomfort as opposed to the root problem, Oriental Medicine works to heal the underlying disharmony within the body while reducing the experience of discomfort at the same time.
A good analogy to explain this difference is to imagine your favourite car (let’s say a Ferrari, since we’re dreaming) that signals you on the highway with a bright “Check Engine” light on the dashboard. In terms of Western Medicine, the solution might equate to placing a dark strip of Duct Tape across the dash to cover the light.
Problem solved! Right?
The medication prescribed to treat nerve damage pain may help to alleviate discomfort, but much like the light covered in tape, this does not solve the problem that caused the pain in the first place.
It is also important to understand the potential risk of taking prescriptions (such as Lyrica, Pregabalin), which have reported side effects including dependency and suicidal thoughts.
According to Forbes Magazine, the average cost of chronic pain equates to roughly $146.00 per day.
By treating Peripheral Neuropathy with Traditional Chinese Medicine, patients have a more cost effective, natural and systemic option for treating pain, reducing expenses and improving their quality of life.
If you are interested in receiving a complimentary 10-minute pulse diagnosis to identify the emotional and physical state of your body, we would love to help.
Please contact us at email@example.com to book your appointment.