Using Electro-Acupuncture to Treat Neuropathy
I would like to share two recent cases using electro-acupuncture to treat neuropathy.
Case 1: Drug-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy
This patient is a breast cancer survivor who has undergone chemo and radiation therapy. She developed Drug-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy shortly after the cancer treatments. She had numbness, pain, tingling, pins and needles sensations on her feet, especially at night. She also had pain and tingling down the right arm and finger tips. She had to wear soft footwear and could not walk barefoot on the beach. She felt like the nerves were on the outside of her skin.
After 3 electro-acupuncture treatments, patient reported significantly reduced pain and more normal sensations on her feet. She was delighted that she could walk barefoot on the beach again, which gave her so much hope and joy. It took 6 more treatments before her right arm and fingers significantly improved. We continued to treat her neuropathy to prevent reoccurrence, as well as other internal medicine concerns using herbal medicine.
Drug-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy is very common after chemo and radiation therapy, as the peripheral nerves can get damaged as a side effect. Acupuncture is one of the best therapies to treat Drug-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy. Acupuncture needles stimulate the nerves and re-establish the neurological connections between the brain and the peripheral nerves. Electro-acupuncture speeds up the healing process by increasing the nerve stimulations. People often describe the feeling of electro-acupuncture as a gentle buzzing sensation. Most people feel very relaxed and even take a little nap on the treatment table.
Case 2; Diabetic Neuropathy
This patient was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and started having neuropathy symptoms since 5 years ago. He experienced pain, numbness, tingling, tightness and pressure on his feet. He was prescribed Gabapentin for neuropathy pain with no improvement. He also changed his diet and lifestyle habits, which had positive improvements in both neuropathy and blood sugar control. Still there was pain and numbness on his feet. His feet were cold all the time and any wound would take a very long time to heal.
We have been using electro-acupuncture to reconnect signals between the brain and the peripheral nerves. Also, we use Chinese herbal formulas to improve his blood circulation and control blood sugar. After three months of weekly treatments, patient's neuropathy improved significantly where he experienced no pain and only occasional tightness. Moreover, his medical doctor took him off Metformin because his blood sugar was so stable. We continued to treat this patient every 2-3 weeks for maintenance and preventing reoccurrences.
Unlike Drug-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy, Diabetic Neuropathy takes much longer to treat. Sometimes the goal is simply to prevent it from getting worse. Maintenance treatments are extremely important for this case to make sure that we don't lose any grounds on all of the progress we have made.