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Acupuncture for Peripheral Neuropathy

Neuropathy is a common condition involving damage to nerve tissue which often affects the hands or feet. Less commonly, it can affect other areas of the body. Patients with neuropathy frequently experience sensations such as pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in the affected area of the body. Neuropathy is also known as peripheral neuritis.

Causes of neuropathy include diabetes, traumatic injury, chemotherapy treatments for cancer, overuse of alcohol, and exposure to other types of toxins. Although some cases of neuropathy are not reversible, many cases are reversible (either totally or partially). Many of Dr. Windsor's patients with neuropathy have experienced significant benefits from our treatments. He also specializes in treatment of alcohol-related neuropathy or limb paralysis.

Acupuncture research at Harvard Medical School and many other institutions around the world have determined that acupuncture has profound effects on the body's physiology. These include a wide range of molecular and cellular effects on the immune system, nervous system, endocrine system, and growth-regulatory systems.

As an acupuncturist, Dr. Windsor uses the latest research to find solutions for patients with neuropathy. During treatment for neuropathy, it is often necessary to address another underlying cause of the disorder. We will create an integrated treatment strategy for your unique concerns and conditions. We welcome the opportunity to partner with you, and with your other medical providers, in order to help you achieve a cure.

Peripheral neuropathy (PN) refers to nerve damage that occurs away from the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). It can cause pain, numbness, weakness, impaired reflexes, and tingling, burning or prickling sensations, most often in the feet, toes, hands and arms.

Sometimes, PN can also affect autonomic nerves such as those that regulate breathing and heart rate. Symptoms range from mild and intermittent sensations to very severe and permanent disabilities. Severe effects are more likely if the cause is not found early or if the individual does not receive treatment. Sometimes an underlying cause needs to be treated before the neuropathy can improve.
"Neuropathy is one of the most common conditions that I see in my practice. There are typical patterns that I am very familiar with. Often I am able to reassure the patient that the condition will improve with treatment. However, there are many causes of this condition so it is difficult to generalize. I evaluate each case individually."

Dr. Eric Windsor, D.Ac.

PN is most commonly associated with diabetes mellitis and shingles (post herpetic neuralgia), but it can also be caused by a variety of other conditions. These can include alcohol toxicity, vitamin deficiencies, autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, certain inherited disorders, exposure to heavy metals, lead, arsenic or mercury; as well as chemotherapy medications and certain antibiotics.

It is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of PN. When no cause can be identified it is referred to as idiopathic peripheral neuropathy (IPN).

PN is often treated conventionally with prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), anti-seizure medications, and tricyclic antidepressants. These medications can sometimes reduce the symptoms of PN, but all of them present side effects that can be very serious, especially if they are used for prolonged periods of time. It is wise to use them with caution and only when alternative, safer methods have failed.

Opioids such as oxycodone and tramadol are sometimes prescribed when other medications have failed to reduce neuropathic pain. Opioids, however, can be dangerous when used to treat chronic disorders because they are addictive and likely to be misused. The misuse of opioids is estimated to cause over 17,000 deaths per year in the United States alone.

How We Can Help

At Maryland Holistics, we offer acupuncture and other natural medicine options that can effectively treat the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy and restore you to optimum health.

Acupuncture, for example, is well known for its ability to reduce many types of pain, including that caused by peripheral nerve damage. In fact, acupuncture compares very favorably with treatment using conventional pharmaceuticals, especially when measured using objective tests.

We now also offer a health tourism accelerated treatment plan for alcohol-related neuropathy or limb paralysis.

In order to assess nerve and muscle function in people with idiopathic peripheral neuropathy, doctors commonly perform tests called nerve conduction studies (NCS). In 2007, researchers in Germany used these same tests to compare the outcomes of IPN patients who received acupuncture with IPN patients who received conventional best care (but no acupuncture) over the course of a year.1 The study showed that 76% of those receiving acupuncture treatment improved both subjectively and objectively, as measured by NCS, whereas only 15% of patients receiving conventional care improved during the same period of time. Moreover, the symptoms of 58% of patients receiving conventional care actually worsened. Symptoms worsened in only 10% of the acupuncture patients.

As for peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes (DPN), research has shown that acupuncture can be effective for longterm treatment without affecting Alc or VPT test results. In one study, 77% of diabetic patients with painful symptoms noted significant improvement and 67% were able to reduce or eliminate their use of conventional medications.2

As always, we emphasize an inclusive approach to wellness that combines a variety of natural, non-pharmacologic, treatment therapies carefully tailored to fit your individual needs and circumstances. We take time to learn about the underlying causes of your symptoms, and partner with you to address lifestyle issues that may bear on your health and well being.

For example, if vitamin deficiencies have been found on recent lab tests, especially B12 and folate, we can recommend appropriate dietary adjustments and safe supplements to help you regain proper nerve function. If overuse of alcohol is an issue, acupuncture and other stress reducing therapies can help you regain control over your life. For many people with peripheral neuropathy, less alcohol means fewer symptoms. If you suffer from an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or multiple sclerosis, we offer acupuncture targeting the body's inflammatory response and provide nutritional guidance that can reduce many symptoms, including neuropathic pain.

For cases of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), acupuncture is recognized as an effective and remarkably safe complement to conventional cancer care. Acupuncture can reduce the nausea and vomiting commonly caused by chemotherapy and provide needed support to your immune system. If you are undergoing chemotherapy, be sure to inform your oncologist if you decide that acupuncture is right for you.

Call us at 301-588-5858 To Schedule an Appointment

We offer a range of natural health services and can provide these in a way that is fully integrated, designed, and fine-tuned for you to receive the maximum benefit. We can provide treatment for multiple health concerns at each appointment. If you wish to speak to the doctor prior to scheduling an appointment, please contact us for a free 5-minute phone consultation.

1. Acupuncture treatment improves nerve conduction in peripheral neuropathy, European Journal of Neurology, 2007 Mar; 14(3):276-81.
2. Acupuncture for the treatment of chronic painful peripheral diabetic neuropathy: a long-term study, Diabetes Research Clinical Practice 1998 Feb; 39(2):115-21.

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About Maryland Holistics

Maryland Holistics LLC is the private practice of Dr. Eric Windsor, D.Ac., L.Ac. Our serene, professional office is located in Ellicott City, MD. Maryland Holistics has provided care to thousands of satisfied customers since opening in 2009. Dr. Windsor is a preferred provider in the CareFirst, Blue Cross Blue Shield, GEHA, and United Healthcare networks.

3525 Ellicott Mills Dr., Ste E
Ellicott City, MD 21043
Phone: 301-588-5858
Fax: 443-308-5690