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renwrite 05-26-2007 05:50 PM

acupuncture for peripheral neuropathy
 
Hi, I am asking this question for my 71-year-old dad. He has been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy in the feet. He doesn't have diabetes though. We have been doing internet searches on all of the drugs doctors recommend but all of them have bad side effects, so he was wondering about acupuncture or any other alternative/holistic/homeopathic remedies for the numbness in his feet. Has anyone out there had experience with acupuncture for pain management? Thanks!

Mike In NY 05-27-2007 05:59 AM

Re: acupuncture for peripheral neuropathy
 
Many years ago I went to an Acupuncturist for a condition different from your father's. I met a woman in the waiting room who used this procedure with success for circulation. I would recommend you use a Medical Doctor trained in this procedure otherwise you may not be reimbursed or a Acupuncturist that's supervised by a Medical Doctor. A late friend who had Neuropathy in the feet used a product with success called Benfotiamine. I know that she ordered it from a local health store. You may also want to consult with a Nutritionist. It's possible that diet and supplements/herbs could help. I do remember reading a success story from someone who switched to a Gluten Free Diet. Visit you local book store and see if there's any books on an all natural approach to Neuropathy.

Bearygood 05-27-2007 08:43 AM

Re: acupuncture for peripheral neuropathy
 
I am currently being treated with acupuncture for MS, for which my varying symptoms include neuropathy of the feet (tingling). About 2 weeks ago he did a treatment that dealt specifically with conductivity between nerves and the brain and I felt a BIG difference the next day. We've also talked extensively about circulation and that's been part of my treatment (he's referred to "stagnation" a lot).

The truth is, symptoms can come and go with MS so it's hard to say if the improvement I'm feeling in general is definitely attributable to this but based on a previous experience, I am a believer. IF there is no imminent danger in your father delaying conventional treatment I'd recommend at least trying it. You do have to be diligent though and give it probably around at least a month. I would think they'll probably start off with 2 treatments a week (it's not cheap but sometimes they'll work out a deal.) You do need to do your homework though to find a great one. I think the world of the one I have now but had checked out others before in whom I didn't have faith or confidence. Lastly, it's an added benefit if the acupuncturist is also an herbalist -- try to find one who is.

Good luck and let us know how you make out!

renwrite 05-27-2007 10:39 AM

Re: acupuncture for peripheral neuropathy
 
Thanks very much for the advice. I am trying to get as much info as I can off the web. I will look into all of the suggestions given. Thanks and be well!

woondog 05-28-2007 03:56 PM

Re: acupuncture for peripheral neuropathy
 
[QUOTE=Bearygood;3008034]I am currently being treated with acupuncture for MS, for which my varying symptoms include neuropathy of the feet (tingling). About 2 weeks ago he did a treatment that dealt specifically with conductivity between nerves and the brain and I felt a BIG difference the next day. We've also talked extensively about circulation and that's been part of my treatment (he's referred to "stagnation" a lot).

The truth is, symptoms can come and go with MS so it's hard to say if the improvement I'm feeling in general is definitely attributable to this but based on a previous experience, I am a believer. IF there is no imminent danger in your father delaying conventional treatment I'd recommend at least trying it. You do have to be diligent though and give it probably around at least a month. I would think they'll probably start off with 2 treatments a week (it's not cheap but sometimes they'll work out a deal.) You do need to do your homework though to find a great one. I think the world of the one I have now but had checked out others before in whom I didn't have faith or confidence. Lastly, it's an added benefit if the acupuncturist is also an herbalist -- try to find one who is.

Good luck and let us know how you make out![/QUOTE]

woondog 05-28-2007 03:59 PM

Re: acupuncture for peripheral neuropathy
 
i have pn and I leased part of my office space to a full time, chinese
acupuncturist. Although I found acupuncture to be effective for
many maladies such as sciatica (90% effective) and general pain,
I saw no positive effect re pn with her clients or with me. I took
about 10 treatments, with needles being stuck in my already painful
toes, and it was completely ineffective. Sorry. woondog

Bearygood 05-30-2007 07:03 AM

Re: acupuncture for peripheral neuropathy
 
Could depend on the patient, source of the problem and the acupuncturist. I continue to feel better but I'm speaking just from my experience, as we all can only do. Whatever your father decides to do, good luck to him, renwrite -- and to you too, woondog! Hope you both find a treatment that provides relief.

gracez 05-29-2008 11:35 AM

Re: acupuncture for peripheral neuropathy
 
[QUOTE=renwrite;3007287]Hi, I am asking this question for my 71-year-old dad. He has been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy in the feet. He doesn't have diabetes though. We have been doing internet searches on all of the drugs doctors recommend but all of them have bad side effects, so he was wondering about acupuncture or any other alternative/holistic/homeopathic remedies for the numbness in his feet. Has anyone out there had experience with acupuncture for pain management? Thanks![/QUOTE]

gracez 05-29-2008 11:36 AM

Re: acupuncture for peripheral neuropathy
 
My father (age 82) has had some relief with acupuncture. His balance and overall gait are somewhat improved and I think it has helped his energy, too.

Good luck.

kestralsalem 06-17-2008 08:26 AM

Re: acupuncture for peripheral neuropathy
 
For the past 14 years, I have had peripheral neuropathy.

I understand where you are coming from. I have tried low dose anticonvulsants, low dose tricyclic antidepressants, capsicum cream, a TENS unit, occupational therapy, meditation, hypnosis, acupuncture, etc. in order to get pain relief. I was evaluated for surgery by a top hand surgeon. Unfortunately, I was not a candidate for surgery. My physiatrist (doctor who practices physical medicine and rehabilitation), who is appropriately open-minded, suggested that I might try acupuncture.

Acupuncture worked temporarily. It did bring my pain down from a 6-7 out of 10 to a 3-4 out of 10. When I saw my Chinese doctor, I got acupuncture, cupping with moxa, a massage over my shoulders (I had very tight muscles caused by the painful neuropathy) and Chi Gung exercises. I saw my Chinese doctor twice a week. Initially, I responded well--my pain eased-up and the effects of the treatment lasted until the day of my next treatment. After about three months, the treatments began to poop-out. At first, I would get relief for about 2 1/2 - 3 days following the treatment. Over the span of about a month, the amount of relief I got dropped, to the point that I got pain relief for maybe a few hours after the treatment. I talked to my physiatrist and I discontinued treatment.

From what I have read, acupuncture apparently stimulates your body to release endorphins, nature's painkiller, through irritation or slight pain. (Acupuncture really isn't that painful.) My physiatrist thinks that what happened to me is that my body ran out of endorphins, so acupuncture quit working. I track the medical literature relevant to my medical problems as well as the premier general medical journals. What my physiatrist told me is consistent with what I have read about acupuncture. There are studies that show that sham acupuncture is as effective for treating pain as real acupuncture. The philosophy behind acupuncture, such as the concept of meridians and Qi (the life force) do not make any scientific sense. There is a rational explanation for why acupuncture provides temporary relief. My physiatrist thinks that a combination of pain relief plus massage probably did help me.

I have friends who have tried acupuncture for chronic peripheral nerve pain. Most of the people I know have had an experience similar to mine: acupuncture worked for a few months then pooped-out. (The other people I know told me that acupuncture did not help them at all). This is consistent with what my physiatrist told me.

Homeopathic remedies ARE placebos--milk sugar pills. The principles of homeopathy violate basic principles of chemistry and pharmacology. There are people who claim that there is scientific evidence supporting homeopathy. However, all of the studies homeopaths site are of poor methodological quality (including some studies where fraud is strongly suspected). With homeopathy, the better, the tighter the research methods used, the weaker the results become, to the point that homeopathy is no better than placebo. In science, those who make the claims have the responsibility to justify the claim. The more a claim differs from accepted scientific principles (in the case of homeopathy, if it was proven to work better than placebo, fundamental principles of chemistry and pharmacology would have to be abandoned), the stronger the supportive evidence needs to be.

The placebo effect is powerful. Finally, scientists are researching it. As we know more about the placebo effect, we will be able to use it to enhance other treatments. There are people who claim that homeopathy 'works'--it works because of the placebo effect. I think that it works because homeopaths do spend more time with their patients, behave in ways that instill hope and trust--psychological reasons. Placebos work for some people, but they don't consistently work for most people. We still don't completely understand how the mind influences the body and who will respond favorably to placebo or how to reliably summon the placebo effect to enhance scientific medicine.


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