Acupuncture for nerve pain
Pain relief is now the most common complaint that most acupuncturists treat today. Acupuncture is so good at relieving pain that physiotherapists also used it, but unfortunately after just doing a weekend course in acupuncture.
Neuropathic (nerve pain) pain results from damage to, or dysfunction of, the system that normally signals pain. The International Association for the Study of Pain defines neuropathic pain as follows: Pain initiated or caused by a primary lesion or dysfunction in the nervous system. Peripheral neuropathic pain occurs when the lesion or dysfunction affects the peripheral nervous system. Central pain may be retained as the term for when the lesion or dysfunction affects the central nervous system'. Neuropathic pain is commonly described as burning, stabbing, stinging, shooting, aching or electric shock-like in quality.
The pain may be superficial or deep, intermittent or constant, and can be spontaneous or be triggered by various things. Conventional treatment for neuropathic pain often involves the combined use of a range of pharmacological (e.g. amitriptyline, gabapentin, opioids, NSAIDs topical treatments such as capsaicin and lidocaine) and non-drug approaches, (e.g. transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, psychological treatments, and specialist procedures to stimulate, block or destroy discrete areas of the nervous system.
Treatment of nerve pain
Clinical trials have shown that the effectiveness of acupuncture is at least as beneficial as the drugs it has been tested against for nerve pain. Acupuncture points may offer additional benefits, from better sleep to reduced mortality, and has fewer side effects than pharmaceutical treatment. Acupuncture is generally to be better than sham acupuncture. It is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body's homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being.
Acupuncture treatment is believed in western medicine to work upon the nervous system. It has been used for thousands of years to treat nerve damage in China. It is also able to relieve chronic pain and treat conditions such as peripheral neuropathy and is safe for people with bleeding disorders.
Watch my animated video below, which explains how accupuncture can relieve nerve pain. I am a member of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC).