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Acupuncture for nerve pain

On this page

  1. Overview
  2. Symptoms
  3. Causes
  4. Treatment

1. Overview

Nerve pain (peripheral neuropathy) develops when nerves in the body's extremities, such as the hands, feet and arms. The pain may be superficial or deep, intermittent or constant, and can be spontaneous or be triggered by various things.

2. Symptoms

Symptoms of nerve pain include pins and needles, numbness or a burning and sharp pain.

3. Causes

Neuropathic (nerve pain) pain results from damage to, or dysfunction of, the system that normally signals pain. In Chinese medicine, this is caused by very tense muscles that restrict the nerve signals running through it.

4. Treatment

Modern medical advice for the 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.

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 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 recommended by the NHS for peripheral neuropathy.

Watch my animated video below, which explains how acupuncture can relieve nerve pain.