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Title: Understanding and Treating Peripheral Neuropathy with Acupuncture


Peripheral neuropathy, characterized by pain, numbness, or abnormal sensations, can result from nerve root compression, be a complication of diabetes, a side effect of chemotherapy, or occur in individuals with HIV/AIDS. Acupuncture is effective in treating peripheral neuropathy of various etiologies.


The principle of selecting acupoints in acupuncture involves choosing tender or numb points on the affected limb's extremities or nearby body reflex areas. In cases where tenderness is not pronounced, common sensitive acupoints can be used. For neuropathy caused by nerve root compression, acupoints in the corresponding reflex areas of the neck or lumbosacral region (such as along the Governor Vessel or Bladder Meridian) can be selected for complementary treatment.


For upper limb symptoms, acupoints on the outer side (Yang surface) of the arm are chosen for forearm and hand dorsum pain or numbness. When fingers are numb, acupoints on the inner side (Yin surface) of the forearm or wrist are selected. For cervical nerve compression, acupoints like Tianzhu, Dazhui, or Jianzhongshu are combined with tender points in the posterior neck.


For lower limb symptoms, acupoints on the anterior and lateral aspects of the leg and foot are selected for dorsal foot or ankle numbness. For plantar numbness, acupoints on the medial side of the leg and foot are used. Lumbosacral nerve compression is addressed by adding acupoints like Yaoyangguan, Ci Liao, etc., along with tender points in the lumbosacral area.


After achieving De Qi, the needles are retained for 30 minutes, with infrared radiation used during the needle retention period.


For chronic, painful diabetic neuropathy, acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment modality.


The effectiveness of acupuncture for neuropathy caused by nerve root compression is related to the cause of compression. When compression is mainly due to local or surrounding soft tissue inflammation, acupuncture can often alleviate inflammation, relieve compression, and thereby ease symptoms like numbness and pain in the extremities. This approach underlines acupuncture's role in addressing the underlying causes of symptoms, offering a comprehensive solution for peripheral neuropathy patients.

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