According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NIH), more than 20 million people in the United States have been estimated to have some form of peripheral neuropathy, but this figure may be significantly higher—not all people with symptoms of neuropathy are tested for the disease and tests currently don't look for all forms of neuropathy.
Understanding Your Body’s Nervous System
The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy says Peripheral Neuropathy is a general term for a series of disorders that result from damage to the body’s peripheral nervous system. “The body’s nervous system is made up of two parts. The central nervous system (CNS) includes the brain and the spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system (PNS) connects the nerves running from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body…the arms and hands, legs and feet, internal organs, joints and even the mouth, eyes, ears, nose, and skin. Peripheral neuropathy occurs when nerves are damaged or destroyed and can’t send messages from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles, skin and other parts of the body.”
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (a painful wrist and hand disorder often associated with repetitive tasks on a computer keyboard)
- Bell’s palsy (a facial nerve disorder).
Causes of Neuropathic Pain
Neuropathic discomfort often seems to have no obvious cause, according to Sabrina Felson, MD who reviewed the WebMD Medical Reference on August 12, 2017. Common causes of neuropathic discomfort include:
- Facial nerve problems
- HIV infection or AIDS
- Multiple myeloma
- Multiple sclerosis
- Nerve or spinal cord compression from herniated discs or from arthritis in the spine
- Spine surgery
- Thyroid problems
Many patients find that complementary and alternative therapies help manage discomfort caused by peripheral neuropathy. “Complementary and alternative therapies are drug-free treatments that are non-invasive and support the idea that the body will work to heal itself. They may be used alone or may be combined with other medications and treatments.” says The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy. Commonly used therapies include Acupuncture, Biofeedback, Ergonomics, and Relaxation Techniques.
Community acupuncture offered by Dr. Mark Xu at Xu Wellness Center is described below and well-suited for some individuals experiencing neurological discomfort.
Xu Wellness Center in Memphis, TN says: “On your first visit, your acupuncturist will suggest a course of treatment, which can be anything from “we’d like to see you once a week for six weeks” to “we’d really like to see you every day for the next four days.” The treatment plan we recommend for you will be based on our experience with treating different kinds of conditions. Almost all our patients require a course of treatment, rather than a single treatment, in order to get what they want from acupuncture.”
After the new patient consultation, you’ll go into a large, comfy, quiet community room for acupuncture treatment. You will be in the room with other patients who are also getting treated and resting. Acupuncture is not a quick cure-all; it’s a process. It is very rare for any acupuncturist to be able to resolve a problem with just one treatment. If you don’t come in often enough or long enough, acupuncture probably won’t work for you. “
One of the beautiful things about community acupuncture, says Dr. Mark Xu, is that “it brings together all different kinds of people with the goal of healing themselves and those around them. The soothing atmosphere at Xu Wellness Center exists because all our patients create it by relaxing together. This kind of collective stillness is a rare and precious thing in our rushed and busy society.” Many of Dr. Mark’s patients like to come in at the same time every week. And Dr. Mark advises, “Don’t plan to engage in any strenuous activity right after receiving acupuncture. It’s best to let your body relax afterwards.”