Using acupuncture to reduce pain has been documented in many scientific studies over the years. It is also one of the best ways to manage the pain associated with peripheral neuropathy induced by chemotherapy. Damage to the peripheral nerves in the fingers and toes, but also radiating up into the arms and legs can occur with some neurotoxic chemotherapy drugs.
This form of pain and nerve damage can be one of the most challenging and complex complications of cancer chemotherapy. Symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy include sharp stabbing pain, burning, tingling, numbness, and decreased dexterity.
Acupuncture is helpful at not only managing the pain associated with peripheral neuropathy, but it can also accelerate nerve regeneration after chemo has stopped. A study conducted by Germany’s Heidelberg School of Chinese Medicine showed that preliminary data indicates acupuncture may stimulate nerve growth factors. In this study, 76% of patients who received acupuncture noticed an improvement in their symptoms, compared to 15% with standard medical care.
Because there are very few ways to manage symptoms of peripheral neuropathy with conventional medicine, acupuncture is recommended for these patients. According to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, “acupuncture is one of the non-pharmacologic modalities recommended if the pain is assessed as 4 or higher on a 10 point scale after initial drug treatment.” Additional benefits reported by patients receiving acupuncture for peripheral neuropathy included improved sleep, feeling relaxed, reduced stress, needing less medication, and improved mood.
For over a decade, the acupuncturists at the Yinova Center have been supporting cancer patients through their treatments. All of our practitioners have specialized training in cancer supportive care. Many are also certified by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, offering comprehensive and professional support through the rigors of treatment. To learn more about how we can help you or someone you know, contact our front desk at 212.533.2255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.