Neuropathy and Plantar Fasciitis

Pain, numbness, or tingling in your hands, feet or heels can be very debilitating.  Modern medicine treatments, which typically involve masking the pain, offer poor options for conditions such as peripheral neuropathy and plantar fasciitis.  Our goal should always be to reduce pharmaceutical intervention. Chinese medicine has so much to offer those who are suffering without hope of relief!

 

PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY

What is peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage usually in the hands and feet, resulting in weakness, pain, burning, or numbness.  It is most commonly caused by diabetes, but can also be a result of injury, shingles, chemotherapy, or unidentified causes. This nerve damage is most often progressive and can lead to a significant reduction in mobility and therefore, in quality of life.

 

How does acupuncture help treat peripheral neuropathy?

The goal of acupuncture treatment is to re-establish proper blood flow to the feet, help repair the damaged nerves, and relieve pain.  How extensive or chronic the neuropathy is can determine how long the course of treatment would be.  A treatment plan would be determined after your first examination and intake.

This is condition is frequently treated in our clinic with a success rate of about 80-90%.  We aim to awaken your feet so you can feel the ground, walk without concern, and live a better life!

 

What other therapies can be used for peripheral neuropathy?

Other therapies are often combined with acupuncture to enhance results and encourage healing – herbal medicine, proper supplementation, food therapy, moxibustion, and transdermal botanical infusion treatments for the hands and feet.  After a full assessment of your individual body and health history, we will add in the appropriate therapies to help you get the best results.

 

PLANTAR FASCIITIS

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the thick band of tissue (ligament) attaching the heels to the toes.  It often results from a strain injury that causes small tears in the ligament or fascia on the bottom of the foot.  This is commonly seen in runners and athletic people, but it can happen to just about anyone.  It is often experienced on one foot at first and can progress to pain in both feet.

 

People often ignore plantar fasciitis if the symptoms come on gradually, especially because at first the pain will go away after you take the first few steps after rising in the morning.  But this condition does not tend to go away on its own and often progresses to pain whenever you are on your feet.

 

How does acupuncture help treat plantar fasciitis?

We often treat this condition in our clinic. It is terrible to see how progressive it can become before people come for acupuncture – many patients limp through the door.  In some cases, the pain has become so debilitating they use crutches to avoid putting their heels on the ground.

Treatment requires a different approach from other modalities that aggressively massage, scrape, or roll over the bottom of the feet and heels.  The problem with those approaches is that there are often little tears in the fascia causing a lot of the pain.  Being too aggressive on those tears, then walking on our feet and never being able to rest the injured area fully, tends to make it feel much worse.

Instead, acupuncture is used to relieve the pain, promote blood circulation to the feet and heels, and reduce excessive inflammation so the body can heal.  The duration of treatment will depend on how extensive or chronic the neuropathy is. This can be determined by your first examination and intake.

 

What other therapies can be used for plantar fasciitis?

Herbal medicine, proper supplementation, food therapy, moxibustion, and transdermal botanical infusion treatments for the hands and feet are often combined with acupuncture to enhance results and encourage healing. After a full assessment of your individual body and health history, we will add in the appropriate therapies to help you get the best results.

 

How does Moxibustion Therapy help with pain?

Moxibustion (or Moxa) is a herb also known as Mugwort.  This therapy uses the heat from the burning dried mugwort herb to increase circulation to the local tissues.  There are numerous studies demonstrating moxa helps reduce chemotherapy side effects, correct breech presentation (gestational), rheumatoid arthritis, and senility.  Moxibustion therapy has also been studied for the treatment of pain, cancer symptoms, stroke, ulcerative colitis, constipation, and hypertension.

In our clinic, we use a strong moxibustion herbal tincture that is applied to the skin where infrared therapy will take place. This is a great way to combine the benefits of both forms of healing.

Infrared lamps are a medical device that promotes faster healing by stimulating microcirculation, which delivers higher levels of oxygen and nutrients to injured cells while eliminating toxins and cellular waste.  Acupuncturists use this heat therapy to promote circulation and induce the smoother flow of blood in cases of muscle pain, soft tissue injuries, arthritis, headaches, and more.  For example, research shows a dramatic increase in blood flow to patients with peripheral neuropathy when used twice a week for 20-30 minutes.

 

 

References

  1. Yao, Jian; Hu, Ling; Song, Xiao-Ge; Zheng, Bao-Zhu; Zhou, Feng; Zhang, Cheng (2013). “Influence of moxibustion at ‘Shènshù’ (BL-23) and ‘Zúsānli’ (ST-36) on Ras-MAPK signal pathways in synovial tissues of rats with experimental rheumatoid arthritis”.World Journal of Acupuncture-Moxibustion. 23 (2): 29–33.
  2. Cardini, Francesco; Weixin, Huang (1998). “Moxibustion for Correction of Breech Presentation”.JAMA. 280 (18): 1580–4.
  3. Lee, Myeong Soo; Choi, Tae-Young; Kang, Jung Won; Lee, Beom-Joon; Ernst, Edzard (2010). “Moxibustion for Treating Pain: A Systematic Review”. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 38 (5): 829.
  4. Lee, Myeong Soo; Choi, Tae-Young; Park, Ji-Eun; Lee, Song-Shil; Ernst, Edzard (2010). “Moxibustion for cancer care: A systematic review and meta-analysis”. BMC Cancer. 10: 130.
  5. Lee, M. S.; Shin, B.-C.; Kim, J.-I.; Han, C.-h.; Ernst, E. (2010). “Moxibustion for Stroke Rehabilitation: Systematic Review”. Stroke. 41(4): 817.
  6. Lee, Dong-Hyo; Kim, Jong-In; Lee, Myeong Soo; Choi, Tae-Young; Choi, Sun-Mi; Ernst, Edzard (2010). “Moxibustion for ulcerative colitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis”. BMC Gastroenterology. 10: 36.
  7. Lee, Myeong Soo; Choi, Tae-Young; Park, Ji-Eun; Ernst, Edzard (2010). “Effects of moxibustion for constipation treatment: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials”. Chinese Medicine. 5: 28.
  8. Kim, Jong-In; Choi, Jun-Yong; Lee, Hyangsook; Lee, Myeong Soo; Ernst, Edzard (2010). “Moxibustion for hypertension: A systematic review”. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders. 10: 33.
  9. Ammar, Tarek. “Monochromatic infrared photo energy in diabetic peripheral neuropathy.” International Scholarly Research Network.   484307: 8.

 

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