A neurological disorder refers to a problem with the nervous system, a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates the body’s activities. Nerve pain can arise from trauma, inflammation, stroke, disease, infection, nerve degeneration, exposure to toxic chemicals, and nutrient deficiencies.
Nerve pain is usually a sharp, shooting pain or a constant burning sensation. Typically occurring in the same location with each episode, it can often be traced along the nerve pathway. Sometimes weakness or impaired function in the affected area occurs, and the skin may be either overly sensitive or numb.
Acupuncture can provide symptom relief from some neurological disorders, including:
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) — ALS is an irreversible neurological disease that destroys the nerve cells that invigorate the muscles.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome — Also known as median nerve entrapment, it occurs when swelling or irritation of the nerve or tendons in the carpal tunnel results in pressure on the median nerve.
Headaches — Headaches that can be treated with acupuncture include migraines, tension headaches, headaches occurring around the menstrual cycle, sinus headaches and stress-related headaches.
Myasthenia Gravis — This is a neuromuscular disorder causing muscles under voluntary control to tire and become easily fatigued.
Peripheral Neuropathy — This presents as damage to the peripheral nervous system, which transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to every other part of the body. This kind of neuropathy can be caused by diabetes and often affects the feet.
Trigeminal Neuralgia — This presents as facial pain and is sometimes called Tic Douloureux. It affects the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for impulses of touch, pain, pressure, and temperature sent to the brain from the face, jaw, and gums.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been found effective as conjunctive therapy for several neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and in treating pain and inflammation.
A 2017 meta-analysis published in the journal Medicine set out to discover if acupuncture alone or acupuncture plus conventional treatment could mitigate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Conventional treatment for Parkinson’s disease involves the use of the pharmaceutical drug Levodopa, but long-term use can cause mild to serious complications.
After conducting their meta-analysis, the researchers concluded that acupuncture performed better than conventional treatment alone. Additionally, the combination of acupuncture with conventional treatment produced outstanding results when compared to just conventional treatment.
Even more promising was the conclusion that acupuncture could provide relief for symptoms of early-stage Parkinson’s Disease, before the onset of drug therapy.
Source: Lee, S.-H., & Lim, S. (2017). Clinical effectiveness of acupuncture on Parkinson disease: A PRISMA-compliant systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine, 96(3), e5836. http://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000005836 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5279085/