Can Acupuncture Relieve The Discomfort Of Diabetic Neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy is a common form of nerve damage experienced by persons with diabetes. It's a general term applied to various types of nerve damage, and the resulting pain mechanisms can affect different parts of your body to varying degrees. Some may only experience mild intermittent pain, whereas others may find their discomfort to be ongoing with changeable levels of intensity. Pain relief can come from an unexpected source—acupuncture. 

Overall Diabetes Management

A number of studies have been performed into the benefits of acupuncture as a form of disease management for diabetes mellitus. The results are encouraging—studies have concluded that acupuncture can help to alleviate the discomfort associated with diabetes. It must be stressed that acupuncture should be integrated into your overall diabetes treatment plan, and is a way to manage your symptoms, not a cure. It should be used in conjunction with other types of pain relief, such as medication.

Manual or Electric

Both manual acupuncture and electro-acupuncture (using needles that deliver a low-intensity electric pulse) can be effective, and you may begin with electro-acupuncture as it can provide the quickest and most efficient alleviation for the pain associated with diabetic neuropathy. The practitioner will use two needles at each insertion point (or pressure point).

Electrical Currents

Two needles are needed as they pass a mild, barely perceptible electrical current to each other, with your tissues serving as the conductor. This can provide faster, more substantial results than manual acupuncture which solely physically stimulates the pressure point. Electro-acupuncture both physically stimulates the pressure point while also electrically stimulating the site.

Pressure Points

Specific pressure points will be targeted, as these are deemed to be most relevant to your diabetic neuropathy. For example, during your treatment session you may receive electro-acupuncture at site ST36 (amongst others), in the fascial section of your lower leg, as this is thought to counteract inflammation—which can minimize the pain of your diabetes mellitus. 

Health Considerations

Like most health-related decisions and inquiries, it is recommended to inform your doctor that you're planning this supplemental treatment. You should exercise caution if you currently take anticoagulant medication, which thins the blood and makes it difficult to form clots—since any bleeding may take slightly longer to stop. 

If you're constantly bothered by varying levels of discomfort caused by your diabetes mellitus, it's time to explore pain relief options beyond pain medication. It might be time to pay a visit to an acupuncturist.

To learn more about acupuncture, contact a professional near you.