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Appointments are available on the following days each week. Please call the landline at 773.506.8971 or email at to schedule.

Sunday: 2 – 7PM
Monday: 2 – 8PM
Tuesday: 2 – 8PM
Wednesday: 12 - 6PM
Thursday: 2 – 8PM

Some Health Issues We Treat

Entries in nerve pain (2)


Treating Neuropathy with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine 

Because of the association that many people and their physicians make between acupuncture and nerve functioning, it is common for many patients to seek out an acupuncturist immediately upon being diagnosed with any type of neuropathy. For good reason, it turns out: acupuncture and, frequently herbal therapy, can be exceptionally useful in treating neuropathies originating from many disease processes.In broad terms, neuropathy is the manifestation of any disease which affects the peripheral nervous system leading to one or a combination of pain, tingling, 'pins and needles' sensation, numbness, or weakness in the hands and/or feet. Neuropathy can be caused by a large number of triggers ranging from diseases such as cancer, diabetes, or AIDS; nutritional deficiencies; or toxic overloading the body with either environmental poisons or prescription drugs. A large number of neuropathy cases  are termed, 'idiopathic', meaning that western medicine can not determine a specific cause of the problem.

An acupuncturist evaluates each person's case of neuropathy differently weighing the health history of the patient; the location of the problem; the drugs or environmental chemical exposure and, from this, weaves together a treatment plan that most effectively restores nerve function. Neuropathies tend to respond incredibly well to acupuncture and, occasionally additional herbal intervention, depending on the cause of the nerve issue. 


Research and Articles

 A study done by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and which can be read about here, found that acupuncture was extemely useful for treating chemotherapy related neuropathy, noting that:

 . . . all of the patients reported or had improvement in their CIPN grades after starting acupuncture.

The researchers note that using customized acupuncture point prescriptions in the TCM style produces superior patient outcomes when the use of distal acupuncture points are employed. The researchers emphasize the need for customization of the acupoint prescriptions per each patient’s differential diagnostics for maximum clinical efficacy. In addition, they emphasize that distal acupoints “increase blood flow” and therefore have an especially important role in the treatment of CIPN.

A British study recently confirmed that acupuncture can be useful in treating chemotherapy induced neuropathy, finding that 82% of the patients in the study received benefit. In a small related study, from Germany, 83% of the subjects enrolled in the study found sustantial benefit from acupuncture. Both can be read about here. In addition the patients found that,

. . . some patients derived additional benefits from the treatment including a reduction in analgesic use and improved sleeping patterns. 

In 2011 the University of Arizona examined acupuncture for HIV-related neuropathies, as well as mortality from that disease and found that:

Acupuncture was clearly effective in reducing attrition and mortality in this sample, especially when health status was taken into account . . . Moreover, these results replicated most of the findings that did not involve the  presence of amitriptyline from the initial independent study in this research project.  

The University Medical Center in Hamburg, Germany examining acupuncture for chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) found that,

The data suggest that acupuncture has a positive effect on CIPN. 

A Chinese study entitled, Fifteen-Day Acupuncture Treatment Relieves Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy, evaluated the use of acupuncture in a diabetic population suffering from both sensory and motor nerve damage. It found,

... evidence that acupuncture may be clinically useful for the radical treatment of diabetic neurapathy.

The study compared:

 ... forty-two cases treated with acupuncture with 21 cases exposed to sham acupuncture and observed the effects on nerve conduction velocity and a variety of subjective symptoms associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Three of the six measures of motor nerves, and two measures of sensory function, demonstrated significant improvement (p < 0.05) over the 15-day treatment period in the acupuncture group, while no motor or sensory function significantly improved in the sham acupuncture group. There were also significant differences in vibration perception threshold between the groups (p < 0.05) and when compared to the baseline levels (p < 0.01) in the acupuncture group. Acupuncture was significantly more effective than sham for treatment of numbness of the lower extremities, spontaneous pain in the lower extremities, rigidity in the upper extremities and alterations in temperature perception in the lower extremities after therapy.









Effective Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia with Acupuncture

Trigeminal neuralgia is a very painful condition of the nerves in the face which often torments those who suffer from it for long periods of time. Western medicine struggles, often quite unsuccessfully, in addressing the discomfort and patients are rarely satisfied with their treatment. Happily, acupuncture is an extremely useful means of addressing this problem and we see many cases of it in our clinic with the vast majority of clients extremely pleased with what we are able to do for them. 

Acupuncturists will not only ask the client for a description of where on the face the pain is, but also for a detailed overview of their whole system. The process of doing Chinese medicine properly involves evaluating any one problem, in this case trigeminal neuralgia, against the backdrop of the patient's whole constitution. It often surprises our clients that we seem to be as interested in their digestion, skin, or menstrual cycles as we are in the reason they came in to see us. The reason for this is no one symptom exists in a vacuum and to take care of the problem most effectively, we need to treat the person's whole body. This ensures that not only will the problem be treated, but that it is less likely to return and that the patient is healthier overall.

For reference, I am excerpting and publishing links to a small smattering of the enormous number of articles and studies on acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment of trigeminal neuralgia below:



A small study showing the utility of acupuncture in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia:


From the journal Headache comes a research study evaluating acupuncture for trigeminal neuralgia entitled, Acupuncture Treatment of Chronic Facial Pain -- a Controlled Cross-over Trial. A summary of it can be read here. The patients received 10 treatments over the course of two weeks. The study's summary concludes that,

Traditional Chinese acupuncture was found to be significantly more pain-relieving than placebo acupuncture according to the pain registration of the patients themselves and to their subjective preferences.

In a controlled trial the effect of traditional Chinese acupuncture versus placebo acupuncture was evaluated in 16 patients with chronic facial pain (13 atypical facial pain, 2 atypical and I typical trigeminal neuralgia). All patients suffered from daily pain, the intensity of which was recorded by the patients over a period of 16 weeks. Each patient was treated by traditional Chinese acupuncture as well as placebo acupuncture in a cross-over design following randomization. Each period of treatment comprised 10 treatments during two weeks of hospitalization.

Traditional Chinese acupuncture was found to be significantly more pain-relieving than placebo acupuncture according to the pain registration of the patients themselves and to their subjective preferences.


Effect of Acupuncture in Trigeminal Neuralgia

Tapan K. Chaudhuri, Abhisek Ray. Medical Acupuncture. December 2008, 20(4): 231-237. doi:10.1089/acu.2008.0640.

(excerpted from the complete study, which can be viewed at:

Results: Of the 17 patients, 2 did not have classic TN. Three patients did not return after the second treatment. These patients were excluded from this series. Of the remaining 12 patients with classic TN, 4 of 5 men and all 7 women responded with markedly decreased visual analog scale scores (VAS; from mean [SD], 8.75 [1.02] to 1.95 [2.84]; P < .001). Five patients (1 man and 4 women) stayed in complete remission, which has lasted 11–15 months following their last acupuncture treatment. These 5 patients stopped taking all medications for TN. The remainder of the patients have continued to receive acupuncture on an as-necessary basis (mean [SD], 31.65 [18.26] days) for the maintenance of pain relief and no resistance to therapy has developed, with the longest follow-up being 18 months. The patients who had a history of multiple operations and procedures also had a good response. No adverse effects were observed.

Conclusions: Acupuncture produced beneficial effects in the majority of patients in this series. Acupuncture should be considered as a safe therapeutic option in patients with TN, especially before invasive intervention is done.


Definition of trigeminal neuralgia from (see complete article at:

Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN), also called tic douloureux, is a condition that affects the trigeminal nerve (the 5th cranial nerve), one of the largest nerves in the head. TN is primarily known for the intense level of pain it causes. The trigeminal nerve is responsible for sending impulses of touch, pain, pressure and temperature to the brain from the face, jaw, gums, forehead and around the eyes. The disorder is more common in women than in men and rarely affects anyone younger than 50. 

What are the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia?

TN is characterized by a sudden, severe, electric shock-like or stabbing pain typically felt on one side of the jaw or cheek. The attacks of pain, which generally last several seconds and may be repeated one after the other, may be triggered by talking, brushing teeth, touching the face, chewing or swallowing. The attacks may come and go throughout the day and last for days, weeks or months at a time.

A small research study: (see complete article at:

Practical Application of Meridian Acupuncture Treatment for Trigeminal Neuralgia

By Beppu S; Sato Y; Amemiya Y; Tode I.

Practical application of meridian acupuncture treatment for trigeminal neuralgia.

Anesthesia and Pain Control in Dentistry, 1992 Spring, 1(2):103-8.
(UI: 93005964)

Abstract: This report evaluates the effect of meridian acupuncture treatment on trigeminal neuralgia. Ten patients aged 26 to 67 years (mean 55.4 years) who visited the outpatient Dental Anesthesiology Clinic at Tsurumi University Dental Hospital from 1985 to 1990 were studied. Five of the patients suffered from idiopathic and five from symptomatic trigeminal neuralgia. The patients underwent meridian treatment by acupuncture alone or acupuncture combined with moxibustion. The acupuncture method used was primarily basic treatment employing only needles without electrical stimulation. Meridian acupuncture treatments were repeated from two to four times a month.

Five patients were restored to a pain-free state. The other five patients noted a decrease in pain, but with some level of pain remaining (significant pain in one patient). It is concluded that meridian acupuncture treatment is useful and can be one therapeutic approach in the management of trigeminal neuralgia.


From China:


Therapeutic effect of acupuncture at local acupoints on trigeminal neuralgia

Zhang XY.

Sanya City TCM Hospital, Hainan, China.

OBJECTIVE: To search for an effective method for increasing therapeutic effect on trigeminal neuralgia. METHODS: Ninety cases of primary trigeminal neuralgia were randomly divided into a deep needling group and a routine needling group, 45 cases in each group. The routine needling group were treated by shallow acupuncture at local acupoints and distal acupoints along the Hand and Foot-Yangming Channels, and the deep needling group were treated by acupuncture at the above acupoints and deeply needling at the local acupoints to nerve stem for 3 courses. RESULTS: In the deep needling group 12 cases were clinically cured, 24 cases were markedly effective, 7 cases improved and 2 cases were ineffective, with a total effective rate of 95.6%; and in the routine needling group, the corresponding figures were 7, 15, 12, 11, 75.6%. The therapeutic effect in the deep needling group was better than that in the routine needling group (P<0.05). CONCLUSION: Deeply needling local acupoints plus acupuncture at distal acupoints along the Hand and Foot-Yangming Channels can increase significantly the therapeutic effect on trigeminal neuralgia.