Monday 12 August 2013

Acupuncture for Peripheral Neuropathy - Numbness in Hands and Feet

Consider all rehabilitation options to help undo effects of chemotherapy treatment

 The Road to Recovery

As I rang the bell to signify the end of my cancer treatment, I had no idea that this was really just the first step in the road to recovery from the side effects of the treatment. The peripheral neuropathy that started during chemotherapy actually got worse when my treatment ended.

Hiking through the Highlands of Scotland
My husband and I had booked a hiking trip in the Highlands of Scotland to celebrate the end of my treatment. I had continued to exercise daily throughout the 6 months of chemotherapy so I knew I was fit enough for the challenge, but I had not factored in the numbness in my hands and feet. When I asked the oncologist for advice, he said "Rent a bike!" Cute answer, but not exactly a practical solution for the terrain.

Consider All Rehabilitation Options for Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

As a physiotherapist who uses acupuncture, I began to research the use of acupuncture for peripheral neuropathy (numbness in hands and feet). Research indicated it's successful in treating diabetic neuropathy, but there was very little studied with cancer patients. So I consulted with a colleague trained in acupuncture and after considering any apparent risks, we decided it was worth trying. Within several sessions, it began to improve to the extent that I knew I could go on my trip with partial sensation having returned to my feet and hands. So only 3 months after completing chemotherapy and with the aid of walking poles for balance (another great therapeutic idea) I completed the West Highland Way - a total of 154 kilometres in six days!

I have since used acupuncture with several patients who also reported some improvement in their numbness. However, if you choose to try acupuncture for chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, please make sure you go to a regulated health professional. There is always a risk of infection with acupuncture and anyone with lymphedema must exercise extra caution.

Although the road to recovery after cancer treatment can be difficult, it is certainly worth considering all of the rehabilitation options that might be available to help you along the way.

1 comment:

  1. The underlying cause normally defines the course of Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment. The drugs that are recommended normally include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, asprin, antidepressents, anti-seizure drugs and duloxetine but all these drugs have several side effects. Repeton herbal medication by Herbs Solutions By Nature is the best treatment presently available for managing this problem. The product is made up of 100 % natural herbs hence no side effects are observed by its use.