Peripheral neuropathy is a common side effect of diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy can be treated with conventional medications, but drugs are not always effective and can be quite expensive, even with medical insurance. My friend Gina has diabetes and when her doctor suggested she try acupuncture for her diabetic neuropathy she was skeptical at first. However, once her peripheral neuropathy started moving further up her legs, she made an appointment with an acupuncturist. Gina did not know if acupuncture for diabetic neuropathy would work, but since nothing else was effective, she was willing to try anything.
Why are diabetics eager to try acupuncture to treat their peripheral neuropathy?
Many diabetics such as my friend Gina often have other medical problems in addition to diabetes, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. So many prescriptions can be confusing- not to mention expensive. Even in the absence of financial considerations, at some point people with diabetes are understandably reluctant to pump more drugs into their bodies. Luckily, there are several alternative medicines and complementary therapies such as acupuncture available to treat people with diabetes who suffer from peripheral neuropathy.
Why try acupuncture as a treatment for diabetic neuropathy?
Diabetic neuropathy most often affects the feet, causing numbness and pain, but a constant feeling of “pins and needles” is not the only problem for people with diabetes. My friend Lana’s peripheral neuropathy in her feet and lower legs was causing her to lose her balance. It is hard to walk when you cannot feel your feet, and diabetics with the condition often appear to be older than they really are because they have to walk so carefully to avoid falling over.
In addition to difficulty keeping one’s balance, the pain and discomfort from peripheral neuropathy can make it difficult to sleep. A good night’s sleep is crucial for people with diabetes- and you certainly do not need to be diabetic for insomnia to cause health problems. If conventional medications available to treat diabetic neuropathy no longer work or if you cannot afford them, it is only natural to try alternative treatments such as acupuncture to treat your diabetic neuropathy.
Does acupuncture for diabetic neuropathy work? Gina’s Story.
Gina overcame her initial skepticism and made an appointment to try acupuncture for her diabetic neuropathy. She made an appointment with a local acupuncturist who assured her that he often uses acupuncture to treat peripheral neuropathy in people with diabetes.
After her first 45 minute acupuncture session, Gina called her sister in tears to tell her that she could feel her feet. The peripheral neuropathy caused by her diabetes had kept Gina from having any sensation in her feet and ankles for so long that it truly felt like a miracle to her.
After her second visit to the acupuncturist, Gina regained even more feeling in her feet and lower legs. She no longer dreaded having to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and her balance was greatly improved. It was clear to her that using acupuncture to treat her diabetic neuropathy was working.
After the third visit, Gina was convinced that acupuncture treatments for her diabetic neuropathy had been a success, and her doctor agreed. She no longer worries about losing her balance when she is at home alone or being embarrassed in public. When she wakes up in the morning, she can get right out of bed without having to worry about not being able to feel her feet.
As her friend, I can tell you that Gina’s gait has improved. Instead of hobbling around like an old lady, Gina now looks her age- or even younger. She does not feel like an old lady anymore, either; using acupuncture to treat her diabetic neuropathy makes Gina look and feel at least 10 years younger.
Acupuncture for diabetic neuropathy: Long term results.
It has been over a year since her first acupuncture appointment. Gina still sees her acupuncturist, but these days she only needs to have acupuncture to treat her diabetic neuropathy for maintenance on an as-needed basis. The beneficial effects of acupuncture on peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes wears off gradually. When she starts to feel that once familiar sensation of pins and needles, Gina knows it is time to make an appointment with her doctor for an acupuncture treatment, usually about every three weeks.
Other things you might want to know about Gina and her use of acupuncture for diabetic neuropathy: She has Type II diabetes for which she takes medication. She also takes medication for her blood pressure and high cholesterol, among other ailments. Gina is far from the poster child ideal diabetes patient: although not terribly overweight, she gets little if any exercise and her diet is, to put it kindly, pretty poor. Even so, she has been successful in using acupuncture to treat peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes.
Personal knowledge and the personal experience of my friend Gina. (Full name withheld for privacy reasons. Contact the author for more information.)