Numbness and Tingling no more!!

Our nervous system is amazing! It is what allows us to experience life in a tactile, "sensual" way. Our nerves send information from the world around us up to our brain and our brain instantly translates this information allowing us to feel or "sense" the world around us.

To understand this, think of what it feels like to pet a soft animal. Close your eyes and imagine the softness of it's fur beneath your hands, can you imagine the pleasure that you feel?

Or, imagine what it feels like to walk on warm (or cool, whichever you prefer) sand. How do the grains of sand feel beneath your feet? What sensations are sent up your legs with every step? Can you feel the temperature of the sand head up your legs and fill your body?

Now imagine what it would be like if those experiences were gone. If you no longer were able to experience life as you once did. You pet that same animal and feel nothing or numbness or if instead of a pleasurable experiences, it became an uncomfortable one instead.

Neuropathy and the body, Calgary Acupuncture to the rescue


Neuropathy can have a sudden or slow onset and people can experience feelings of numbness, prickling or tingling sensations or a sharp, jabbing, throbbing, freezing or burning pain or an extreme sensitivity to touch. This can lead to a lack of coordination. When we can't feel our feet on the floor or don't feel like we have total control of our limbs to move them where we choose, this can make us unstable and we can fall or feel very clumsy and disoriented (this can also be due to motor nerve neuropathy which we will not discuss here).

There are many different type of neuropathies depending on the type of nerve that is affected, for this article we are going to be talking about peripheral sensory neuropathy.

This affects our sensory nerves that supply us with the sensations such as temperature, pain, vibration or touch from the skin.

raynauld and neuropathy
In practice I have seen many different types of numbness and tingling.
I treat a great deal of cancer care so I tend to see a lot of neuropathy due to  surgeries or as the result of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. I have also seen neuropathy due to traumatic accidents and diabetes.

Though all of these have different causes, acupuncture is effective for each type.

The first picture in this blog, of acupuncture needles in someone's feet, is a picture that I recently took in clinic.  The woman in the photo is going through a certain type of chemotherapy that can cause the side effect of numbness and tingling in hands and feet. After her first chemo treatment she started experiencing somewhat severe numbness and tingling in her feet and less severe numbness and tingling in her hands. After one treatment (the one depicted above) she recovered almost 100% of the feeling in her feet and all of the feeling in her hands. This is one of the many things I love about acupuncture it can bring such quick and amazing results!

I saw a patient, a young woman, in clinic who had a traumatic vehicular accident 18 years previous. In this accident she suffered extensive trauma and was hospitalized for a great deal of time. Most of her pain had cleared up but she still had numbness in her upper thigh when she saw me 18 years later. After a session of treatments, even though the damage had occurred many years before, we were able to recover the feeling in her leg. She was so thrilled as it was not only "annoying" to not have feeling in her leg but it also was a constant reminder of the trauma.

As I have mentioned I treat a fair amount of cancer care a support. A female patient, whom had a lumpectomy resulting in numbness in her underarm  was "driving her crazy" that when she shaved her armpit it created a "sickening" numbness that was very upsetting to her. With only a few treatments we were able to recover the feeling in her underarm and she was so grateful as this brought some normalcy back to her life after such a long and trying cancer experience.

Diabetic neuropathy is as it sounds neuropathy due to diabetes. This is also treatable but requires diet and lifestyle changes to regulate blood sugars as this is the cause of this type of neuropathy.

Often times when writing an article I am able to give diet and lifestyle tips regarding the topic at hand. When it comes to neuropathy this is much harder for me. Unless it's diabetic neuropathy which has a direct link to blood sugar there isn't many home care tips that I can provide. I can however say that I have seen great results with acupuncture and herbal medicine in my clinical practice over the years.

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Dr. Tanya Kelloway- Calgary Acupuncture

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