The nervous system is the body’s command center. It controls the input and output from the brain to the body and back, such as commanding the muscles and organs and delivering information from the body and the outer environment through the senses. It also controls many body systems and processes, such as digestion, breathing, etc.
The neuron is the basic unit of the nerves; it receives and transmits electrochemical impulses between the brain and the body.
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Pathologies of the nervous system
We can divide the nervous system into two systems: The central nervous system, which includes the brain and the spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous which consists of the nerves that branch off from the spinal cord and extend to all body parts. In this article, we will cover the latter one.
- Any injury or damage to the nerve from the pressure of muscles, bones, ligaments, or injury such as pinched nerve, sciatica (legs), thoracic outlet syndrome (hands), Bell’s Palsy, etc. Anything that damages the nerve can cause pathology, such as:
- Infection of the nerve, such as Shingles, Lyme disease, and Epstein bar virus.
- Autoimmune diseases cause the immune system to attack the nerves, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Diabetes – can damage the nerve and creates Neuropathy.
Symptoms of Neurological conditions
The symptoms of a damaged nerve are similar in most conditions, and they can be divided into three categories related to three types of nerves:
- Sensory nerves: when the sensory nerve is affected – most people will feel unusual sensations such as numbness, prickling or tingling, and unusual heat or cold. Sometimes it can be a sharp pain or no sensation at all, as the sensory input coming from the nerve is malfunctioning.
- Motor nerves are in charge of delivering commands from the brain to the muscles. The symptoms are an unusual weakness of the muscles, lack of coordination, and paralysis.
- Autonomic nerves: Mostly caused by Diabetes, the autonomic nervous system symptoms can be drops in blood pressure, excessive perspiration, heart rate, irregular digestion, and bladder function.
Shingles or Herpes zoster
Herpes zoster (Shingles) is caused by the Varicella Zoster Virus (from the Herpes Family), which causes chickenpox in children. The outbreak may happen when there is a weakness in the body’s immune system due to illness, stress, or an emotional conflict. The virus can remain dormant in the spine area within nerve cells for many years, and when it outbreaks, it causes Shingles.
The signs of Shingles are pain, sensitivity, and skin lesions that appear in the form of a “half of a belt,” usually in the abdomen or chest area. Sometimes it may also appear on the face or the limbs. The belt shape is due to the spread of the virus along the nerve from the spine to the front of the body.
Although The disease is not contagious and can only affect those who have had chicken pox in the past, the lesions can infect chicken pox, so it may be dangerous to adults who didn’t get the disease.
Acupuncture for Shingles
Balance Method acupuncture is very effective in treating Shingles. We usually use distal acupuncture points- (not in the affected area), and in most cases, improvement is seen immediately. Acupuncture can also help with the chronic symptoms of shingles, such as the residual pain and sensitivity that sometimes stays long after the infection.
In Chinese medicine, Herpes Zoster is usually associated with the Gall bladder meridian heat.
Heat is considered a pathogen – an invader in the body that interferes with the proper flow of qi in the body. The characteristics of heat manifested in the skin are – redness, itching, and pain.
Some foods are better to avoid, such as alcohol – especially beer, chocolate, fried foods, peanuts, nuts, and more.
Herbal Treatment for Shingles
The acupuncturist can prescribe specific Chinese Medicine herbal formulas to help with shingles after diagnosis of the core issue, using tongue and pulse diagnosis.
Peripheral neuropathy results from damage to peripheral nerves. The damage often causes weakness of the muscles, numbness, unusual sensation of cold and heat, and pain, usually in the hands and feet. One of the unique characteristics of Neurological pain is that the pain will not be in the same place as the damage is in the nerve.
Most common reasons for Neuropathy:
- Diabetes- damages the tiny blood vessel, which then cant nourish the nerves. Most Neuropathy in Diabetes will occur in the feet and, if not treated, can lead to amputation. It can also affect other organs, such as the eyes.
- “Pinched Nerve” occurs when surrounding tissues, such as muscles, bones, tendons, or ligaments, create too much pressure on a nerve, creating false sensations or pain in a distal place.
- Examples of pinched nerves are sciatic pain (Back pain radiating to the leg), Carpal tunnel syndrome – CTS, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome – TOS, Pinched nerve in the neck, Etc.
Acupuncture for Neuropathy due to Diabetes
Acupuncture is very effective for Neuropathy, both in healing the nerve and healing the root cause.
In treating Neuropathy due to type two Diabetes, we must treat both Diabetes and Neuropathy. Excellent protocols exist in Chinese Medicine to treat Diabetes with acupuncture, herbal therapy, and nutrition.
We often use acupuncture points in the hand to treat the feet to heal Neuropathy since putting needles in the feet is not recommended due to the risk of inflammation.
It is essential to know that type two diabetes is treatable and can be reversed with acupuncture and a proper diet.
Acupuncture for a pinched nerve
Balance Method acupuncture is very effective in treating pinched nerves. It is a prevalent complaint in the clinic that responds well to acupuncture.
Diagnosis is critical since the exact place of the nerve blockage must be identified. In some cases, relieving the pressure on the nerve is not enough since the nerve has suffered some damage and needs help with healing. In the more complex cases, nerves may take longer to heal than other tissues, but in most cases, the nerve will heal.