Chronic Pain and Neuropathy

Chronic Pain

Are you experiencing pain most days?  Do you find it hard to remember a time you didn’t have pain?  Have you tried every prescription drug to relieve your pain without significant relief?  Or are you wanting a safer and healthier long-term option?

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is defined as having pain that has lasted longer than 3 months.  The most common pain conditions we treat are:

In most cases, people who suffer from chronic pain will also have issues with sleep, depression, anxiety, and/or digestive dysfunction.  Chinese medicine and acupuncture treat the whole body, which is why patients very often leave feeling better than when they came in for reasons other than just their pain relief.

How can acupuncture and Chinese medicine help with my pain?

Acupuncture is widely known for its effectiveness in treating chronic pain.  This is treated at our clinic every day and it can really help give someone their life back.  We recommend not waiting to get treated because “little” or acute pain is much easier to treat than “big” or chronic pain.  The longer a condition has been going, the more treatments may be needed.

On your first appointment, after an examination where we thoroughly go over your symptoms and health complaints, you will be given dietary, supplement, herbal medicine, and lifestyle guidance.  Click here to learn when you should use ice versus heat on an area of pain.

Many people experience temporary relief with their first treatment and find that over time, the intensity and the frequency of their pain diminishes.  Some conditions require consistent treatments over a long period, but others may find that their pain is gone after a course of treatment.

It is amazing what the body can do.  Acupuncture stimulates your body to heal. By drawing oxygen-rich blood to areas of pain it helps to reduce inflammation and pain.  Acupuncture also activates the nervous system, immune, and endocrine systems to promote healing and release natural painkillers.  We each have a healing machine inside!

“Our bodies can do it.  We are not animals who are dependent on drugs.” – Paul Magarelli, MD


What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is an illness that causes chronic pain in muscles and ligaments.  It is most common in women between their mid-30s and mid-50s.  In addition to muscular pain and stiffness, this ailment can also cause fatigue, sleep problems, depression, and an inability to think clearly.

What causes fibromyalgia?

The causes are unknown, but there are plenty of potential causes.  It could possibly be the level of a cerebral spinal fluid called substance P, which transmits pain impulses to the brain.  People with fibromyalgia have substance P levels three times higher than those without it.  Heightened levels of this substance could explain why fibromyalgia patients are hypersensitive to pain.  Other possible causes are lack of deep sleep, genetic predisposition, stress, dopamine dysfunction, deficient growth hormone (GH) secretion, psychological factors and physical trauma.

How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?  

  • Widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of 3 months.
  • Significant tenderness or pain in at least 11 of 18 specified tender points when pressure is applied.
  • Presence of related symptoms:  fatigue, sleep problems (due to pain), and depression.


How can Chinese medicine and acupuncture help with fibromyalgia?

Chinese medicine and acupuncture can:

  • Reduces pain and stiffness
  • Improves circulation
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Improves mood
  • Increases sense of well-being

Acupuncture has been proven to be a safe option for most people.  It can help with multiple issues that result from chronic pain conditions.  We are currently experiencing an opioid abuse epidemic that is causing an increase in addiction, injuries, and deaths.  It is in our best interests as individuals and as a community to address pain differently by treating it rather than simply masking it with strong pharmaceutical drugs.

We are here to help!  Book online to start your journey to feeling the best you can.

“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but by all means, keep moving.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Neuropathy and Plantar Fasciitis

Pain, numbness, or tingling in your hands, feet or heels can be very debilitating.  Modern medicine treatments, which typically involve masking the pain, offer poor options for conditions such as peripheral neuropathy and plantar fasciitis.  Our goal should always be to reduce pharmaceutical intervention. Chinese medicine has so much to offer those who are suffering without hope of relief!


What is peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage usually in the hands and feet, resulting in weakness, pain, burning, or numbness.  It is most commonly caused by diabetes, but can also be a result of injury, shingles, chemotherapy, or unidentified causes. This nerve damage is most often progressive and can lead to a significant reduction in mobility and therefore, in quality of life.

How does acupuncture help treat peripheral neuropathy?

The goal of acupuncture treatment is to re-establish proper blood flow to the feet, help repair the damaged nerves, and relieve pain.  How extensive or chronic the neuropathy is can determine how long the course of treatment would be.  A treatment plan would be determined after your first examination and intake.

This is condition is frequently treated in our clinic with a success rate of about 80-90%.  We aim to awaken your feet so you can feel the ground, walk without concern, and live a better life!

What other therapies can be used for peripheral neuropathy?

Other therapies are often combined with acupuncture to enhance results and encourage healing – herbal medicine, proper supplementation, food therapy, moxibustion, and transdermal botanical infusion treatments for the hands and feet.  After a full assessment of your individual body and health history, we will add in the appropriate therapies to help you get the best results.


What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the thick band of tissue (ligament) attaching the heels to the toes.  It often results from a strain injury that causes small tears in the ligament or fascia on the bottom of the foot.  This is commonly seen in runners and athletic people, but it can happen to just about anyone.  It is often experienced on one foot at first and can progress to pain in both feet.

People often ignore plantar fasciitis if the symptoms come on gradually, especially because at first the pain will go away after you take the first few steps after rising in the morning.  But this condition does not tend to go away on its own and often progresses to pain whenever you are on your feet.

How does acupuncture help treat plantar fasciitis?

We often treat this condition in our clinic. It is terrible to see how progressive it can become before people come for acupuncture – many patients limp through the door.  In some cases, the pain has become so debilitating they use crutches to avoid putting their heels on the ground.

Treatment requires a different approach from other modalities that aggressively massage, scrape, or roll over the bottom of the feet and heels.  The problem with those approaches is that there are often little tears in the fascia causing a lot of the pain.  Being too aggressive on those tears, then walking on our feet and never being able to rest the injured area fully, tends to make it feel much worse.

Instead, acupuncture is used to relieve the pain, promote blood circulation to the feet and heels, and reduce excessive inflammation so the body can heal.  The duration of treatment will depend on how extensive or chronic the neuropathy is. This can be determined by your first examination and intake.

What other therapies can be used for plantar fasciitis?

Herbal medicine, proper supplementation, food therapy, moxibustion, and transdermal botanical infusion treatments for the hands and feet are often combined with acupuncture to enhance results and encourage healing. After a full assessment of your individual body and health history, we will add in the appropriate therapies to help you get the best results.

How does Moxibustion Therapy help with pain?

Moxibustion (or Moxa) is a herb also known as Mugwort.  This therapy uses the heat from the burning dried mugwort herb to increase circulation to the local tissues.  There are numerous studies demonstrating moxa helps reduce chemotherapy side effects, correct breech presentation (gestational), rheumatoid arthritis, and senility.  Moxibustion therapy has also been studied for the treatment of pain, cancer symptoms, stroke, ulcerative colitis, constipation, and hypertension.

In our clinic, we use a strong moxibustion herbal tincture that is applied to the skin where infrared therapy will take place. This is a great way to combine the benefits of both forms of healing.

Infrared lamps are a medical device that promotes faster healing by stimulating microcirculation, which delivers higher levels of oxygen and nutrients to injured cells while eliminating toxins and cellular waste.  Acupuncturists use this heat therapy to promote circulation and induce the smoother flow of blood in cases of muscle pain, soft tissue injuries, arthritis, headaches, and more.  For example, research shows a dramatic increase in blood flow to patients with peripheral neuropathy when used twice a week for 20-30 minutes.


  1. Yao, Jian; Hu, Ling; Song, Xiao-Ge; Zheng, Bao-Zhu; Zhou, Feng; Zhang, Cheng (2013). “Influence of moxibustion at ‘Shènshù’ (BL-23) and ‘Zúsānli’ (ST-36) on Ras-MAPK signal pathways in synovial tissues of rats with experimental rheumatoid arthritis”.World Journal of Acupuncture-Moxibustion. 23 (2): 29–33.
  2. Cardini, Francesco; Weixin, Huang (1998). “Moxibustion for Correction of Breech Presentation”.JAMA. 280 (18): 1580–4.
  3. Lee, Myeong Soo; Choi, Tae-Young; Kang, Jung Won; Lee, Beom-Joon; Ernst, Edzard (2010). “Moxibustion for Treating Pain: A Systematic Review”. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 38 (5): 829.
  4. Lee, Myeong Soo; Choi, Tae-Young; Park, Ji-Eun; Lee, Song-Shil; Ernst, Edzard (2010). “Moxibustion for cancer care: A systematic review and meta-analysis”. BMC Cancer. 10: 130.
  5. Lee, M. S.; Shin, B.-C.; Kim, J.-I.; Han, C.-h.; Ernst, E. (2010). “Moxibustion for Stroke Rehabilitation: Systematic Review”. Stroke. 41(4): 817.
  6. Lee, Dong-Hyo; Kim, Jong-In; Lee, Myeong Soo; Choi, Tae-Young; Choi, Sun-Mi; Ernst, Edzard (2010). “Moxibustion for ulcerative colitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis”. BMC Gastroenterology. 10: 36.
  7. Lee, Myeong Soo; Choi, Tae-Young; Park, Ji-Eun; Ernst, Edzard (2010). “Effects of moxibustion for constipation treatment: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials”. Chinese Medicine. 5: 28.
  8. Kim, Jong-In; Choi, Jun-Yong; Lee, Hyangsook; Lee, Myeong Soo; Ernst, Edzard (2010). “Moxibustion for hypertension: A systematic review”. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders. 10: 33.
  9. Ammar, Tarek. “Monochromatic infrared photo energy in diabetic peripheral neuropathy.” International Scholarly Research Network.   484307: 8.


References for chronic pain:


  • Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Maschino AC, et al. Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis. Archives of internal medicine. 2012;172(19):1444-1453. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3654.
  • Acupuncture: In Depth. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Accessed Nov. 9, 2017.
  • Berman BM, Langevin HM, Witt CM, et al. Acupuncture for chronic low back pain. New England Journal of Medicine. 2010;363(5):454–461.
  • Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Avins AL, et al. A randomized trial comparing acupuncture, simulated acupuncture, and usual care for chronic low back pain. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2009;169(9):858–866.
  • Chou R, Qaseem A, Snow V, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain: a joint clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2007;147(7):478–491.
  • Cummings M. Modellvorhaben Akupunktur—a summary of the ART, ARC and GERAC trials. Acupuncture in Medicine. 2009;27(1):26–30.
  • Furlan A, Yazdi F, Tsertsvadze A, et al. Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Back Pain II. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 194. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 2010. AHRQ Publication No. 10(11)–E007.
  • Hinman RS, McCrory P, Pirotta M, et al. Acupuncture for chronic knee pain. A randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2014;312(13):1313–1322.
  • Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, et al. Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009;(1):CD001218. Accessed at on July 2, 2014.
  • Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, et al. Acupuncture for tension-type headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009;(1):CD007587. Accessed at on July 2, 2014.
  • Manheimer E, Cheng K, Linde K, et al. Acupuncture for peripheral joint osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2010;(1):CD001977. Accessed at on July 2, 2014.
  • Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Maschino AC, et al. Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2012;172(19):1444–1453.
  • Vickers AJ, Linde K. Acupuncture for chronic pain. JAMA. 2014;311(9):955–956.
  • Witt CM, Jena S, Brinkhaus B, et al. Acupuncture for patients with chronic neck pain. Pain. 2006;125(1–2):98–106.
  • Yuan J, Purepong N, Kerr DP, et al. Effectiveness of acupuncture for low back pain: a systematic review. Spine. 2008;33(23):E887–E900.


References for fibromyalgia:


  • Vas J, Modesto M, Aguilar I, Santos-Rey K, Benítez-Parejo N, Rivas-Ruiz F. Effects of acupuncture on patients with fibromyalgia: study protocol of a multicentre randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2011;12:59. doi :10.1186/1745-6215-12-59.
  • Deare JC, Zheng Z, Xue CC, et al. Acupuncture for treating fibromyalgia. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. 2013;5:CD007070.
    doi :10.1002/14651858.CD007070.pub2.
  • Itoh K, Kitakoji H. Effects of acupuncture to treat fibromyalgia: A preliminary randomised controlled trial. Chinese Medicine. 2010;5:11. doi :10.1186/1749-8546-5-11.
  • Improvement in Fibromyalgia Symptoms With Acupuncture: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial Martin, David P. et al. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Volume 81 , Issue 6 , 749 – 757
  • Teresa Clarke, MD. Treatment of fibromyalgia with acupuncture and counseling. BCMJ, Vol. 46, No. 1, January, February, 2004, page(s) 21-23 — Articles.
  • Smith B, Peterson K, Fu R, et al. Drug Class Review: Drugs for Fibromyalgia: Final Original Report [Internet]. Portland (OR): Oregon Health & Science University; 2011 Apr. Appendix A, The American College of Rheumatology 1990 criteria for the classification of fibromyalgia.Available from: