Can Acupuncture Help a Pinched Nerve?

Breeze Academy July 26, 2023
Acupuncture on woman's back and arms

A Pinched nerve is a fairly common condition where a nerve is compressed by the surrounding tissue. This causes pain, numbness and tingling for most people, but isn’t usually very serious and will often go away on its own in 4-6 weeks. However, during this time, many people turn to Western medicine to help relieve the pain and discomfort. But, what if there was a drug-free alternative with less side effects? 

So, can Acupuncture help a pinched nerve? Yes, experts agree that Acupuncture is an effective alternative treatment for pinched nerves, helping to improve blood circulation and relieve pain. It may also be an effective treatment for neuropathy and other conditions relating to nerve damage.

Read on to learn more about Acupuncture for pinched nerves and neuropathy with Breeze Academy.

Can Acupuncture Treat a Pinched Nerve?

Acupuncture may not necessarily be able to cure a fixed nerve, but research and observational evidence suggests that it could be a good alternative to medication for reducing the pain and discomfort associated with the condition. Likewise, early studies report that Acupuncture may be beneficial for more severe neuropathy.

Acupuncture for pinched nerves works in two ways; first, it helps to reduce pain by stimulating the nervous system and releasing pain-killing endorphins. Pain relief is a major benefit of Acupuncture and can be used to treat most pain conditions in a natural, drug-free and relatively risk-free manner.  

Secondly, Acupuncture increases blood flow to the affected area. This delivers essential oxygen and nutrients to the area, helping to speed up the healing of damaged tissues around the nerve. In more severe cases, such as neuropathy, this may also help to restore the nerve damage. 

Learn more about how Acupuncture benefits blood flow and circulation in our recent blog, Can Acupuncture Help Circulation in the Legs?, where we go into more detail about the phenomenon. 

How Effective is Acupuncture for Nerve Damage?

Acupuncture helps to improve blood flow and stimulate the nervous system. In turn, this effectively restimulates damaged nerve fibres. Experts also claim that Acupuncture may work to regenerate nerves.

A number of studies suggest that Acupuncture is an effective treatment for pinched nerve and more severe nerve damage. Some state that it is an effective alternative treatment to more traditional care and has fewer side effects. This is particularly beneficial for those that can’t or don’t want to use various medications. 

As an addition to Acupuncture, treatment may be more effective if Massage Therapy is used to relax and soothe the surrounding tissues. 

How Long Does Acupuncture for Neuropathy Take to Work?

There is limited advice available specific to Acupuncture for neuropathy, however a general rule of thumb is that most clients will need a minimum of 6-8 treatments before they begin to see the benefits. Some may experience benefits, such as reduced pain and discomfort, after just 1 or 2 sessions, but it’s important to understand that this is rarely enough to receive long-term benefits.

After the initial 6-8 sessions, the practitioner may then reduce the frequency of treatment or recommend it intermittently as maintenance. This could be weekly, fortnightly, monthly or longer depending on the condition.

Learn more about how often clients should have acupuncture sessions, and how many sessions they will typically need in our recent blog.

What’s Better for a Pinched Nerve - Acupuncture or Chiropractic?

Whilst studies show that Acupuncture may be a great option for pinched nerve and neuropathy, Chiropractic may be just as effective. This is because the root cause of a pinched nerve tends to be a musculoskeletal issue, whether that be injury, poor posture, repetitive motion or an underlying condition.

Final Thoughts

Acupuncture will not necessarily cure a pinched nerve or neuropathy, but it can help to relieve their symptoms, including reduced pain and discomfort. There is limited research into Acupuncture for pinched nerves, however experts agree that Acupuncture is a good alternative to more traditional treatments such as painkillers and steroids. 

If you’re a healthcare professional interested in offering Acupuncture, take a look at our Acupuncture courses online today. 

Our foundation-level Acupuncture courses are available throughout the UK, giving you all the knowledge you need to safely and effectively practise Acupuncture. There are also a number of more advanced CPD Acupuncture courses available to take your skills to the next level. 

Take a look at our range of courses online today, or get in touch for more information.


What is a Pinched Nerve?

A pinched nerve is a compressed nerve. The surrounding tissues press on the nerve, causing pain, numbness and tingling in the affected area. Alternatively, it can also be caused by a herniated disk. Pinched nerve is a relatively common condition, affecting around 85 out of 100 adults and can occur throughout the body, but most commonly in:

  • The neck
  • The back
  • The lumbar region, causing pain in the back, hips, buttocks and legs
  • The hands or wrists
  • The spinal cord, causing pain in the neck, shoulder and arms

Will a Pinched Nerve Go Away on its Own?

In most cases, a pinched nerve will go away on its own, usually within 4-6 weeks. However, during this time, people tend to experience pain, numbness and/or a tingling sensation which can be treated with Western medication or alternative therapies such as Acupuncture and Chiropractic.

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