What are the Pros and Cons of Acupuncture for Neuralgia?

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  • Written By: Solomon Branch
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2019
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The use of acupuncture for neuralgia has both pros and cons. The benefits include that it is effective, safe and easy to have done. The drawbacks are that it can be costly, the results can be inconsistent, it might take several treatments for results to be seen and that it can be a painful or uncomfortable experience for some people.

Acupuncture is the use of very thin needles, called filiform needles, thath are inserted into specific points on the body. These points stimulate the body to achieve balance of what the Chinese call qi, pronounced "chee." Qi is the subtle energy that practitioners of acupuncture say flows through the body. They also say that when one's qi is out of balance, the result is pain or disease. The World Health Organization has approved the use of acupuncture for many diseases and maladies, including the use of acupuncture for neuralgia.

Neuralgia is a sharp pain of the nerves that occurs along a nerve pathway or in a group of nerves. It is caused by irritation of the nerve or by damage to its structure. Although there are many causes of neuralgia, for example arthritis or infection, more often than not the cause is unknown.


Acupuncture has been proved to be effective for neuralgia, particularly for the most common type of neuralgia called trigeminal neuralgia. It is named for the trigeminal nerve, which runs along the side of the head and around the cheek area. Unlike some surgery or drugs that can be used for neuralgia, acupuncture for neuralgia has very little risk involved and practically no side effects.

When one uses acupuncture for neuralgia, it takes little time to get a treatment, usually about an hour at most. It does not require recovery time like surgery would. The patient does not have to continually take a medication either.

Except in countries where acupuncture is very common, the treatments can be relatively expensive. If more than one treatment a week, or even one treatment each week, is necessary, it can be cost prohibitive for some. Using acupuncture for neuralgia can be effective for certain areas of the body, but when the nerve is located deep within the body or is otherwise hard to access with a needle, it might not be as effective.

It can take only one treatment of acupuncture for neuralgia to make a difference in pain level, but it sometimes does not provide complete relief. Also, it can take several sessions of acupuncture to make a difference in the way the patient feels. For someone in a lot of pain, this might not be the quickest solution.

Acupuncture is generally painless, but it can be trying for some people, especially those who are sensitive to touch or pain. There also is the slight risk of a practitioner being inexperienced and accidentally hitting a nerve. If the nerve is already damaged, this obviously would not be desirable.


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Post 3

The only major downside of acupuncture is the cost. It took six acupuncture sessions for me to start experiencing pain relief. I quit after ten sessions because I just couldn't pay for any more.

Post 2

@SarahGen-- I go for a Chinese acupuncture session once a week to manage my neuralgia pain. It's not painful at all.

Yes, needles are used but they are as thick as a strand of hair so you won't even feel them. If at any point a needle causes pain, you can tell the acupuncture practitioner to remove it and they will. Acupuncture is not a painful treatment and there are no side effects.

And it works great for neuralgia pain. Acupuncture causes the brain to release endorphins and endorphins work as a pain reliever. I highly recommend it to those with neuralgia.

Post 1

I want to try acupuncture treatment for my neuralgia pain but I have some anxiety about it. The thought of a bunch of needles being inserted into my skin isn't very pleasant.

Has anyone tried acupuncture for neuralgia? Was it painful? Would you recommend it to others?

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