Acupuncturist Questions Breast Cancer

Brachial plexopathy pain from radiation fibrosis- what will help?

I am a 2 year survivor of breast cancer, but was left with sever burning from the radiation. I have since had sever pain in my brachial plexus. It is hard as rock and feels like a cord is wrapping around my scapular. Would acupuncture or physical therapy help? I am in severe pain and can no longer lift my arm above my shoulder, I am looking to try anything to hep me get my life back.

35 Answers

Your are braving a very challenging and complex chronic pain. I would find a physiatrist pain specialist near you who can assist you. There are many options to help, it depends on your specific needs. A physiatrist who specializes in pain will know all the options, including acupuncture and physical therapy, and will have other options to choose from like a nerve block, etc. An integrative approach is best that gives you many choices and as much self-efficacy as possible.
Acupuncture is the best way for pain relief.

Dr. Hui (Grace) Gao LAc., TCMD
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Hi, acupuncture alongside your physical therapy may well help you situation. Acupuncturists use herbs alongside needles which may be beneficial in your case. Acupuncture will certainly improve your quality of life on other levels as well. Good luck, I hope this works
I would recommend that you see your Medical Doctor. He/She needs to reevaluate the burning, as it was causes by the radiation. Your MD needs to be made aware of these symptoms immediately. He/She may refer you to a neurologist and/or a dermatologist
It sounds like acupuncture should be able to help.
The treatment might be focusing on
1. pain relief by applying stimulation (might be a temporary relief) and
2. try to soften or improve the condition of the tissue that's triggering the nerve. (should give more of a long-term relief)

Orange Acupuncture
Interestingly, I also have suffered with radiation induced brachial plexopothy. After much research and trial and error I found a combination of things to give relief. Acupuncture, Frequency Specific Micro current, cranial sacral adjustments, healing the vagus nerve and autonomic nervous system, varied supplementation depending on the phase of healing, and actively working on central pain amplification {when your brain sabotages you by creating pain even when the tissue is healing}. Because the frequency specific Micro current helped so much, I became fully trained in that modality and use it extensively for pain patients with all sorts of "untreatable" pains. If you would like to speak with me directly, please call my office to set up a free consult. There is help for you.

Dr. Holly Hollister (PhD, NCCAOM, LAC)
Acupuncture is not a panacea and not everything responds well to treatment - in that, it is like any other medicine. There is no other way to know for sure if it will help you unless you try it and see what your response is. That being said, it is highly likely that acupuncture could help. I recommend you consult with an acupuncturist in person as it is difficult to give a diagnosis or prognosis via email.
Sorry for delayed reply. I understand you have pain in brachial plexus after radiation and difficulty in lifting you arm up. Acupuncture will be very helpful to reduce the muscle tightness and also detox from the radiation. In our clinic, we also support cancer patients to prevent the cancer re-appearing. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Thank you so much, wishes you best
Jonathan Fang

Acupuncture definitely can help with the type of pain you are experiencing as it functions to reduce pain and inflammation, relax and rejuvenate muscles, and regulate the nervous system. Another healing modality that may help you in this case is Myofascial Therapy. If you are in the SF Bay Area, I can also refer you to a myofascial therapy practitioner.

Best wishes for your healing,
During and after radiation treatment, there are lots of toxic accumulating inside the body. The toxic damages body and leads to many different diseases. Pain and burning sensation are some symptoms. In many cases, acupuncture can relief the symptoms. I also offer special detox treatment for chemotherapy. We can talk more when you have an appointment of consultation with me.
Yes Acupuncture and physical therapy together can help this condition and reduce pain and softer those scarred tissue from cancer treatment
Acupuncture and physical therapy both would help. Look for a physical therapist that specializes in breast cancer. You may have some cording that has taken place and need that to be worked out. Acupuncture in conjunction with physical therapy would be most effective.
I can't speak to physical therapy, as my expertise is acupuncture, but it has been found in research that acupuncture, and electroacupuncture to can relieve neuropathic pain following total brachial plexus avulsion (Zhou et al, 2014). It would make sense, through my experience, that the acupuncture would help open the blockage in the area so that you are able to return to your original range of motion and, more importantly, your life.

Zhou, J., Gu, Y., Zhang, S. and Tang, H. (2014). Electroacupuncture attenuates neuropathic pain after brachial plexus injury. Neural Regeneration Research, 9(14), p.1365.
Hi there, some acupuncture treatments can definitely ease that pain and make is possible for you to live a normal life. Still, we can not make any decision or promise until we see you in person. Please feel free to call us at (323) 913-0023 to make an appointment. Looking forward to seeing you.
I would start with physical therapy first.
I am using Korean acupuncture Su Jok, laser acupuncture, and homeopathy for lymphatic system support. This protocol is very succsessful.
Call 917-476-2931
Hi, yes. Acupuncture can help to relieve muscular or nerve pain, including brachial plexus area.
Acupuncture would help to recover from the damages done by other invasive treatment. Our body has a natural healing ability but that might be compromised by the overall condition of your body (bowel movement, digestion, sleep and other excess or deficient condition). You may try acupuncture who can focus on your whole body condition, not the one just focus on the local pain.
Hello, Yes, acupuncture will help will pain management. We are located in Pasadena California. Please call our office so we can help you schedule an appointment. (626) 466-5364
Sorry to hear you are in so much pain. The first step at my clinic is to do a postural assessment, then orthopedic tests and muscle testing to get a good diagnosis of the issue. From there acupuncture with basic corrective stretches and then corrective exercises.
Thank you for the question!
In my opinion, acupuncture will reduce your neck and should pain and increase ROM. But, everyone is different condition even if it's the same symptom. So, I am not sure how much I can help you until I see you. But I am sure I will do my best to help you. If you have any other questions, feel free to call me.
Hopefully you feel better soon.
Honestly, I'd recommend both acupuncture and physical therapy. I'd start with acupuncture to bring your pain levels down and increase range of motion in your shoulder. This should make PT more tolerable.
Brachial plexopathy occurs mainly due to problems in the bundle of nerves emerging between 5th cervical vertebrae and 1st thoracic vertebrae. Also, this symptom is often the result of radiation therapy as in your case. This often causes severe pain and many patients are suffering. So I can guess how much you suffer. In this case, Oriental Medicine can help you in two ways. One is to increase the immunity of the body to help cancer treatment, and the other is to control the pain itself. This allows muscles in painful area to circulate Qi and Blood normally, releasing the muscles and activating the nerve cells to allow the nerve cells to be activated, and then actively functioning. Our clinic has experiences treating many patients with pain, which not only alleviates pain through various methods, but also improves the strength of the body. It helps you to get well on cancer treatment. Oriental Medicine is a non-chemical and natural healing therapy, which can be of great help, especially for cancer patients. Thank you.
Yes! It can definitely help with that! it seems like your muscles are compromised in that area and the stagnation caused by the tight muscles is causing the nerves to activate. Thus, you are getting this burning pain. Hope that helps!
Brachial plexopathy is developed muscle fibrosis. It can be happened like neuropathy. If you never tried acupuncture yet, I would say you could try. Acupuncture helps may way to relieve pain. Even though it can not to be restore your muscle system same as before, acupuncture will help you reduce pain. Consult with Acupuncturist near you or contact 909 989 7000 my number. thanks
Acupuncture is known for pain management. I believe series of treatments would help with your symptoms. If you are interested, please call the office at 703-521-0644 to make an appointment.

Emily Chang
Acupuncture and possibly Chinese herbs could help clear your body of the heat toxins from the radiation. This could allow for more movement and less pain and burning sensation. As you know, everyone responds differently to any kind of treatment (western, eastern, home remedy). Having said that, I do believe that Chinese Medicine has much to offer that could help you.
Yes! Acupuncture can help!

Robert Lutz
Delayed injuries from radiation therapies are not uncommon but often hard
to treat. Depends on the depth of the radiation in the tissues and what
kind of tissues involved, the outcome could be debilitating to the patients
who received it. Acupuncture and cupping could help the pain and soften the
fibrosis to certain degree. But it also depends on the location and the
depth of the injuries. Hope this helps.
Thank you for contacting me and I am so sorry to hear about the pain you
are in. Are you local to Cherry Hill or Camden NJ?
Hello, sorry for your experience. To answer if acu and or PT would be helpful, the answer is yes. Bringing blood and oxygen to the area over time would help create more malleable tissue. Proper nutrition, hydration and consistent treatment would be your best bet.=20

Erika S. Gabriello MS L.Ac
Thank you for your question. A combination of acupuncture and physical therapy is generally the most successful in relieving this condition. Every case is different, please schedule an evaluation to determine the best course of treatment for you.
Forgive me for not being able to address you by name .
There is a very good possibility acupuncture can help you. It can assist in hydrating the stiff muscle tissue with blood and nutrients. Restoring mobility would be the result.
I personally have treated severe muscle pain and spasm over the course of 29 years.

Greg C. Bieg, Lic. Ac.
Physicians' Choice Acupuncture
T 619-698-8688
F 760-888-2057
This requires long term acupuncture and herbal pharmacology... best is 10 straight days of acupuncture... 30 days later, another 10 days...
I also give PT (my own protocol) in between.

Dr. Maye
Yes, both could be very helpful. Electro-stimulation acupuncture would be particularly helpful in your case as long as you do not have any contraindications such as epilepsy or a pace maker. I would recommend at least 6 treatments to get an idea as to its efficacy.