Lumbar disc herniation is one of the most common diseases and contributors to lower back pain and extremity pain in the United States. Treatment of lower disc herniation is controversial and highly debated in the medical community with recommendations such as opioids, physiotherapy, surgery or simple bed rest. These treatment options seem somehow effective but evidence on their long-term success in patients is very limited.
Researchers from the University of Shanghai conducted a clinical study with the purpose of testing the effectiveness of a new treatment method for lumbar disc herniation: acupoint injections. The study selected 120 patients suffering from lumbar disc herniation and randomly assigned them into either the treatment group or the control group. The patients assigned to the control group were treated with acupuncture for 30 minutes, every other day for a period of 3 weeks. Patients assigned to the treatment group received acupoint injections with 1ml of methylcobalamin (vitamin B12) every other day for 3 weeks on the same spots where the acupuncture needles were inserted in the control group patients. The results of the study showed that 86.67% of patients in the treatment group reported significant relief of pain and other lumbar disc herniation symptoms compared to 53.33% on the control group. It is also important to notice that no patient in the study reported feeling side effects from the treatments. This study as well as others on this subject strongly support the idea of using acupoint injections as treatment options for lumbar disc herniation. Although more evidence on the long-term effectiveness of lumbar disc herniation treatments is needed, the future of the disease seems bright! For more information about vitamin B12 injections and/or acupuncture, please visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center.
Jiangyoug Li and Hongyuan Lin. Shanxi Journal of TCM (Shan Xi Zhong Yi). 2017, 33:11. 34-35
Multiple studies have strongly suggested that acupuncture can be an excellent option to treat different types of pain. A recent study conducted by researchers from Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine quantified the curative effect of warm needle acupuncture using micro-CT (computed tomography). The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating knee osteoarthritis. Knee osteoarthritis is characterized by degeneration of articular cartilage, intra-articular inflammation with synovitis, and remodeling of periarticular and sub-chondral bone. Knee osteoarthritis is a major cause of pain and disability and is also one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders in the United States.
In this randomized study, 40 experimental rats were divided into 4 groups: a control group (n=10), a knee osteoarthritis model group (n=10), a medication group (n=10), and a warm needle acupuncture group (n=10). With the exception of the control group, the other three groups underwent surgery to create a knee osteoarthritis model. The medication group received intragastric administration of meloxicam, once per day, for 20 consecutive days. Meloxicam is an NSAID used to treat pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. The warm needle acupuncture group was treated with acupuncture and moxibustion at bilateral Xiyan (ST35 Dubi and Neixiyan), once per day, for 20 consecutive days. The knee osteoarthritis model group did not receive any treatment. The researchers conclude that acupuncture with moxibustion is effective for the alleviation of knee osteoarthritis. In this study, the researchers note that “In the early stages of knee osteoarthritis, warm needle acupuncture not only relieves pain, but also accelerates bone tissue repair.” The researchers conclude that “warm needle acupuncture is safe and effective for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis.” In addition, warm needle acupuncture outperforms meloxicam. For more information about treatment for knee osteoarthritis, please visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center.
Have you or any of your loved ones ever been involved in a car accident? Are you familiar with the health repercussions following a car collision? One of the most common issues that develop after a car accident is known as “whiplash associated disorder.” Whiplash associated disorder is a post-concussion syndrome that manifests in a range of symptoms following neck injury and that can be present for many years following the accident. A clinical case study conducted by Dr. Theresa Lee, member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society, found that acupuncture orwas an extremely successful treatment option for a patient suffering from Whiplash associated disorder symptoms for over two decades.
Dr. Lee’s patient was involved in a car accident while she was pregnant with her youngest son. After suffering a car accident that lead her to develop whiplash associated disorder and struggling for over 23 years post-accident with the detrimental and debilitating health symptoms, acupuncture provided the relief she was desperately needing. Due to the pregnancy, proper diagnostic imaging was not performed in order to protect the fetus from exposure to radiation. Since imaging wasn’t performed on this patient, the neck injury she suffered from the accident wasn’t correctly identified and she was sent home with a prescription of pain killers. On the years following the accident, Dr. Lee’s patient suffered from severe headaches and chronic pain in her upper body, back and neck. The patient tried multiple treatment options and none of them yielded the results that she was looking for until she was treated with acupuncture. After the first acupuncture treatment the patient stopped having headaches and felt emotionally relieved despite the continuation of her back pain. After the fourth treatment, the trigger points that the patient had on her neck area due to the accident disappeared. After the sixth treatment, the patient no longer reported bodily pain or discomfort. The results of this case study suggest that acupuncture could be a successful treatment option for patients suffering from whiplash associated disorder and other post- car accident symptoms. For more information about acupuncture and whiplash associated symptoms, please visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or Seattle Car Accident Help.
Filed under Acupuncture, Back pain, Chronic pain, Cupping, Headache, knee pain, Neck pain, osteoarthritis, Pain relief, Shoulder pain, TMJ
Did you know that acupuncture can be an extremely beneficial treatment against allergies? We wanted to share with you that acupuncture can be an effective treatment option for patients suffering from seasonal allergies and allergic rhinitis. A study conducted by researchers on Charité, University of Berlin, found that patients receiving acupuncture experienced a significant decrease of allergic rhinitis symptoms and needed less allergy medications than patients that were not receiving acupuncture. The researchers recruited 414 patients for this clinical study that lasted 8 weeks. All patients had seasonal allergic rhinitis for at least two years prior to the study. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups, the true acupuncture group or the sham (placebo) acupuncture group. The patients did not know whether they received real or sham acupuncture.
Patients in the acupuncture group used antihistamines, a popular generic allergy drug, 8.92 days on average during the intervention period. Sham acupuncture group patients used antihistamines for an average of 13.41 days. The true acupuncture patients did not increase use of drugs from onset to the peak of pollen season. Patients in the control group increased antihistamine consumption. Researchers also found that seasonal allergic rhinitis symptoms decreased significantly in the acupuncture group compared with the other study group. Researchers concluded that patients receiving acupuncture had less drug intake and less symptoms than patients in the sham acupuncture control group. Modern research extensively supports the use of acupuncture for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of receiving acupuncture, please visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center and give us a call!
There have been extensive studies conducted on acupuncture and its benefits, especially for back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, headaches, and other forms of chronic pain. A clinical study conducted by RMIT University Biomedical Department in Melbourne, Australia, found that acupuncture was as effective as other pain medicine in providing long-term relief for patients who came to the emergency room in considerable pain. This study used four different hospital emergency departments across the country. For the study, patients were divided in groups depending on their different pain levels. Patients who identified their level of pain as at least 4 on a 10-point scale randomly received one of three types of treatment: acupuncture alone, acupuncture plus pharmacotherapy or pharmacotherapy alone. After 48 hours of treatment, 82.8% of patients who received acupuncture alone found their treatment very helpful and reported that they would probably repeat it, compared with 80.8 % in the combined group, and 78.2 % in the pharmacotherapy-only group. Results show that acupuncture is a viable alternative and would be especially beneficial for patients who are unable to take standard pain-relieving drugs because of other medical conditions such as allergic reactions to the drugs or even opioid addictions.
But what exactly is acupuncture? Acupuncture is a technique in which specific points on the body are stimulated by the insertion of very thin needles through your skin. Acupuncture is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine and it is increasingly becoming a popular practice in Western medicine as well. Acupuncture is also used for overall wellness, including stress and anxiety management. Research suggests that acupuncture not only helps manage plenty of pain conditions, but also helps treat symptoms such as nausea after chemotherapy treatment and respiratory disorders such as allergic rhinitis. You should know that acupuncture is considered a safe practice when performed by an experienced, well-trained practitioner using sterile needles. If you would like to know more about acupuncture or any other of Dr. Lee’s services, please visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or give us a call and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.
Filed under Acupuncture, Back pain, Chronic pain, Fatigue, Headache, knee pain, Neck pain, osteoarthritis, Pain relief, Shoulder pain, TMJ, Uncategorized
It is estimated that at least 17.5 million Americans suffer from depression. As a naturopath and acupuncturist, I am interested in staying on top of research studies and ensuring I can provide my patients with the most up-to-date information regarding non-prescription treatment options. There are some promising, recent studies showing how acupuncture can treat depression, anxiety, and stress.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) states that “evidence for the use of acupuncture to treat anxiety disorders is becoming stronger.” A study from the University of York in the UK recruited 755 people with moderate to severe depression. Seventy percent of the patients had been on anti-depressants and continued on them throughout the study. The study concluded that acupuncture had a strong, positive effect on depression by lowering the depression scale from an average of 16 out of 27 at the start of the study, to 9. The benefits lasted 3 months after treatment had concluded.
I’ve personally seen patients whose anxiety-induced rashes disappear in two treatments. I have also seen acupuncture significantly reduce anxiety and stress as well as improve depression. It’s important to note that most of these conditions require an initial treatment protocol of eight or more sessions. Once a significant improvement is reached, you can then move to a maintenance schedule. Acupuncture can’t always treat moderate or severe depression alone and you should consult your doctor before going off or reducing any medication. But, the evidence is clear: acupuncture can improve depression, anxiety, and stress.
For more information on how naturopathic medicine and acupuncture can help with anxiety, depression, and stress, please visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture or call Dr. Lee at 206-319-5322.
Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a syndrome characterized by pain persisting for more than 3 months following the resolution of shingles. Symptoms of PHN include central pain sensation, unpleasant sensation to touch, and itchiness along the distribution of the involved dermatome. Often times patients are prescribed with anti-viral medications at the initial outbreak of shingles and when the lesions resolved and PHN kicks in, many providers are left with prescribing more medications that may or may not be effective.
The conventional treatments for PHN, such as tricyclic antidepressants, antiepileptics, opioids, tramadol, lidocaine and capsaicin, which are probably effective to relieve some of the pain for a period of time. However, approximately 50% of patients may still not obtain satisfactory analgesia despite treatments with these medications.
Acupuncture, which has a history of more than 2000 years in the prevention and treatment of diseases, plays an important role in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Different kinds of acupuncture methods such as needling, electroacupuncture, and cupping are in use for the treatment of PHN in hospitals in China. In the past 5 years, acupuncture for treating PHN has been used in more than 137 studies. The benefit of the treatment group was reported between 84.1% and 97.5%.1 The clinical trials indicate that acupuncture could reduce pain and discomfort among most patients and also remove pain and discomfort among some patients.
Vitamin B12 has long known has a nerve food. In deprivation of vitamin B12, individuals can experience numbness and tingling. It is an excellent choice in alleviating symptoms of PHN. According to researches, the injection of methylcolbalamin (methyl vitamin B12) significantly reduced continuous pain, paroxysmal pain, and allodynia in the subacute herpetic neuralgia patients2. Thus, methyl B12 may be an alternative candidate for treating SHN.
Acupuncture and vitamin B12 and other naturopathic approaches should be considered at the onset of shingles to help minimize the occurrence or the severity of PHN.
- Yan, Z. J. Acupunct. Tuina. Sci. (2004) 2: 39. doi:10.1007/BF02848360
- Neural Plasticity. Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 424651, 6 pages