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.
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
Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is a type of inflammation in the nose which occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens in the air. Signs and symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, red, itchy, and watery eyes, and swelling around the eyes. Many people with allergic rhinitis also have asthma, allergic conjunctivitis, or atopic dermatitis. Research shows that more than 3 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies every year.
Acupuncture is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine and is employed for a wide variety of conditions, including pain relief, asthma, migraines, and arthritis.
A study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, where a team of researchers designed a large trial to figure that out the effects of acupuncture to relieve hay fever. Scientists recruited people with allergies to grass and pollen and randomly assigned them to one of three groups. One group received 12 acupuncture treatments over eight weeks. Another was given sham acupuncture treatments equivalent to placebo, and a third group received no treatment. Each group had access to an antihistamine. After the given time, those in the acupuncture group showed greater improvements in symptoms, compared with the other two groups, and they used the antihistamine less frequently. Another study published in the journal Allergy also found that acupuncture treatments, given three times a week over four weeks, relieved allergy symptoms compared with a sham procedure. Overall, acupuncture can be a great method of relief and even resolution of allergy symptoms when combined with proper attention to the root cause, and continued care for one’s well being. A lot of factors may contribute to symptoms such as lifestyle, environment, diet, and constitution. Once stabilized with acupuncture and/or herbal medicine, allergy patients who are dedicated to self care and lifestyle changes see significant improvement of their symptoms and overall health.
For more information about acupuncture for allergies and other symptoms, please visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center.
Ann Intern Med. 2013;158(4):225-234.
Wolfberry, commonly known as goji berry, is a kind of robust vitality and energy of the plant. It is most suitable for treatment of fatigue. It can promote blood circulation, prevent atherosclerosis and liver fat accumulation.
Wolfberry contains a variety of vitamins, essential amino acids and fatty acids to promote the healthy body metabolism and to slow down aging. They include:
- 11 essential and 22 trace dietary minerals,
- 18 amino acids,
- 6 essential vitamins,
- 5 unsaturated fatty acids, including the essential fatty acids, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid,
- 5 carotenoids, including beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, lutein, lycopene and cryptoxanthin, a xanthophyll, and
- numerous phenolic pigments (phenols) associated with antioxidant properties.
Its efficacy covers a wide range, and is often used to treat fever, diabetes, cough and phlegm. Drinking tea made from the wolfberries, helps in treatment of physical deficiency, fatigue, constipation, insomnia, low blood pressure, anemia, various eye disease, hair loss, stomatitis, skin care and other effects. However, the body warming effect of wolfberry is quite strong warm. Therefore individuals with hypertension, high blood pressure or those who have impatient temperament should consult with an Oriental health care professionals prior to using wolfberry on a regular basis.
To enjoy the health benefits of wolfberry, try adding about 20 dried wolfberries to a cup of boiling water. Let tea steep for 8 minutes. The wolfberry tea will have a mild sweet taste so there is no need to add honey or sweetener. If you feel adventurous, you can also add wolfberries to soups and stews!
At any given moment, 20% of American population is experiencing some degree of lower back discomfort. Unfortunately, part of the problem is that 85% of the cases doctors have no idea what actually is causing the pain. In the absence of fail-safe medical or surgical solution to routine back pain, scores of alternative therapies have come to the fore.
In one of the biggest and most ambitious studies of its kind, published in 2009, in the Archives of Internal Medicine, acupuncture was found to improve back pain more than standard care that relied on medication and physical therapy. The rationale of why acupuncture works is because the therapeutic intervention may stimulate the release of feel-good endorphin neurochemicals. Moreover, with needling, the practitioner finds knots and light taps a thin needle, causing the contracted muscle fibers to twitch rapidly. The communication between muscle fibers and nervous system delivers a therapeutic release of the knots.
In at typical acupuncture treatment, the practitioner insets thin needles into points on the invisible paths called meridians. Your life force, or Qi, flows along these path, the needles correct qi imbalances and can improve back pain by boosting endorphins.