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
A 28-year-old male patient came in with the complaint of chronic abdominal pain and environmental allergies. A recent outbreak of eczema after consuming a burrito was also a concern. His symptoms included a chronic cough, dryness of skin, hot face, rosacea and increased anxiety. Before coming in, he had been taking an over the counter antihistamine to alleviate the symptoms which slightly improved the environmental allergies, but the dull and tight abdominal pain along with constipation and bloating was exacerbated possibly due to the antihistamine. Two major changes were advised to the patient including excluding foods which may be a cause of his food allergy response including garlic, ginger, quinoa, avocado, carrots, dairy and wheat according to his food sensitivity panel. Next was to take a natural antihistamine, not an over the counter, which included nettle in a tea or a capsule form along with vitamin C. During this visit a blood panel was taken which showed increased levels of triglycerides caused by carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and high fat foods. His thyroid function was low and had low levels of vitamin D. To address the low functioning thyroid, it is recommended to increase iodine intake through eating seafood and seaweed.
In his next appointment, a month later, he showed signs of allergy relief as well as improved digestion, but the abdominal pain lingered. We ordered an imaging ultrasound since the patient has a family history of gallbladder dysfunction, however, the patient showed normal results. Another month later, his allergies had resolved but the stomach pain continued so we started acupuncture monthly which seemed to help with stress and the pain. Fast forwarding 3 months from the original appointment, the patient ate a food item he knew he was intolerable to and the abdominal pain came back. Once we started regular weekly acupuncture on the patient, stress levels decreased, chronic and seasonal allergies subsided and the dryness of skin also went away.
For more information on acupuncture and food allergy testing, visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or call 206-319-5322
According to the National Institutes of Health, up to 80 percent of the general population in the United States will suffer from low back pain sometime during their lifetime. Low back pain is the second most frequent reason Americans visit a medical doctor for treatment. It is also, according to a widely publicized study, the most frequent reason that Americans visit a licensed acupuncturist for care.
A German study on chronic low back pain showed that acupuncture works twice as well as standard care (Haake et al 2007). Standard care is defined as using drugs and physical therapy.
This was a double blinded randomized, controlled trial conducted in Germany involving 340 outpatient practices, including 1162 patients aged 18 to 86 years with a history of chronic low back pain for an average of 8 years. Patients underwent ten 30 minute sessions, usually 2 sessions per week, of acupuncture according to principles of traditional Chinese medicine; or conventional therapy, a combination of drugs, physical therapy, and exercise.
The conclusion of the study was that chronic low back pain improved after acupuncture treatment for at least 6 months. The effectiveness of acupuncture was almost twice that of conventional therapy.
Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(17):1892-1898
If you suffer from back pain and live in Seattle, call us at 206-319-5322 today to set up your appointment for pain free health.
Chronic pain is an increasingly common ailment or condition and most often patients are suffering from lower back pain, general joint or arthritis pain or neck pain. It’s estimated that 26% of Americans suffer from chronic pain, compared to 7% that have diabetes, 6% with heart disease and less than 2% diagnosed with cancer. For those living with chronic pain, neck pain is the third most common cause, according to a survey conducted by the National Institute of Health Statistics.
There are many causes for neck pain. The Mayo Clinic has some great online resources and information about what can lead to neck pain, including muscle strains, worn joints, nerve compression, injuries and diseases.
Physicians and researchers have also been conducting studies to test the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating chronic neck pain. The results have been compelling. A 2001 study showed that acupuncture was effective in relieving neck pain and improving range of motion. In a 2004 study, the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating chronic neck pain was evaluated in 153 patients. Nearly 70% of those patients had a successful outcome from acupuncture, reporting an improvement in pain of at least 50%.
So, while having chronic neck pain can be…well, a pain in the neck, acupuncture can make a significant difference. A licensed acupuncturist or practitioner of TCM can help develop a plan that is customized for you and eases that ache.
In a recent study, Duke researchers found that acupuncture is more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches after reviewing the results of 31 studies. Of the studies comparing acupuncture to medication, the researchers found that 62 percent of the acupuncture patients reported headache relief compared to only 45 percent of people taking medication. Correct technique is important as well. Sham acupuncture, which was done on parts of the body not associated with the ancient Chinese principles, was less effective than traditional acupuncture.