New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Acupuncture?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I'm trying to determine if Jackson Hole is a hotbed of touchy-feelie new-age/old-age health scams or if this is happening elsewhere.

As some of you know, I recently had surgery for bone spurs on main joint of my big toe. In a completely unrelated (unfortunately) development, I've been experiencing quite a lot of occasional pain in my neck - and not just from reading PMTS/PSIA debates.

I saw the local neck doc recently and based on symptoms he had me undergo an MRI. Even I could tell in looking at the images that there's something way out of whack with my C-5 vertebra. The culprit is the same thing that caused my toe problem and an older knee problem - osteoarthritis. According to the doc and the radiologist, that vertebra is deteriorating and that's why I'm experiencing the pain. Essentially, I'm falling apart but that's a different topic.

So to finally get to the point, both my toe surgeon and the neck/back guy have each recommended that I undergo acupuncture. The neck guy said it may relieve symptoms and the toe woman said it may promote improved circulation and healing of the surgery incision.

There are at least 10 people in Jackson Hole (population around 10,000 people) who are practicing acupuncture. I've been to two sessions now and - placebo effect fully in play - I have to say that my neck was significantly better for several days after the treatment. That's another topic entirely - when you look at the needles they use and then they start poking those into your SPINE : (not exactly IN the spine, but pretty d#mn close), you start having very serious second thoughts.

Anyway, this acupuncturist seems to have made me feel better when I've been in pretty significant pain for about a month.

So the question;

Has anyone else here tried it? Good, bad, or indifferent results? Do you have any opinions on the subject one way or the other? Are there many acupuncture practices around where you live?

I don't know exactly what to make of it. My brain is easily influenced, so the relief I've experienced may be nothing more than that.

But still...

:
post #2 of 27
I've had acupuncture. It appeared to work for me and my back. Not sure of the medical community's opinion. I've heard all the glowing stuff about various treatments and take everything with a large rock sized grain of salt.
post #3 of 27
I believe that acupuncture, in the hands of a skilled acupuncturist(sp?), is very effective. How to choose a skilled acupuncturist is a question I can't answer, heck I can't even find a good ski instructor.
post #4 of 27
It works for my allergies, but did not work when i had a bout of sciatica. On the other hand it worked miracles for my husband's neck pain when he developed a bone spur on his spine and it helped him post-surgery when he had his laminectomy last summer. They use it for animals with great effect, so I don't think it's just a placebo effect. Our doctor speculates that it's kind of like slapping someone who's hysterical. The nerves have been violated by the arthritis or whatever and they can't stop firing and are ultra sensitive, or hysterical. The acupuncture breaks the circle and allows things to calm down. I don't know if this is how a practitioner would describe what's going on, but, hey, if it works.... who gives a fig?
post #5 of 27
I've had it a couple of times. What surprised me is it's lack of immediate benefit for an acute problem. My expectations were higher and apparently misplaced. It takes several sessions for real benefit to be noticed apparently. That gets costly.

I've had more luck with active release therapy from a good chiropractor. I've had my neck manipulated in the 'old' way and it feels much better. The ART sees the pressure applied to the nerve affecting the muscles in spasm and the then the vertebrae more 'guided' into proper alignment. The relief is instantaneous and effects are reasonably long lasting but a couple of sessions may be needed as it can tend to spasm and get pulled out of alignment again pretty easily at first.
post #6 of 27

Hawkeye does the legwork

http://www.pbs.org/saf/1210/segments/1210-4.htm

EDIT: view online available
post #7 of 27
Bob,

I forget where I ran across it, but it was a theory that accupuncturists, chiropractors, osteopaths, massage therapists (including rolfing) are all chasing the same beast albeit through different underlying theories and using different tools. Any of theses approaches may be great at relieving symptoms, but there are also quack and horror stories for each approach. Sometimes root causes can also be fixed, but many times the parts are simply worn out and not fixable or surgery or a lifestyle change is required to resolve the root cause.

The last science I saw on accupuncture was that it was definitely not a scam. It does produce measureable physical effects. Although the specific details of exactly how accupuncture works is not well understood, the high level concept of "pressure points" and their impact on circulation and pain is generally accepted science.

In your case, you have a specific goal that fits the capabilities of the treatment. If it's working (no matter why) - count your blessings! Although it is typical for "treatments" of this type to "wear off quickly" and require repeat visits, you should be looking for a long term trend of improvement and the ability to wean yourself from treatments over time.
post #8 of 27
Haven't tried it, but there have been several studies showing more than placebo benefits. Actually different from chiropractic care in this regard, though active release therapy, as noted above practiced by many chiropractors now under a variety of "brand names" including the A.R.T. one, strikes me as making sense for many things that may have a soft tissue origin.

Regarding your neck, osteoarthritis may be the actual culprit but a combo of muscle strengthening, stretching and other postural or soft tissue related interventions, acupunture included, might well help with symptoms from this for some time.
post #9 of 27
[quote=therusty]Bob,

I forget where I ran across it, but it was a theory that accupuncturists, chiropractors, osteopaths, massage therapists (including rolfing) are all chasing the same beast albeit through different underlying theories and using different tools. Any of theses approaches may be great at relieving symptoms, but there are also quack and horror stories for each approach. Sometimes root causes can also be fixed, but many times the parts are simply worn out and not fixable or surgery or a lifestyle change is required to resolve the root cause.

The last science I saw on accupuncture was that it was definitely not a scam. It does produce measureable physical effects. Although the specific details of exactly how accupuncture works is not well understood, the high level concept of "pressure points" and their impact on circulation and pain is generally accepted science.

In your case, you have a specific goal that fits the capabilities of the treatment. If it's working (no matter why) - count your blessings! Although it is typical for "treatments" of this type to "wear off quickly" and require repeat visits, you should be looking for a long term trend of improvement and the ability to wean yourself from treatments over time.[/quote]

I find it interesting that Westerners are always looking for quick fixes to aliments, conditions that took years, decades to flourish. We (Americans) have questionable habits and lifestyles that would kill a horse. We eat the wrong foods, get stressed out and think it OK, " I'm skiing tomorrow, I'll chill then" We move the wrong way whether its sitting or skiing. Blah blah. I'm preaching to the choir, I know. Most people that go to accuppuncturist wait til they've exhausted all standard approaches to getting better, or til the pain and frustration can no longer be endured. I speak from experience on this one.
Accupuncture works, homeopathy works, chiropratic works, resting works, meditation works. I've seen knees recover and avoid the knife with suppliments, Yoga and/or Tai Chi. I've seen people make better choices once they found relief and that's the key to better health.
Sure the farther one has taken the damage to the body the harder it is to come to a place of comfort and freedom of movement and pain. Can't blame those years on those wacky practitioners. New Age practitioners get sick too. They live in the same society we all do. Don't ya know.
Treatments "wear off" usually not always when the patient returns to the same lifestyle or attitude that brought them to the accupuncturist door in the first place. I've seen people who don't want to get well. Pain is a comfort to them, but I'm sure that's no one on these boards. We love the snow too much.
Ski and be Mary
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters
I saw the local neck doc recently and based on symptoms he had me undergo an MRI. Even I could tell in looking at the images that there's something way out of whack with my C-5 vertebra.
For the phantom pains, such as your toe, I don't see an issue with the needles. However, if the cause of your neck pain is something visible on an MRI, then sticking yourself with a skinny needle isn't going to realign your spinal column. Not to say it might not provide some temptrary relief. but so would recreatonal drugs : :

I'd be more tempted to look into manipulation or soething that will relieve the source of the pain. Otherwise, you're just putting a bandaid on a broken leg.
post #11 of 27
I have had acupuncture a few times over the years, including dealing with my arch cramping when I first started skiing. And it helped.

Also worked for my back and neck, acupressure as well.

My mother had it for pains in her hands and it worked.
post #12 of 27
The practice of acupuncture is rooted in ancient China. It is mentioned in the Huang-ti Nei-Ching (The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine), a comprehensive documentation of Traditional Chinese Medicine during the time of the Yellow Emperor, Huang-ti, who is said to have ruled from 2697 to 2595 B.C.

How do we know if it really works?:
post #13 of 27
Well I tried undergoing on this healing process.And it gave me good result.
carbonissimo,acupuncture is putting needles on significant part of your body.It depends on what part of your body it depends on what illness you have.
post #14 of 27
It really depends on your expectations. If you expect less pain, yes it works. If you expect more...
The theory of acupuncture states that you have to insert needles at precise locations. There has been a study in Germany where they compared correct acupuncture with random insertions of needles - the result random stabs were a bit more efective, so it seems it is a way to release emphetamines, but not a more complex healing process
post #15 of 27
re pain and spinal stuff...

IIRC - you cannot use x-rays to determine which people are the ones suffering back pain.... however you can find the bunch with the pain using muscle activation patterns (LM do you remember this study? - physio student was showing me stuff)...

I'd guess neck would be similar issues...

the summary i got from the physios was - lots of people have spinal wear and tear - not all have pain from same.... don't let people convince you that you have to have pain because the x-ray says so....
post #16 of 27
second story

I once had a great tactile therapist - he only worked on people he knew as he was actually a retired engineer in second career mode.... my brother was a canoe instructor and we knew him from other paddlers...

I had a patient that guzzled pain killers... every pharmacist tried to intervene - his doctor said his shoulder was trashed and nothing could be done besides large doses of painkillers... He could no longer lift arm much at all let alone play golf as he loved to do... In desperation I suggested he tried the tactile therapist to decrease painkillers.


Turns out patient got back to playing golf and was not needing much pain relief. BUT he still did not have full range of movement. Tactile therapist refers him to a physiotherapist(PhD and lecturer). Patient returns with a note to say "keep doing whatever is working. thsi patient should not theoretically have that range of movement!" Patient loved me! (boss hated me because we lost the painkiller sales!)

If it does no harm... why not try... if it diverts effort/expenses etc from finding more permanent solutions - maybe not.... sort of a swings and roundabouts problem
post #17 of 27
For me, this comes under the category of "can't hurt, might help". I've seen people who were able to avoid carpal tunnel surgery after acupuncture thratment. I've seen dogs with end stage osteoarthritis (having minimal relief with potent antiinflammatory drugs, including corticosteroids) have their lives extended (and more active!) after acupuncture treatment. When I was in veterinary school, I saw a cow have a standing C-section surgery (that means while awake, folks) using acupuncture as the sole anesthetic modality. I've also seen patients that had no benefit whatsoever. Probably like alot of things, it depends on your practitioner's skills and the degree of your deficit. Placebo effect? Maybe so, but if it works and doesn't cause harm, then so what.
post #18 of 27
Can't hurt?

There are many horror stories of quacks in the various professions doing damage to their patients instead of healing them. Even when seeing (cough) real doctors, you run similar risks (e.g. misdiagnosis, unforeseen complications). I believe that the risks are small enough to not worry if you do a minimal amount of research work to verify credentials, but expectations of can't hurt are naive.
post #19 of 27
My daughter underwent Acupuncture treatment yesterday for some kind of relief for a shoulder injury she incurred snowboarding with me.

She has had MRI's she has had a doc try his hand and physical therapy and nothing brought her some feeling of making progress in getting over this.
I called her yesterday to get her impression because I didn't like the idea of some quack sticking needles in her.
She was treated gently and was charged 80 for first treatment and it would be 60 for treatments thereafter . She was recomended to take three treatments.

She said the needles caused a surface sensation and felt little discomfort after the nnedles were inserted and noticed immediate improvement in her shoulder discomfort.

She thinks this can help many people who would like non surgical options for lessor but painful and lingering injuries


Dad is next.
I am going to try this for a shoulder injury that still bothers me from being struck by an out of control skier. I am thinking I might let them at my knees while I am at it.

When I finish my treatment i'll file a treatment report here.
post #20 of 27
Hi Bob-
Acupuncture is certainly not snake oil, but there are things that it appears to work for and things that it doesn't. Perhaps the positive best data are on nausea and vomiting- numerous double blind, sham-controlled studies and meta-analyses have shown it is very effective. It is also effective in some pain syndromes, particularly neuromuscular ones like trigger points. I am not aware of any good data in your situation, however if it is effective in relieving your symptoms it may not do anything for the root cause of the pain, which sounds like either cervical osteoarthritis or nerve impingement from osteophytes.

I think the most important thing in chosing to use acupuncture is to chose a practitioner who has medical training, or is affiliated with a physician, so that therapy can be chosen or advised from a rational viewpoint. Remember that when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail! I have several friends who are certified acupuncturists who are also anesthesiologists (one at Harvard, one at Yale) and their approach to using acupuncture is both innovative and science based as well as grounded in traditional acupuncture techniques (they were both extensively trained in acupuncture in China). I would be very skeptical of chiropractic (as I always am) since although they can be helpful, their approach is based on pseudoscience. Better to see an osteopathic physician (or the very rare chiropractor who recognizes what is real pathology and medicine and what is not) if it is determined that any manipulation is indicated.

It sounds like you may need some imaging studies, perhaps an MRI.

Get well soon and keep the streak alive. I really think that we have to ski together in October for my 24th TAY month! Can you make it to Loveland again?

David
post #21 of 27
FYI - There's a story about acupuncture in this Sunday's Parade magazine (Sunday paper insert). It is short and to the point.
post #22 of 27
to the point????? (was that on purpose?!)
post #23 of 27
Yes DP,

You nailed me on that one.
post #24 of 27
I have used it for several different reasons. It is very effective it's just not a one-time use cure. (NOTHING IS) It was extremely effective with relieving sciatic pain and to relax the muscles. Sciatic pain is due to a nerve being irritated or compressed so it won't cure it on its own! It's great stuff in the hands of a skilled practitioner. Find out what method (Chinese, korean, japanese) I prefer Chinese (TCM) where they went to school and how long in practice. PS- my neuro surgeon was big on it!
post #25 of 27
Japanese needles are thinner than Chinese needles (you can really feel the needles when the practitioner is using Chinese needles).
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty
Yes DP,

You nailed me on that one.
A sharp response (and to the point):
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by icanseeformiles(andmiles)
Japanese needles are thinner than Chinese needles (you can really feel the needles when the practitioner is using Chinese needles).
there are many different gauge needles with varied diameters and lengths, Some are so thin you don't even feel them going in. It really depends the site and channel, Gall Bladder and Kidney channels are the most painful. I have has 3" needles in my glutes before- no laughing! OK, a Little
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav: