While I love it when I can help patients avoid surgery (really, it happens all the time, and it’s awesome!) sometimes they can’t. Surgery is sometimes very necessary and when that’s the case, I support patients with acupuncture, bodywork, internal and external herbs so they can enter and recover from surgery as smoothly as possible.

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can be extremely useful tools both pre and post surgery.  Beforehand we can ready the body by helping manage pain, promote normal sleep and digestive cycles and prepare the tissue for the upcoming surgery.  After surgery we can work to reduce swelling and pain and often decrease or discontinue pain medications that have unwanted side-effects – all of this helps the surgical trauma heal quickly and appropriately.

A recent study in Regional Analgesia and Pain Medicine found that acupuncture after a total knee replacement reduced the amount of pain patients were in as well as reducing the need for and amount of pain medications required.  Those in the acupuncture group also had fewer adverse reactions (nausea and vomiting) due to anesthesia.

acupuncture for post-op TKRResults: This study comprised 60 patients (30 in the study group and 30 in the control group). The fentanyl requirement via patient-controlled analgesia in the study group was lower [mean (SD), 620.7 (258.2) vs 868.6 (319.3) [mu]g; P = 0.002). The time to first request for fentanyl was longer in the study group. Pain intensity on a 100-mm visual analog scale was lower in the study group in the first 24 hours after the operation. The incidence of analgesia-related adverse effects of nausea and vomiting was lower in the study group. The success of blinding was not significantly different between the 2 groups (P = 0.731).

Conclusions: The data obtained from this clinical trial demonstrate the potential advantages of using acupuncture for postoperative pain control after total knee arthroplasty.
Acupuncture for Pain Relief After Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine.

If you or someone you know is preparing for or recently underwent surgery – we’d love to help – Give us a call or book an appointment online!  What questions do you have about pre or post-op acupuncture?