Tags: back pain

Pain: Considering Complementary Approaches (eBook) | NCCAM

Check out this free e-book download from the National Institutes of Health on considering complementary approaches to pain.

PainBookCoverTo download – follow this link and pick your preferred download format: Pain: Considering Complementary Approaches (eBook) | NCCAM.

NIH VideoCast – The acupuncture trials from Germany – What do they tell us about efficacy, effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and safety?

Have an hour? Check out what the NIH has to say about the acupuncture trials from Germany:

via NIH VideoCast – The acupuncture trials from Germany – What do they tell us about efficacy, effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and safety?.

Biological Implausibility Aside, Acupuncture Works – via The Atlantic

I get it – I absolutely get it when people are skeptical of acupuncture.  It seems a little bit crazy and out there.  Really, I do understand – my background is in neuroscience, I read scientific studies, I’ve even done a few, and I get it – you want to understand. I want to understand, too!  I **wish** I could list off all the physiological mechanisms at play, but I can’t – we don’t know them yet.  And I know this means that you may be less inclined to try acupuncture, and that’s fair. However, just because we don’t YET understand how it works doesn’t mean it doesn’t.  In my experience both as a patient and a practitioner – it works.  It works for a lot of people (not everyone, nothing does).   While I don’t need the studies to convince me of that, it’s certainly nice when some show up to illuminate a biological mechanism (did you see the Rutgers study on inflammation – so cool! ), or a study like the one below from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that looked at the results from 29 different studies and found that acupuncture is more effective than controls for several conditions. Let’s leave sham acupuncture and placebo for a later discussion – I have lots to say about it – but for now – I’ll leave you with this quote from The Atlantic article, and urge you to read the whole thing!

“A meta-analysis of 18,000 patientablets from 29 randomized controlled studies, it found that the treatment was more effective than controls in relieving back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache, and shoulder pain. Significantly, it also found that real acupuncture was more effective than shams.

Putting their results into context, the authors of the study explain that for a pain rating of 60 on a 100-point scale, follow-up scores decreased to around 43 for those had received no treatment, 35 for those who had received fake treatment, and 30 for those who received acupuncture. This translates into a 50 percent reduction in pain for the acupuncture patients, and only 30 and 42.5 percent reductions for the control and placebo groups, respectively.”
-via Biological Implausibility Aside, Acupuncture Works – The Atlantic.

Full study here: http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1357513#Abstract

Also, if you are someone who finds acupuncture effective but struggles when talking about it to skeptics – take a look at this wonderful article by Mel Hopper Koppelman : HOW TO WIN AN ARGUMENT WITH AN ACUPUNCTURE HATER.  I love her take on common objections to acupuncture and her well-referenced post!  Thanks, Mel!

Lumbar disc herniation treated with auricular acupuncture: why the(y) wait? — Tekin and Abut — Acupuncture in Medicine.

In this study auricular acupuncture was used to treat radiculopathic pain due to lumbar disc herniation.  The course of treatment was 20 min twice a week for a total of 7 weeks. According to the authors the “patient’s symptoms gradually attenuated and disappeared through the treatment course, leaving minimal hypoaesthesia on the S1 dermatome. No side effects were seen. At 3 months’ follow-up, she was free of any painful or sensory complaints and also reported increased quality of life.”

MRI images of herniated disc

A and B images are pre-treatment, C and D images are post-treatment

At the conclusion of treatment the authors also conducted a straight leg raise test (usually provocative for lumbar disc herniation related radiculopathy) and manual muscle testing for the right ankle and toes extensor muscle and found them to be normal.  Furthermore, they found a follow-up MRI showed a significant improvement in the herniated disc.

these were the points used to treat a lumbar disc herniation

these were the points used to treat a lumbar disc herniation

full text here:  Lumbar disc herniation treated with auricular acupuncture: why the(y) wait? — Tekin and Abut — Acupuncture in Medicine.