Tags: integrative medicine

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?.

Acupuncture Effective for Post-Surgical pain

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?

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!