Despite being several thousand years old, acupuncture still remains a mystery to many healthcare professionals and members of the Jersey City community. I completely understand. Getting poked with needles in random places to get rid of pain seems counterintuitive. Ancient techniques like cupping and gua-sha can seem barbaric to those who are unfamiliar with Traditional Chinese Medicine. I watched the Olympics, I saw the purple circular cupping marks on Michael Phelps, and I agree that they look intimidating. Yet despite the mystery, more and more people are willing to 'give it a shot.' And because of this, more and more people are getting results.
Most people come to see me for pain. It could be new pain that they got over the weekend, old pain that they've had forever, or pain that despite everything western medicine has to offer just wont go away. People come in to my office skeptical and apprehensive. Within the first several visits those same people leave each acupuncture visit feeling less-stressed, more knowledgeable, and most importantly- with less or no pain.
To those who are on the fence about acupuncture, are really nervous, or just want more evidence, below is a summary of 3 great articles supporting its use.
PS. Keep in mind, if acupuncture didn't get great results, or if it caused more harm than good, it most definitely would not continue to be used for thousands of years.
1. Acupuncture for BACK PAIN
The American College of Physicians (ACP) recently published new clinical guidelines for the treatment of back pain. The new guidelines were published after an extensive review of the highest quality evidence available. The guidelines "strongly recommend" acupuncture as one of several non-pharmacologic treatment options for lower back pain (chronic, acute, and sub-acute). Their recommendations also included heat, massage, and spinal manipulation. Nitin S. Damle, MD, MS, MACP, president of the ACP states, "Physicians should avoid prescribing unnecessary tests and costly and potentially harmful drugs, especially narcotics, for these patients."
Qaseem, Amir, Timothy J. Wilt, Robert M. McLean, and Mary Ann Forciea. "Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of PhysiciansNoninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain." Annals of Internal Medicine (2017).
2. Acupuncture for NERVE INJURIES
A study published in Neural Regeneration Research concluded that acupuncture improved nerve injuries in upper and lower limbs. Using electromyographic nerve conduction tests 80% of participants had "an effective response" with the use of acupuncture or electroacupuncture. Nerve injuries include: radial nerve injury, ulnar nerve injury, median nerve injury, sciatic nerve injury, peroneal nerve injury, tibial nerve injury, and brachial plexus injuries.
Gh, He, Ruan Jw, Zeng Ys, X. Zhou, Y. Ding, and Zhou Gh. "Improvement in acupoint selection for acupuncture of nerves surrounding the injury site: electro-acupuncture with Governor vessel with local meridian acupoints." Neural Regeneration Research 10, no. 1 (2015): 128.
3. Acupuncture for FERTILITY
Acupuncture has been shown to produce significantly higher pregnancy rates when used to treat infertility. The use of acupuncture with clomiphene, a common fertility medication, produced more favorable results compared to the use of clomiphene with other medications (estradiol cypionate and dydrogesterone). In addition, acupuncture used with clomiphene decreased the amount of adverse effects caused by clomiphene.
Manheimer, Eric, Daniëlle van der Windt, Ke Cheng, Kristen Stafford, Jianping Liu, Jayne Tierney, Lixing Lao, Brian M. Berman, Patricia Langenberg, and Lex M. Bouter. "The effects of acupuncture on rates of clinical pregnancy among women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis." Human reproduction update (2013). University of Maryland.
Effects of Acupuncture on the Endometrium in Anovulatory Cases Treated by Clomiphene: A Clinical Observation. Journal of Taishan Medical College. 2016, 37(9):1029-1031.
If you live in Jersey City, Hoboken, or Hudson County and are struggling with pain or health issues, I recommend trying acupuncture. Send me an email if you have any questions or concerns.