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When Jeff walked into my clinic, I already knew this was a bad case. Jeff had suffered severe neck injuries. Over the past 10 years, he had gone through 4 surgeries to address multiple disc problems in his neck. It had gotten so bad that Jeff can no longer turn his neck without blinding pain. “I can’t drive anymore. I can’t keep a job. I feel depressed and worthless all the time. I can’t support my family.” Jeff told me as he broke into tears.
I asked Jeff to show me how much he could move his neck. He turned his head approximately one centimetre and then his whole body shook from pain. He truly couldn’t move.
We started a course of acupuncture treatment. Over the next 6 weeks, Jeff recovered his full range of motion. His pain, completely gone except for a “twinge” sometimes in the morning which he describes as “a one or two on a scale of ten!” Jeff started working again. He drives. He provides for his family and he spends the weekends on the beach. He’s happy!
This case, like many others, is of someone who had already run the gauntlet of modern medical procedures. While our modern medicine is exceptional and continues to expand all the time, it does have its limits. Especially in the realm of chronic pain and chronic diseases, acupuncture and Chinese medicine provide an excellent and often more optimal treatment approach.
What is acupuncture?
By now most people know of or have heard of acupuncture. It’s a therapy dating back thousands of years and involves the strategic placement of needles in the body. It is designed to regulate physiological processes in the body to bring about health and healing. And really, that’s just a fancy way of saying that it gets your body to heal itself (as it is supposed to).
The popularity of acupuncture has been rapidly increasing. This is likely due to its high efficacy in the treatment of chronic disease conditions such as chronic pain, emotional conditions, digestive disorders and even more advanced neurological conditions. Currently, even medical doctors, nurses, physicians assistants, and many other medical providers are recommending acupuncture to their patients for the management of their chronic conditions.
This popularity has extended very far in the US and some of the country’s (and the world’s) top hospitals are utilizing acupuncture. These include the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and Johns Hopkins. Our military is also now employing acupuncturists for treating both our veterans and those actively in the armed services.
The research base for acupuncture is enormous! With more than 13,000 studies and more than 1,000 systematic reviews, it’s clear that acupuncture has been the subject of much interest. What’s really important is that this amount of data has given conclusive evidence of acupuncture’s efficacy. In a pair of major studies spanning more than 500,000 patients, it was found that acupuncture showed an efficacy between 76-93% in the treatment of pain conditions. 1, 2 Additionally, new research continues to be published showing the efficacy of acupuncture in a variety of conditions (mood disorders, oncology, respiratory conditions, heart disease, etc.). For more in-depth research, visit https://www.evidencebasedacupuncture.org/.
- Weidenhammer W, Streng A, Linde K, Hoppe A, Melchart D. Acupuncture for chronic pain within the research program of 10 German Health Insurance Funds–basic results from an observational study. Complementary therapies in medicine. 2007;15(4):238-46.
- American Specialty Health Incorporated Health Services Department. (2016). Acupuncture: Does Acupuncture Provided Within a Managed Care Setting Meet Patient Expectations and Quality Outcomes?, 1–12.