The Evidence for Acupuncture for Neck and Upper Back Pain
I am told that the ACOEM (American College of Occupational
and Environmental Medicine) Guidelines conclude acupuncture treatment
has no proven benefit for neck and upper back pain. Can you direct
me to counter-studies and citations? Thank you.
Start with the World Health Organization's 2002 review of randomized
controlled trials for acupuncture: http://www.who.int/medicines/library/trm/acupuncture/clinicreportsacupuncture.shtml
I don't recall if there are studies on that or not. Then search
on PubMed: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/, not only for neck
and upper back pain, but also look for citations on acupuncture's
effects on muscles and spasms in general.
Let me know what you find.
All the best!
I find that the studies about the effectiveness of acupuncture
on neck pain report that it shows comparative benefit in the short
term but no definitive long term benefit.
Thank you for your reply!
Ok, just remember that no proven benefit doesn't mean no benefit
in reality- many surgeries have never been studied against placebo,
and some of those that have, e.g. arthroscopic knee surgery, haven't
shown more than placebo effect. Though it doesn't rate nearly
as high as an RCT, acupuncture's thousands of years of anecdotal
evidence does count for something.
Also, researchers are accustomed to making statements about inconclusiveness-
this happens for drugs, surgeries, and other therapies, too. Those
not as familiar with research may read a more negative light into
the conclusions (or lack thereof) than are actually there. For
example, most people assume that all prescription drugs are proven
effective- some are effective less than 50% of the time. And in
the 1980's, the U.S. government found that 85% of Western medical
procedures had never been studied or proven effective. Evidently,
proven effectiveness is not the reason why we rely on most medical
All the best,
Yunnan Paiyao and Telangiectasia
I have hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia - in my family
it shows up as nose bleeds. My acupuncturist has suggested taking
Yunnan Paiyao. Is this a good idea? I take no other medications
and have no other comorbidities. If you could give me insight,
I would appreciate the information.
I don't hear anything there that would contraindicate yunnan
paiyao- it does stop bleeding. It would only be a problem when
there's a chance of overcoagulation, clots, stroke, etc., or if
there's a possible drug-herb interaction. But make sure to work
with your doctor and local herbalist.
Fibroids and Spotting
I'm a 39 year old woman and about 3 years ago I was having
problems with my menstrual cycle. I was having my cycle for as
long as 2 weeks then I'd be off for 2 then back on for 2 more.
I went to a gynecologist who put me on different pills, I had
ultrasound and a sonogram done. all they found was fibroid tumors
and she said everything else looked real good so she suggested
one of two options. I could opt for a partial hysterectomy or
I could try an endometrial ablasia. I did the ablasia surgery.
I did great until 2 months ago. I'm having my cycle now and its
been almost 2 weeks on. Blood flow is light and spotty but I'm
still on my cycle. after the surgery 3 days was the most I would
be on. My tubes are tied and have been for years. Along with my
cycle this time I am experiencing lower abdominal pain. It's not
a pain that's real bad and it feels like cramping to a certain
extent but pain relievers like tylenol and midol have no effect
on the pain. it doesn't hurt allt he time but when it does start
it's a nagging ache. What could be going on and what is your suggestion
about things I might consider or do in this situation.
1. One possibility you could explore with an acupuncturist who's
trained in Chinese herbal medicine would be blood stagnation,
a common cause of fibroids and bleeding outside your period.
2. Another possibility is
a. Spleen deficiency >> Spleen not controlling blood >>
b. Spleen deficiency >> dampness, contributing to fibroid
Understanding your patterns and how this all came about is the
key for your herbalist to choose herbs that will reduce your excesses,
boost your deficiencies, and not cause side effects. There are
formulas that can change your symptoms, but you'll have to see
a Chinese herbalist to be sure to get the right one.
Hyperthyroidism Drugs and Herbs
Can hyperthyroidism be successfully treated with herbs. I
have been on thyroid-suppressing medication on and off for many
years. I am currently taking a medication called Propylthiouricil,
and have taken Tapazole.
My doctor says I will eventually have to have my thyroid surgically
removed and take Synthroid or other Thyroid replacement.
Thanks, Linda Ward
Hyperthyroidism is usually autoimmune- in Chinese medicine this
is often related to what we call "heat." - inflammation,
etc. due to various underlying causes. If you see a well trained
herbalist, they'll go through all your symptoms, signs, history.
From all this, they diagnose your patterns of imbalance, then
get you the herbs that balance your patterns. That plus acupuncture
could normalize or at least balance to some degree your immune
system, which could prevent or slow down the thyroid failure your
doctor is referring to.