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kensparrow
07-10-2003, 12:47 PM
Hi folks,

I apologize that this is only very tangentially related to aikido (and only then because my injury is affecting my training) but I was wondering if anyone had any experience with acupuncture. I herniated a disk in my back about 7 weeks ago and neither my regular doctor or the chiropractor have helped much. I don't even want to think about surgery so I'm hoping for an alternative solution. Again I'm sorry this has nothing to do with aikido but I don't know anyone personally who has actually tried acupuncture.

Thanks

rachmass
07-10-2003, 12:53 PM
Hi Ken,

My DO has used accupuncture on me very effectively. She used it for a torn rotator cuff that just would not heal, even with aggressive PT (I didn't want surgery). I was really pleased with the outcome.

best of luck,

Rachel

BC
07-10-2003, 12:53 PM
I could be wrong, but I think that herniated disks will not heal by themselves. Everyone I know who has had them basically dealt with them for as long as they could until surgery was finally performed to close up the hernia.

I would think that therapies such as acupuncture might help to alleviate the discomfort, but not heal the injury. IMHO.

Nick P.
07-10-2003, 03:15 PM
Ken,

Years ago as a teenager I injured my ankle (while studying TKD). Almost a full year of pain and several types of treatments couldn't fix it.

Three one-hour sessions did the trick. Never been a problem since. In fact I wonder why I didn't think of it for my messed-up vertebrae (sp?) that I got while being koshi-naged' almost 2 years ago. If it flares up again I will go the acupuncture route right away.

Larry Feldman
07-10-2003, 03:59 PM
One of my teachers had success with accupuncture, it didn't help my back trouble.

Some advice from the Chinese accupuncturist who worked on me.......

They should be Chinese, or read it, since all the literature is in Chinese.

They should use needles of varying length.

They should not use more than about 5 needles.

It should not take more than 3-4 visits to do whatever good it can do to help you. His policy was that if he didn't fix you in 4 visits the 5th was free.

Do WHATEVER you can to avoid surgery.

asiawide
07-10-2003, 07:58 PM
Practically acupunture works well for something like indigestion problem. It's also known or believed that acupunture is good for sprained ankles. But I bet it's too dangerous to treat your back bone with the needles. :)

And, AFAIK, by the eastern medical, there's no way to diagonsis 'disk'. Instead there may be other way to explain why your back hurts.

Jaemin

Kevin Wilbanks
07-10-2003, 11:24 PM
Search around for a physical therapist who is trained in the methods developed by a physical therapist from New Zealand named Robin Mckenzie. He developed a program of self-treatment exercises, usually called "The Mckenzie Method". Basically, it involves some fairly extreme spinal extension exercises designed to forcibly squeeze the herniated disc back into shape. It would be best to do these under the supervision of a therapist, but there are also DIY books. I have one called "Treat Your Own Back": http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0959774661/ref=pd_bxgy_text_1/103-4872849-7467044?v=glance&s=books&st=*

Here's a descriptive link:

http://www.spine-health.com/topics/conserv/mckenzie/mck01.html

His methods are not universally accepted by any means, but they do work for some, and have helped some people avoid surgery. I don't think it would hurt to try. I tried it for a while when I had a back problem, but it was the wrong treatment for my problem. The only adverse effect I'm aware of was temporary soreness in the disc that got unnecessarily squeezed.

Personally, I can't see how doing something subtle to the nervous system with needle stimulus is going to magically get a herniated disc back into shape, whereas squeezing the bejeezus out of it in the opposite way as the stress that caused the wall on that side to get overstretched, weak and herniated makes some potential sense to me. If it works, long-term maintenance will require ongoing exercises and careful transformation of postural habits, but I think it would be worth the trouble.

TheFallGuy
07-10-2003, 11:35 PM
My chiropracter also does acupuncture. I've been very pleased with the results. I'm not sure how it would work with a herniated disc, but talk to your acupuncturist. See if he has ever dealt with this type of problem and what type of results he has gotten. (Hopefully he will be honest to you.)

For my joints that are having a hard time (shoulder, knee). I've started using Glucosamine and Chondroitin. I talked to a pharmacist about what it does and what he thought of it. He was positive about it, he said the University of Utah had been doing some research in that area and it helps with joints, ligaments, sinovial fluid and healing of cartilage. (He mentioned that you need to have both Glucosamine and Chondroitin.) He mentioned an initial high dose for a month (approx 1500 mg) and then going to a lower dose for a while. He also thought that pulsing (high dose then low dose) would be a good option. (I'm not trying to sell it but I've heard a lot of good things about it. Plus my old man has used it to benefit his knees and shoulders, total shoulder replacement etc and he likes it.) Talk to your doctor about it.

Good luck with getting healed. Nothing sucks worse than having to sit aside and not be able to take ukemi while everyone else is practicing. Hope you heal soon!!!!!!!!

Pretoriano
07-10-2003, 11:38 PM
I could recomend you to do a search in low power laser therapy,

we work with two models one infrared aimed to traumatology, bone treatment, and another helium-neon to skin and under skin treatment, analgesisc, tisular regeneration and inmunologic sistem stimulation, that comes builded in laser and electrical point detection.

Ive seen many satified customers and no secondary effects shown, contraindications are minimum, and meets international normative.

Happy recovery,

Praetorian

C. Emerson
07-11-2003, 11:13 AM
Dude, If it's herniated, you need surgery and rest. Don't screw around with anything other then the best back specialist you can find. If this does not get fixed, you can forget about Aikido or anything else for that matter. Don't fool around with your back man!!!!

Chad

Jesse Lee
07-11-2003, 11:22 AM
Absolutely you should look into acupuncture. Also think about tui na (Chinese massage), Chinese herbs, and the full gamut of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

Acupuncture has a tremendous amount to offer people with back pain. Your acupuncturist will tell you it is important to rest and let natural healing occur. The acupuncture will accelerate that process and restore balance.

Having gotten fantastic results from several different Eastern and Western practitioners, IMHO you can ignore any advice about only going to Chinese practitioners. A more effective strategy would be to ask around and get a referral or two from folks in your community.

Try it out, man, what have you got to lose.

kensparrow
07-14-2003, 10:25 AM
Thanks for all your replies and encouragement. I think I'm going to give the accupuncture a shot. As most of you pointed out, I've got nothing to lose and quite frankly I'd rather get acupuncture in my eye than let someone anywhere near my spinal chord with a knife.

Now, does anyone have any advice for getting over a paralyzing fear of needles...;)

Dave Miller
07-14-2003, 10:47 AM
I could be wrong, but I think that herniated disks will not heal by themselves... I would think that therapies such as acupuncture might help to alleviate the discomfort, but not heal the injury. IMHO.I gotta agree 100%. Acupuncture will help to heal things that will in fact heal. However, a herniated disk will not heal without physical correction of the affected disk. No amount of altering blood flow and such will change that.

L. Camejo
07-14-2003, 10:53 AM
Absolutely you should look into acupuncture. Also think about tui na (Chinese massage), Chinese herbs, and the full gamut of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
I was thinking the same thing here. Stuff like acupressure, tui na and shiatsu may have more success on a herniated disk than the needles in my book. Have seen some great results myself as far as bone and joint injuries go, especially with the shiatsu and TCM.

The approach here will be holistic, dealing with dietary and other life changes to place the body in the best position for healing itself.

As said before, get references and ask as many questions as you need before letting anyone deal with your back. You don't want to risk more injury - surgery is risky as it is.

I think that a combination of skilled chinese medicine applied with shiatsu and some sort of manipulation therapy afterwards(chiropractic maybe) for the back can get things back to normal. Patience though will be a great asset :)

Hope things heal up soon.

L.C.:ai::ki:

Dave Miller
07-14-2003, 10:54 AM
Acupuncture has a tremendous amount to offer people with back pain. Your acupuncturist will tell you it is important to rest and let natural healing occur.Back pain? Back pain?!? Please!

A herniated disk is not simple "back pain." It is a serious problem with the disk itself. Can acupuncture help with the pain? Probably. Will varying the blood flow around the site help with getting the herniated disk to reduce? Absolutely not. It's just like a broken bone or a torn cartiledge. It is physical damage that will not heal properly without physical intervention. Just like acupuncture won't set a broken bone or re-attach a torn ACL, in the same way it won't reduce a herniated disk.

I'd also like to know what "natural healing" is supposed to occur in such a case? Do you realy think that a herniated disk will get better by simple bed rest and such?

Jesse Lee
07-14-2003, 11:34 AM
Dave, I don't really get the sense that you are asking a question, as opposed to spitting your already-formed opinion at me. But in case I am wrong, let me elaborate:

I recommended looking into acupuncture and several other modalities, including direct manipulation via tiu na, that could help. Help reduce pain, and help with realignment. I never dissed the idea of treatment via other modalities. And anyway, here you are shouting "Back Pain?!?," and then you concede that acupuncture can "probably" help with back pain. So why are you getting all worked up, again?

When an acupuncturist talks about "restoring balance" and "natural healing," it entails plenty more than just providing some new physical sensation. Treatment helps muscles relax where appropriate, which can effectuate a gentle shift and realignment of bones, sometimes over the course of a few days following the treatment. And if you get a bone set after breaking it, IMHO acupuncture treatments will increase your recovery rate from then on.

Direct and/or invasive treatment certainly has a role to play in some cases, not so much in other cases. Again my point to Ken is, try it out and see what it does for you.

kensparrow
07-14-2003, 12:53 PM
There seems to be a lot of contention over it's possible for a herniated disk to heal itself. Just FYI, my chiropractor told me that most of the time they will heal on their own without surgery if given time and rest. I realize that's just his opinion (I didn't ask for comprehensive data to support it) but his explaination of the whole injury/recovery process seemed sound. I'm just too impatient for passive recovery. Even if the things I'm doing don't really speed things up, at least I'll feel like I'm doing something.

Kevin Wilbanks
07-14-2003, 01:14 PM
Dave,

I think you're barking up the wrong tree with this group. What you (and I) point out about the physics and anatomy of the situation seems obvious enough... perhaps these people don't have much experience with physical materials, or any hands-on experience with cadavers. I wonder if they would expect herbs and subtle nerve/bloodflow techniques to reverse an inguinal hernia as well?

If you have any idea of the consistency of the wall and pulp of an intervertebral disc and the surrounding connective tissue, it's difficult to see how anything short of applying serious force or surgical intervention is going to do the job. The Mackenzie method is the only thing I've heard of besides surgery that has a theoretical chance at it.

Dave Miller
07-14-2003, 02:08 PM
I recommended looking into acupuncture and several other modalities, including direct manipulation via tiu na, that could help. Help reduce pain, and help with realignment. I never dissed the idea of treatment via other modalities. And anyway, here you are shouting "Back Pain?!?," and then you concede that acupuncture can "probably" help with back pain. So why are you getting all worked up, again?The difference between "back pain" and a herniated disk is comporable to the difference between "shin splints" and a broken tibia. Just because acupuncture can help with the pain (which I freely conceed) doesn't mean it can fix the actual problem, the damaged disk.

BTW, I wasn't intending to shout. I was just suprised that someone would equate something as serious as a herniated disk with "back pain."

Dave Miller
07-14-2003, 02:14 PM
There seems to be a lot of contention over it's possible for a herniated disk to heal itself. Just FYI, my chiropractor told me that most of the time they will heal on their own without surgery if given time and rest. I realize that's just his opinion (I didn't ask for comprehensive data to support it) but his explaination of the whole injury/recovery process seemed sound. I'm just too impatient for passive recovery. Even if the things I'm doing don't really speed things up, at least I'll feel like I'm doing something.While I know that chiropractic is quite useful in many instances (it is based on many of the same principles as acupuncture) the limits of the art are not often well understood by its practitioners. My mother had a chiropracter manipulate her neck and claim to heal her epilepsy. Of course, as soon as she stopped taking her meds, she had a huge outbreak of gran maul seizures. Before I believe that a herniated disk heals itself, I would definitely want to see the hard data for myself. (My father-in-law has been living with a herniated disk for some 30 years now with no sign of healing. He's just too stubborn to get it fixed.) The same for acupuncture healing a herniated disk. Show me the hard data, from a properly controled study, and then we can talk.

Dave Miller
07-14-2003, 02:18 PM
Dave,

I think you're barking up the wrong tree with this group. What you (and I) point out about the physics and anatomy of the situation seems obvious enough... perhaps these people don't have much experience with physical materials, or any hands-on experience with cadavers. I wonder if they would expect herbs and subtle nerve/bloodflow techniques to reverse an inguinal hernia as well?I hear ya. Wouldn't that be nice! :) Personally, I think that there are a significant number of folks today who just find it fashionable to reject all things Western: western medicine, science, christianity (even though that's mid-eastern in origin) etc. This smacks to me of this type of discussion.

Jesse Lee
07-14-2003, 04:18 PM
OK you two, perhaps you can try real hard to set aside your prejudices for a moment.

As I laboriously explained, I endorsed Ken trying acupuncture in the course of treating his herniated disk. I also endorsed TCM in general. I never said to give up on the Western invasive-style treatment; in fact I acknowledged that it has its proper place. I never rejected anything Western, I said try something Eastern. So there is no need to project your own hostility to new ideas onto me, I am just saying if Ken tries it he will probably speed his recovery.

Maybe you experts know everything about medicine and about the exact limits of TCM. But then again, maybe you are genuinely interested and open-minded re. scientific endorsement of acupuncture -- so here are a few things that might interest you (and Ken), from my first hit on a google search.

From BlueCross/BlueShield's website:

"Not only are disks durable, they're also very resilient. If you rest and take good care of your back, there's a good chance your disk will get better without medical treatment. According to a report from the Mayo Clinic, most herniated disks will start to heal within two to six weeks, and others manage to return to normal within six months.

Taking the strain off your back is the first step in the healing process....

Others find relief from acupuncture. A recent study in Sweden found that nearly half of patients given acupuncture had their pain ease significantly. Some Western researchers believe acupuncture works much like TENS, by helping your body release endorphins."

citing:

Ernst, E., et al. Acupuncture for Back Pain -- A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials, Archives of Intern Medicine 1998;158:2235-2241

Carlsson, C.P., et al. Acupuncture for chronic low back pain: a randomized placebo-controlled study with long-term follow-up. Clinical Journal of Pain 2001 Dec; 17 (4):296-305

Dave Miller
07-14-2003, 04:30 PM
OK you two, perhaps you can try real hard to set aside your prejudices for a moment.I appreciate what you're saying but the issue for me (I can't speak for Kevin but I suspect it's the same for him) is not prejudice but a healthy dose of skepticism. As a scientist my whole life, it goes with the territory.

BTW, thanks for the BC/BS reference. I may indeed have been mistaken. I'll have to look it up and see. However, keep in mind that if it were a herniated disk that would reduce itself, surgery would not be the course the Dr. would suggest (especially if he's with an HMO). I that case, the acupuncture would simply be providing the same supportive care as the Dr. would, just in a different way.

BTW, did you read the article cited in the reference?

Janet Rosen
07-14-2003, 04:30 PM
Dude, If it's herniated, you need surgery and rest.

Chad
Actually, based on research with MRIs there is no correlation between "herniated discs" and back pain. That is, in a study done with people who do and who don't have back pain, a lot of people who have never had any back pain or neuro problems DO have bulging discs, misalignments, etc. And many people with back pain and neuro problems do NOT have bulging discs. I do NOT have the url/reference for the study but it was a mainstream thing reported in places like JAMA, Medscape, etc some yrs back when MRIs made such a research study possible.

As for acupuncture, I do not see how it would be harmful. Not all folks respond to it, which may be indicative of variances in practitioners or who knows what, but it could theoretically be helpful in terms of pain relief and anti-inflammatory stuff and in terms of overall balancing in the body.

Janet Rosen
07-14-2003, 04:34 PM
From BlueCross/BlueShield's website:

"Not only are disks durable, they're also very resilient. If you rest and take good care of your back, there's a good chance your disk will get better without medical treatment.
People see the word "herniated" and flip out.

What is means is a bulging of the gelatinous disc material out where is oughtn't be. Makes sense to me that just as the soft matter in tendon sheathes can be inflamed, then resolve, or how a knee can swell up with edema, then resolve, that the disc material too might have such ability.

It is NOT directly analagous to an inguinal hernia, where there is often an actual tear in a muscle wall, and the intestine is migrating where it oughtn't. Bear in mind that many people live quite well with inguinal hernias....

Kevin Wilbanks
07-14-2003, 04:38 PM
OK you two, perhaps you can try real hard to set aside your prejudices for a moment.
Argumentative dirty trick #1: characterize your opponents' entire argument as "prejudices", without discussing the content at all.
So there is no need to project your own hostility to new ideas onto me, I am just saying if Ken tries it he will probably speed his recovery.
Dirty trick #2: project unsavory motives onto opponent, make unwarranted sweeping generalizations.
Maybe you experts know everything about medicine and about the exact limits of TCM.

Trick #3: refer to opponent using derisive sarcasm and coined perjoratives.
But then again, maybe you are genuinely interested and open-minded re. scientific endorsement of acupuncture -- so here are a few things that might interest you (and Ken), from my first hit on a google search.

From BlueCross/BlueShield's website:

"Not only are disks durable, they're also very resilient. If you rest and take good care of your back, there's a good chance your disk will get better without medical treatment. According to a report from the Mayo Clinic, most herniated disks will start to heal within two to six weeks, and others manage to return to normal within six months.

Taking the strain off your back is the first step in the healing process....

Others find relief from acupuncture. A recent study in Sweden found that nearly half of patients given acupuncture had their pain ease significantly. Some Western researchers believe acupuncture works much like TENS, by helping your body release endorphins."

citing:

Ernst, E., et al. Acupuncture for Back Pain -- A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials, Archives of Intern Medicine 1998;158:2235-2241

Carlsson, C.P., et al. Acupuncture for chronic low back pain: a randomized placebo-controlled study with long-term follow-up. Clinical Journal of Pain 2001 Dec; 17 (4):296-305
Trick #4: trot out research which is either tangential or irrelevant, but looks impressive. Dave already conceded that accupunture might help with pain relief. Both of us were arguing against it doing anything to repair the cause: the herniated disk itself. In context, the first paragraph of your citing implies that the disc might get better on its own, and that one might expect what? Equivalent results with accupunture? Equivalence with nothing doesn't sound like much of an endorsement.

If you'll review, the person in question is looking for something that works better than nothing plus pain relief.

Dave Miller
07-14-2003, 04:59 PM
People see the word "herniated" and flip out.

What is means is a bulging of the gelatinous disc material out where is oughtn't be. Makes sense to me that just as the soft matter in tendon sheathes can be inflamed, then resolve, or how a knee can swell up with edema, then resolve, that the disc material too might have such ability.

It is NOT directly analagous to an inguinal hernia, where there is often an actual tear in a muscle wall, and the intestine is migrating where it oughtn't. Bear in mind that many people live quite well with inguinal hernias....But there is indeed a difference between a disk that is simply swolen and "bulging" and a truly "herniated" disk. When a knee "swells up with edema, then resolves", it is because of extra fluid entering the liquid space inside the hinge of the knee. (This can, infact, be quite serious at times.) Unfortunately, the joints between your vertebrae are very different and contain no similar liquid space. Also, your analogy with a tendon fails because a vertebral disk is an entirely different kind of tissue, being cartilage and not tendon.

The result of the MRI studies you are speaking of is not to lessen the seriousness of herniated disks to be raise awareness of their prevalence, if I am remembering correctly.

Finally, I looked up and quickly read those two articles. Neither of them spoke specifically of herniated disks, just of "non-specific low back pain". In fact, one of the studies cited the inaffectiveness of such a nebulous term as "low back pain", especially in the context of such a study.

Again, as I have conceded, both studies concluded that acupuncture may indeed help relieve the pain but neither suggest that it will help heal a damaged disk.

Jesse Lee
07-14-2003, 05:03 PM
Kevin, LOL, c'mon man, you're killing me. Ken said his regular doc and his chiropractor have not helped much, and he was looking for an alternative solution. Dave asked for hard data, so I cited some. And I said Ken could expect accelerated healing from TCM, not equivalence-to-no-treatment.

You know what, I'm losing the patience to take you on point by point -- believe whatever you want about the limits of TCM. My personal experience with it over the years, and the testimony of plenty of peeps I know, has stretched my own preconceived notions of what it is good for and how well it works. That is all I want to offer here.

Dave, no, I did not look up those cited studies.

Feathers ... unruffling ... pulse ... slowing ... breath ... subsiding .... :freaky:

Dave Miller
07-14-2003, 05:22 PM
Dave, no, I did not look up those cited studies.Dude, you never cite articles unless you have read them to make sure they support what you're saying. In this case, they don't...

Jesse Lee
07-14-2003, 05:35 PM
Riiight. You know, I am going to have to go get acupuncture for high blood pressure, by the time I get off of THIS thread.

Dave Miller
07-14-2003, 05:41 PM
Riiight. You know, I am going to have to go get acupuncture for high blood pressure, by the time I get off of THIS thread.Actually, acupuncture would probably be a good choice for treating hypertension. ;)

Seriously, as a scientist, I never cite something without first reading it. It does tend to get one into rather embarassing trouble.

Erik
07-14-2003, 05:46 PM
As for acupuncture, I do not see how it would be harmful.

If it's a waste of money, and we are talking about acupuncture, then it seems to me that such would be harmful to one's wallet.

Dave Miller
07-14-2003, 05:51 PM
It's a waste of money for starters. It seems to me that could be deemed harmful to one's wallet. :)Actually, there's quite a bit of good, scientific support for acupuncture. It is indeed effective for many things, including pain management. However, there are definite limits to what it can do, which is all I have been arguing. It is certainly not worthless, IMHO, just not the panacea some make it out to be.

Janet Rosen
07-14-2003, 06:00 PM
I did some searching of the web and have found some info including references for those who would like to follow up on the research done on correlations between disc abnormalities found on mri and back pain.

the site is a workers comp/evidence based medicine site -- in other words, mainstream western medicine but with a bias towards cutting costs as opposed to cutting patients...

I went to http://www.emia.com.au/MedicalProviders/EvidenceBasedMedicine/afmm/ch9.html#table9.12

then went down the page to the sections on MRI to read tables and summaries; there is full list of references below the tables.

FWIW I will not be checking back on this thread due to the general incivility.

Jesse Lee
07-14-2003, 06:00 PM
Dave,

<light_sarcasm>
Until I read 50 peer-reviewed double-blind perfectly designed and administered studies that each irrefutably prove acupuncture's effectiveness for treating hypertension, I will NOT believe it is possible that several thousand years of empirical evidence could hold any weight whatsoever. Because phenomena can only exist once we have conducted tests that prove they exist.
</light_sarcasm>

Just kiddin.' Too bad you, Kevin, and me are spread across the country. We are about at the point where we all need to go out for a beer. Unless Kevin is mad at me for playing dirty debate tricks, o/c....

Erik
07-14-2003, 06:03 PM
Actually, there's quite a bit of good, scientific support for acupuncture. It is indeed effective for many things, including pain management. However, there are definite limits to what it can do, which is all I have been arguing. It is certainly not worthless, IMHO, just not the panacea some make it out to be.
I agree that there is some evidence regarding pain management but there is so much woo-woo around acupuncture that it's a long way from something I can take seriously.

http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/acu.html

Kevin Wilbanks
07-14-2003, 09:23 PM
Dave asked for hard data, so I cited some. And I said Ken could expect accelerated healing from TCM, not equivalence-to-no-treatment.
But the citations you made didn't say anything about accupuncture accelerating healing. The only beneficial effects of accupuncture treatment I gather to be well established via anything resembling science are temporary pain relief and easing of symptoms of addiction withdrawl. I've never heard of any study that has proven that accupuncture effects the cause of any ailment, only the symptoms. I'm not up on all the research, so there might be some, but I am not aware of it. Since the connection between poking tiny needles into the body and forcing protruding nucleus pulposus material back through a thick wall of incredibly strong cartilage is far from obvious, I'm going to need a reasonable explanation and/or proof.

Jesse Lee
07-15-2003, 11:38 AM
Kevin,

All digs aside, I really do hear what you are saying. I am no medical expert and no authority on the exact state of TCM research. Maybe a study does exist on this topic, but I'm not going to go look for it.

My understanding is that rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific study is only now starting to catch up with the bulk of traditional Eastern medicine. The whole discipline grew from thousands of years of empirical analysis, study, and observation, but not viathe controlled rigour of our modern facilities and scientific method.

A smattering of sites that I googled have lots of citations of all sorts of studies, which I will not cite here b/c I have not read them all ;) . But my understanding is, it is just crawling out of its early infancy, nowadays.

So if a battery of tests have not (yet?) proved the existence of the phenomenon to the satisfaction of the Western medical community, that does not mean the phenomenon does not exist. All you can conclude with 100% certainty is, we don't have a test that finds it.

Similarly, I believe in ki/chi, but it is a phenomenon that eludes clinical isolation and analysis.

Can acupuncture restore protruding nucleus pulposus material that popped through a thick wall of incredibly strong cartilage? Well I doubt it can squish it all back into place, but I don't know if that is the only way to fix the issue or if that is even what is wrong with Ken. Maybe that is his deal and maybe acupuncture should not be his sole remedy, in which case acupuncture could supplement his other approaches (which he says aren't working). That has been my point from the beginning.

Geez you'ld think none of us have jobs, with all the time we are dumping into this one.

Dave Miller
07-15-2003, 11:53 AM
My understanding is that rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific study is only now starting to catch up with the bulk of traditional Eastern medicine. The whole discipline grew from thousands of years of empirical analysis, study, and observation, but not viathe controlled rigour of our modern facilities and scientific method.But in most cases, they had no idea exactly what was happening inside the body. In many cases, they simply appealed to mystical explanations for the cures. A lot of what is happening today is that we are finding out exactly what many of these techniques actually do. For example, acupuncture stimulates nerves and causes changes in blood-flow to areas of the body. This is what promotes rapid healing, analgesia and pain relief. In this respect, it's like a drug-free form of "taking an aspirin". (I realize that this is probably an over-simplification but bear with me.)

I think that as we understand exactly what many of these techniques do to our bodies, we will better understand their best uses and limits. It is important to keep in mind that there is no panacea. One must always look at all their options and choose the treatment that is best, given their particular situation.

Jesse Lee
07-15-2003, 12:05 PM
I think that as we understand exactly what many of these techniques do to our bodies, we will better understand their best uses and limits. It is important to keep in mind that there is no panacea. One must always look at all their options and choose the treatment that is best, given their particular situation

At last, there is no more blue sky between us, as to that point anyway. Well said, could not agree more.

My jury is still out re. whether we have plumbed the depths of TCM; I expect that, while we have now detected nervous stimulation and altered blood flow, at a cellular level there is plenty more interaction than has so far been catalogued and replicated in a lab.

James Harraway
07-17-2003, 04:39 PM
Hi Ken;

Long time lurker, first time poster. I'm a doctor, and although its been a while since I did any orthopaedics (I'm training to be a genetic pathologist), I'll throw in my two cents:

1) Most 'herniated' discs do reduce without surgery, although this process can take several weeks to months. In the acute period (days after the injury) rest is a good idea, and until the pain resolves, activity that strains the back should be avoided

2) Surgery becomes an option if the problem doesnt resolve with conservative management OR if there are any increasing neurological symptoms (e.g. foot-drop i.e. weakness in lifting the foot, or bladder problems)

3) Physiotherapy can be useful (e.g. the Mackenzie method mentioned previously has its advocates), as does Maitland mobilisation. See a physiotherapist (I believe you call them physical therapists?)

4) Antiinflammatories can be useful for analgesia, but of course have side effects - discuss with your own doctor

5) As Janet says, a lot of studies have been done which show poor correllation between chronic back pain and various anatomical changes (e.g. spondylolisthesis, degenerative arthritis). HOWEVER, acute disc prolapse ('herniation'), which I presume your doctor diagnosed on your clinical history, is a different kettle of fish from chronic back pain. You can have anatomical changes with no pain, and chronic pain with no changes in the discs/joints etc, but acute onset of pain with other characteristics (location, radiation, worsening with movement etc) is caused (usually) by disc prolapse, and is treated (at least in New Zealand) as mentioned above.

6) Acupuncture might help with the pain (who knows?) but I think its fair to say it won't speed your recovery.

Good Luck, and I hope this helps

James Harraway