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Old 07-10-2003, 11:47 AM   #1
kensparrow
Dojo: Methuen Aikido
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acupuncture for injuries

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
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Old 07-10-2003, 11:53 AM   #2
rachmass
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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
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Old 07-10-2003, 11:53 AM   #3
BC
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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.

Robert Cronin
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Old 07-10-2003, 02:15 PM   #4
Nick P.
 
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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.

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Old 07-10-2003, 02:59 PM   #5
Larry Feldman
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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.
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Old 07-10-2003, 06:58 PM   #6
asiawide
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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
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Old 07-10-2003, 10:24 PM   #7
Kevin Wilbanks
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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...ce&s=books&st=*

Here's a descriptive link:

http://www.spine-health.com/topics/c...zie/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.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 07-10-2003 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 07-10-2003, 10:35 PM   #8
TheFallGuy
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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!!!!!!!!

I came
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Old 07-10-2003, 10:38 PM   #9
Pretoriano
 
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Smile

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
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Old 07-11-2003, 10:13 AM   #10
C. Emerson
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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
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Old 07-11-2003, 10:22 AM   #11
Jesse Lee
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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.

, can't find m s
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Old 07-14-2003, 09:25 AM   #12
kensparrow
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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...
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Old 07-14-2003, 09:47 AM   #13
Dave Miller
 
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Quote:
Robert Cronin (BC) wrote:
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.

DAVE

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Old 07-14-2003, 09:53 AM   #14
L. Camejo
 
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Quote:
Jesse Lee wrote:
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.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 07-14-2003, 09:54 AM   #15
Dave Miller
 
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Quote:
Jesse Lee wrote:
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?

DAVE

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Old 07-14-2003, 10:34 AM   #16
Jesse Lee
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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.

, can't find m s
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Old 07-14-2003, 11:53 AM   #17
kensparrow
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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.
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Old 07-14-2003, 12:14 PM   #18
Kevin Wilbanks
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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.
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Old 07-14-2003, 01:08 PM   #19
Dave Miller
 
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Quote:
Jesse Lee wrote:
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

If you're working too hard, you're doing it wrong.
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Old 07-14-2003, 01:14 PM   #20
Dave Miller
 
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Quote:
Ken Sparrow (kensparrow) wrote:
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

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Old 07-14-2003, 01:18 PM   #21
Dave Miller
 
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Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
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.

DAVE

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Old 07-14-2003, 03:18 PM   #22
Jesse Lee
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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

, can't find m s
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Old 07-14-2003, 03:30 PM   #23
Dave Miller
 
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Quote:
Jesse Lee wrote:
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?

Last edited by Dave Miller : 07-14-2003 at 03:39 PM.

DAVE

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Old 07-14-2003, 03:30 PM   #24
Janet Rosen
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Quote:
Chad Emerson (C. Emerson) wrote:
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
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Old 07-14-2003, 03:34 PM   #25
Janet Rosen
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Quote:
Jesse Lee wrote:
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....

Janet Rosen
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