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04/01/2013 09:34 AM

Acupuncture for CRPS

jpcrps
jpcrps  
Posts: 1685
Senior Member
I'm an Advocate

How many of you use acupuncture for CRPS?

I am sure this topic has come up before, but I am curious to learn how many of our current members use acupuncture as a CAM (Complimentary Alternative Medicine) treatment?

I am attaching an article about acupuncture, what to expect during a treatment, and its use for CRPS.

There has been research done on acupuncture for CRPS, but my understanding is that it is inconclusive for pain reduction ~ certainly not a cure ~ but may provide relaxation benefits.

What do you think? You can read an article about it at:

http://voices.yahoo.com/shared/print.shtml? content_type=article&content_type_id=31094

and at:

http://voices.yahoo.com/shared/print.shtml? content_type=article&content_type_id=31094

If anyone has research articles they would like to share, bring 'em on! I can add them to the Resources Section.

Wishing everyone a low pain day!

Jenny

Post edited by: jpcrps, at: 04/01/2013 09:36 AM

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04/01/2013 09:46 AM
cfthb
cfthb  
Posts: 1022
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

I am 100% sold on acupuncture as an adjunct to "regular" treatments for CRPS. My acupuncturist has been able to do several things that Western medicine proved itself totally helpless in dealing with - things I had no idea that acupuncture was capable of.

My only input to those wishing to try acupuncture is to be sure to find an practitioner with long experience; I've had my best experiences with practitioners who were trained outside the US.

That doesn't mean that there aren't US-trained acupuncturists who are very good! From my and others' experiences, I'd just stay away from, for instance, a chiropractor who took a week seminar on acupuncture. It takes a long time to become a great practitioner, and the skill of the practitioner is the #1 variable in how successful acupuncture usually is.

The Library section of my web site has nearly 30 scientific articles on acupuncture. Here's a quick link right to the correct section:

http://www.thblack.com/links/RSD/library7.htm#Acupuncture

Howard


04/01/2013 09:30 PM
happylilly
happylilly  
Posts: 21
New Member

I think I'd be willing to try it even despite my insane fear of needles...at this point, I'm really willing to try anything. Well, except my moms crazy notion that Preparation H is going to be the hidden cure. (She even sent me two tubes. Yikes).

I'm just curious, do you feel the needles? I am totally a wuss.


04/02/2013 03:58 AM
dlmig
 
Posts: 4
New Member

I tryed acupuncture, I liked as it was relaxing,(could be more for the fact that it got me out and I enjoyed chating to the acupuncturist). But it had no effect on my pain- but isn't that the way with all the treatments, works for one but not others, which means I would encorage other to try.

happylilly, I was worried about it hurting too, but I could hardly feel the needles (couldnt feel most of them atall)to my suppries it was actively pleasent.

Best wishes

G


04/02/2013 08:27 PM
jpcrps
jpcrps  
Posts: 1685
Senior Member
I'm an Advocate

Hey everyone,

This is a great discussion and I hope others will join in. I know that acupuncture was studied as a potential "cure' for CRPS, which it is not, but I think it is a good Complimentary and Alternative method to deal with sleeping issues, stress issues, etc. So please keep the sharing going!

Howard,

If you have any articles which are not copyrighted and/or that you think would be a nice addition to the Resources section of this site, please let me know and I can add them to our "RSD Papers and Resources" section, or you can. I usually put a brief synopsis of the article in my own words, or copy the abstract, and then link to the page. (Thanks for all of the great info you contribute!)

Jenny


04/06/2013 10:54 PM
Dee98
Dee98  
Posts: 8
New Member

I have Central Sensitization, a very similar nerve condition to RSD/CRPS, only my symptoms show up as pain inside my wrists/hands and knees rather than irritation of the skin or burning sensations.

I tried acupuncture for a while, and I found that it did not really have an effect on my pain. There were days where my hands had been more painful and sensitive that day, and when the acupuncturist put the needles in my hands, shooting pain would start. I also have sleep issues, and did not find that it helped out too much, but it was pretty relaxing and stress relieving.


05/16/2013 06:59 PM
SloRian
SloRian  
Posts: 113
Member

Hi Jenny!

I was just going to start a thread on TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), which includes acupuncture, so I checked first for other threads on the subject and found this. I might end up starting a thread on TCM to discuss the other aspects, but I'll add in a bit on the acupuncture part.

My daughter is in remission now, but has a lot of pain still from side issues like plantar fasciitis, so we decided to try TCM. She just had her first session on Tuesday, and it went well. She is terrified of needles from all of the RSD treatments, but these are so tiny and don't hurt. It's Thursday now, and although she was very tired (which they said might happen), she had a definite improvement both Wednesday and today. They did reflexology along with the acupuncture, which I think actually helped more, but we'll take whatever improvements we can get!!

Great topic, and I've heard a lot of good about acupuncture, so I hope others will chime in with their experience and/or give it a try. Just check out references first Smile

** Sharon

Post edited by: SloRian, at: 05/16/2013 06:59 PM


05/16/2013 07:16 PM
cfthb
cfthb  
Posts: 1022
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

Hi Sharon -

I'm really glad your daughter has good results with acupuncture, and that she discovered that acupuncture needles actually do not hurt. I'm always amazed at people with CRPS - the most painful condition known - but who are afraid of the tiny, ultra-thin acu needles!

I'm totally sold on the efficacy of acupuncture. My acupuncturist can do things I had no idea acu could do. I've also found, after being treated by around a dozen acupuncturists in several different states, that the skill and especially experience of the practitioner is paramount.

I'm fortunate to have a true master acupuncturist, who was born and initially trained in S. Korea and whose father and grandfather were both practitioners. He's been practicing for about 35 years.

So, if someone wants to try acupuncture, I really recommend finding one with much experience. Also, speak to others who have been treated by the practitioner; you'll learn lots by doing that.

Howard


06/10/2013 09:06 PM
gfm
gfm  
Posts: 117
Member

Hi, this is my first post on the RSD page. Unfortunately I've been on the Lyme forum for a few years. So, I had Lyme, 4 years undiagnosed and untreated, 2 years of specialist treatment and 2 months before I was due to start back my PhD at university I fell downstairs - actually, I barely fell, I slipped down 3 stairs, but I tried to save myself with my arm and wrecked my shoulder - basically they told me if it wasn't for my skin I'd have torn my arm off. I have hyperflexible shoulders (ex-gymnast) and ended up needing to have surgery to reattach muscles to my scapula - I travelled from Scotland, UK, to Kentucky (in recovery, the nurse thought that was the drugs talking!) - via my parents who are currently in PA and my mum has been caring for me. One surgeon does scapular muscle reattachment surgery in the world (at the time I had it), he has done around 200 surgeries, so not much is known about it. I don't really fit the perfect RSD diagnosis because my injury was extreme and severe, but I have "RSD-type symptoms". 15 months post surgery (with an estimated 8-12 month recovery) I am having to face the fact that RSD NOW might be more relevant (I had a rheumatologist 6 months into that recovery period tell me I might just have pain forever.)

Anyway... acupuncture. I actually started a couple of weeks ago. My neighbour has a very interesting background (professionally) - he trained as an MD, decided he hated the system and went to China to train in acupuncture for 2 years. He doesn't practice western medicine anymore (but he has also said to me he does not believe in telling me to stop taking my pain medication, for example - it has a place, but it is not a cure).

I had a course of acupuncture in Scotland, for this injury (it took 7 months for proper diagnosis), done by a physiotherapist. There are many reasons I could call her an idiot so I won't go in to that, but it did not work, it exacerbated my pain and I would cry for the entire time (and that is NOT me, I have a good pain threshold... at least I used to). Eventually she told me she would refer me to a pain clinic because I needed to "deal with the emotional aspect of pain". I look forward to the day I can 'educate' her with my surgical report, detailing how my trapezius and rhomboids were entirely detached from my scapula.

I was therefore reluctant to try acupuncture again, although my neighbour said whenever I was ready to try it just to let him know. Last month I hit the 'nobody knows anything' wall and have thrown myself into several different things to try to find something that helps. My first sessions with him were very relaxing - my pain is all in my right shoulder/arm/hand so he does not go anywhere near those areas. He started by putting 2 needles in each foot. I can honestly say I am terrible at relaxing (I always had a fun art project, or exercise, to focus on to relax me from working) - this relaxed me more than I have EVER felt.

The needles pinch a little going in, but I wouldn't describe them as painful.

At the last session (and again tomorrow... I say with dread), he added about 10 more needles - mostly in my legs, but one in my left ('good') thumb. It was agony. Agony to the extent that all my focus was on that and distracted from my usual pain - I couldn't decide if that was good or not! Very strangely I felt like the burning fire was leaving my right hand and going out through my left. He basically told me afterwards that it ws a circulation point and because he was not going to aggravate my bad side, he had to 'pull out the bad energy, the pain through the other side' - it's very strange. My hand felt sore for a couple of hours afterwards, more like I'd been hit in the funny bone and had a weak arm though, not really painful - a bit bruised feeling. Nothing like my 'real' pain.

I've only had 3 sessions so far so I really don't feel I can comment that they are helping, but I do feel it is worth sticking with it.

The difference in his approach versus the National Health Service physio's approach (in Scotland) is substantial. Like she had basically been taught how to stick some needles in specific places, but my neighbour knows what is all means - how it works, the theory behind it, and has that interesting fusion of western medical knowledge meets eastern practice.

My one thing which was already said above, would be that if you are going to have acupunture, it has to be by someone who understands the body. Currently, I have no needles in my upper right quadrant. In Scotland, that's entirely where they ALL were (and there were 14 I think.... I have a photo I managed to take once).

Also, my neighbour says, if it is done properly where there is a real problem and it is teaching the body how to fix it, it can be painful - it is not lasting pain and it is not like my 'normal' pain. On the other hand, when I had it in Scotland I would cry the whole way through and halfway through she would come and twist the needles - I have no idea why.

I hope that is helpful for someone.


06/10/2013 09:12 PM
gfm
gfm  
Posts: 117
Member

Incidentally my favourite new thing I've tried is the gentle (dry) heated hydrotherapy massage table at my new chiropractor's office - I fell asleep on it, and I don't sleep - currently going on 34 hours of being awake, trying very hard to fall asleep. Not such a massive fan of the chiropractic adjustments I get first, but I am very badly aligned because of everything and while it is scream-out-loud-agony for a split second, it actually has really been helping.

Post edited by: gfm, at: 06/10/2013 09:15 PM

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