Find a local acupuncturist
To search by other criteria - name, town - click here
Latest posts are at the bottom of this page.
Use the filter buttons above to help find answers - click on the boxes
Q: My son had an accident 9 years ago he is 22 now he had a fusion on his c2 and a plate fitted. As a result of this he has limited movement with his neck and pain and headaches. He works in the ambulance call centre were he sits using a keyboard a lot. Would acupuncture help and if so whom would be the best in South Wales?
A great deal depends on the extent to which the pain and headaches are a direct consequence of the fusion and plate, and the extent to which the fusion and plate are causing a disruption of the flow of energy into the neck and head. If it is the former, then the very best that someone may be able to provide is some temporary relief. Acupuncture is used for pain relief by both traditional and western medical practitioners, and many Pain Clinics now feature this as a standard treatment option.
The only question mark in using acupuncture in this way is the extent to which the treatment relieves the pain and how sustainable the improvement is. This is often quite a difficult call for the practitioner to make. It can easily become a very expensive routine if treatment only buys limited relief and for a limited amount of time. Clearly many patients are quite happy to get any relief, but most responsible practitioners will ensure that if someone does choose to spend their money not so much on getting better but on not getting worse, they do so with a very clear understanding that this is what is going on.
However, as you can see from the information on the website and also from some of the other answers in this section, Chinese acupuncture theory is premised on a flow of energy called 'qi' whose balance, flow and quantity is largely responsible for the good functioning of the body mind and emotions. Any injury which blocks or damages this flow in what are called channels or meridians can create symptoms such as those your son suffers from, and acupuncture treatment can be used to restore flow and balance in the hope of reducing them. There may have been some disruption of the flow caused by the accident which treatment may be able to help. However, this assessment could only really be made face to face,and your best best is to see if a BAcC member local to you is happy to give up a small amount of time without charge, as most are, to see whether in their view acupuncture may be beneficial in this way.
We do not give individual recommendations for the simple reason that to join the BAcC practitioners have to meet exacting standards which means all are equally capable of dealing with whatever comes their way.
Q: I broke my ankle 5 years ago and have since had two lots of repeat surgery to correct it. The bone is now structurally strong, but i have a build up of scar tissue inside the ankle joint which is now causing pain when I exercise. Please could you let me know if acupuncture would be beneficial on reducing scar tissue that has built up over the past 5 years? My other option is more surgery to remove the scar tissue, but my surgeon and I are reluctant to do this if i can manage the pain in a less intrusive manner. I am a 28 year old female.
A: We would be reluctant to make any claims for the use of acupuncture treatment for the reduction or removal of scar tissue. There is very little reputable evidence to suggest that it would work, and some of the anecdotal evidence you may find on the internet is a little questionable.
However, scar tissue does have implications for someone's health within Chinese medicine. As you may have read from our website, the theories of Chinese acupuncture are based on the understanding of the body mind and emotions as a complex flow of energy called 'qi'. The distribution, balance and flow of this energy in what are called meridians or channels are what sustain us and keep us in good health. Scar tissue impacts on this flow in Chinese medicine theory as much as it impacts the physical health of an area in conventional medicine, and is especiually relevant in Chinese medicine because it is seen to impair flow. When this happens, the result is pain; a great many of the surface aches and pains which people experience often link to blockages or local stagnation, and the use of needles can often help to disperse this.
However, as with any system of medicine there are no guarantees, and while all of us have had experiences where treating alongside or across scar tissue has helped to reduce pains, we have also had as many occasions where the scarring, especially keloid tissue, has proved intractable to treatment and been a simple yet immovable source of continuing pain.
Our best advice to you is to seek a short face to face assessment with a BAcC member local to you. He or she will be able to see where the scarring lies and assess whether and to what extent this may be impacting on the flow of energy locally. If you did decide to have treatment we would recommend that you try as much as possible to set measurable outcomes for any change. Pains like this can often ebb and flow in the normal course of events, and whether it feels better or not can depend on when you are asked. It is helpful to establish if there are specific movements which generate or increase the discomfirt, because these can be tested to see whether the treatment is working.
Q: Can acupuncture help severe pain and swelling due to inflamed and torn posterior tibialis tendon? This resulted after an operation to remove navicular accessory bone 5 years ago. i have always had some chronic pain but now severe swelling and pain means I cannot work. My GP suggested normal pain killers / rest / physio / orthotics none of which gives me relief.
A: This is quite a difficult question to answer without sight of the specific problem. Generally speaking tendonitis is quite often treated by both traditional and western medical acupuncturists, and to good effect. Research of good quality is not that easy to come by because it is often individuated to specific kinds of tendon problems, such as rotator cuff injuries and specific sports injuries, and the studies are often small and methodologically flawed, as our factsheet on sports injuries demonstrates please click here
You can find occasional single case studies through google, such as this one
which seem to show that acupuncture has a role to play in tendonitis, but our difficulty lies in being able to determine exactly what is going on in your case. We can't tell from your description whether the problem arose as a direct consequence of something done during the operation, or whether the operation as a whole then put additional strain on the tendon, causing the rupture and swelling.
However, one of the great strengths of Chinese medicine is that successful treatment does not depend on establishing exactly what the pattern of causation is, but in correctly identifying how the flow of the body's energies have been affected and whether this is a local problem or one which is a manfestation of a more systemic pattern. In cases of swelling and inflammation treatment often involves both the local insertion of needles and also systemic treatment to help the whole body to support the healing process.
The best advice that we can give you, as we do with many problems, is to visit a BAcC member local to you and seek their advice. Our main concern, given that we believe that treatment will have an effect, would be to establish how much change was effected and how sustainable it was. Many forms of treatment have an effect, often partly explained by the placebo effect of trying something new and different, but if this is always short-lived it raises questions about whether it is appropriate to carry in with treatment. We are aware that for people in extreme pain even a day's relief is a boon, but if this is so, the practitioner has to be very clear what his or her objectives are and maintain a regular review and dialogue with the patient to ensure that they carry on the work with the patient's full and informed consent.
Q: 5 years ago a colleague suffered brain damage after a serious car smash. He was in a coma for three days and has been left with stroke like disability in his left arm and leg. He has feeling down to his wrist but little in his hand. would accupuncture help in any way to restore nerve function?
possible after the stroke in ten day courses to try to restore the function in the affected limbs. The research is not conclusive, and we cannot give an unequivocal recommendation, but as our fact sheet on stroke shows
please click here
and a much more detailed review paper please click here
there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that acupuncture treatment may be of benefit.
This is not quite the same as restoring nerve function, and we would not make any claims of this kind. From a western medical point of view, when most nerve function has been lost or compromised there are serious difficulties in recovering what has been lost. Chinese medicine is based on a theory that the body mind and emotions are all manifestations of the flow of energy, called 'qi', in the body. When this flow is blocked or impaired, as is the case with a stroke, then the aim is to restore the flow and try to recover the functions which have been lost.
However, your friend hasn't had a stroke but instead a serious car smash, and to some extent it would be unfair to use information based on a naturally occurring phenomenon as a basis for comment on what may or may not be possible in his case. If there has been substantial damage to the tissue of the brain, then there may not be any possibility of recovery, and it would be wrong of us to create hope or expectation. However, you could do a lot worse than see if a BAcC member local to you can give him a short face to face assessment of what acupuncture may be able to achieve, based on what the practitioner can actually observe. We are sure that he will get an honest and realistic view.
It may also be worth mentioning cranial osteopathy as a modality which may have something to offer. This is based on a number of theories in which the structural integrity of the skill is crucial, and while it more often addresses subtle changes which can have a profound effect on function, there is no reason in principle why it should have an effect here. It is highly likely that your local BAcC member may be able to give you a good referral; many work closely with other local practitioners and have a network of trusted colleagues with whom they cross-refer patients.
Q: My daughter has intermittently crippling trigger-point pain in the side of her abdomen. Is there any evidence that acupuncture can help? If so, which is the best kind? Massage will certainly be out of the question, she is too tender.
A: It is interesting to us that you use the term 'trigger point' pain, since trigger points themselves belong to the vocabulary of systems of western medical acupuncture and refer to knots in muscle which often cause symptoms, often quite severe, to occur elsewhere along the fibres of the muscle and the structures to which they attach. The location of the trigger points, and their treatment with acupuncture, is a system which many doctors use, and is replicated in Chinese medicine where the knots and the pain consequent upon their palpation are referred to as 'ah shi' (literally, 'yes, that's it') points, and often treated with a similar direct needling. The main difference in treatment will probably be that the Chinese medicine practitioner will also be looking at the overall picture to see whether the knots form a part of a broader pattern of imbalance within the patient's system. This can ensure that any underlying conditions which may cause recurrences of the problem are dealt with.
We are sure that you have already had all of the routine western medical examinations, but if this is not the case then this would be our initial and fairly urgent recommendation. Pains of this nature in a child usually have a specific cause, and the obvious ones should be eliminated by investigation first. If she is too tender for massage, this would indicate a more generalised discomfort which may point to an underlying pathology. If there are no obvious pathologies, then the choice of practitioner is really up to you, since the treatment approach may be very similar. Your doctor may even be able to offer this as a part of their service.
However, although we do not as yet recognise specialisms in acupuncture (our view is that we are committed to generalism - every practitioner is capable of treating any patient within the limits of their competence), there are many BAcC members who undertake specific postgraduate training in treating children, and they are very used to dealing with children. We cannot make individual referrals for obvious reasons, but it should be relatively easy to track down someone local to you who has undertaken such training and with whom in the first instance you can discuss whether treatment may be of benefit. We are sure that they will offer you an independent and impartial assessment of the best course of action.