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As you can imagine we have been asked about sciatica on many occasions and a typical recent answer was:

As you can read from our factsheethttps://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/sciatica.htmlthere has been a significant amount of research into the treatment of sciatica with acupuncture, and the results have been increasingly positive. The threshold for being able to make a definite claim is based on a research process for which very little acupuncture treatment except non-traditional formula work will work, but there have been dozens of Chinese studies aimed at finding what works better which seem to show that sciatica responds well to treatment. Certainly this 'expert's' experience is that sciatica seems to respond well to treatment in most cases.There is no doubt that formula treatment will work to an extent, and there are many medical acupuncturists and 'cookbook' practitioners who will use the same 'sciatica' patients on every patient. The real strength of traditional acupuncture, though, is that it addresses the problem of why sciatica occurs in this particular patient, or more properly why the system does not put right and recover from the injuries which normally cause it. Twenty different people may have the same named condition but be treated in twenty entirely different ways. What this does is not just put the problem right but try to make sure that it does not recur.There are no special treatments for sciatica, and no specialists, so any well-trained traditional acupuncturist should be able to help you. The best advice, though, since there are one or two cases which would not make us feel so optimistic, is to pop in to see a BAcC member local to you for a chat and to get a short face to face assessment of what is going on. This will not only give you more precise information but also give you a chance to meet a practitioner and see where they work before committing to treatment.This seems to us to remain the best advice we can give without actually being able to see the patient first hand. What we would say, though, is that we often work closely with osteopaths in treating problems like this. Although we work 'functionally' so to speak, encouraging the muscles and tendons to re-assert the body's correct shape and posture, there are times when a visit or two to an osteopath to make structural amendments can often speed up progress. Where acupuncture really helps structural work is that it appears to consolidate structural changes and maintain the gains which have been achieved. We are assuming, of course, that your wife has had the usual battery of tests, X-rays at least, to see if there is a change in the lower spine which may be contributing. There are cases, especially where discs have worn badly, where the possibilities for change and improvement become more long-term and gradual. Given the extent to which your wife is suffering further information from an X-ray or scan sounds like it might be a very good idea. Most sciatica can be alleviated by a change of position, and if the pain is acute and continuous it suggests more is going on than meets the eye.
There is no reason not to have acupuncture every week if it achieves the objective you want, in your case pain relief. We are often asked about treatment for pain, and we usually say that it becomes, somewhat sadly, a matter of how deep someone's pockets are.

From a traditional acupuncture perspective it is not entirely satisfactory to be treating someone every week. Our understanding of the nature of pain is that it arises because of blockages in the energy of the body, or excess and deficient energy in specific area or channels. We always hope that our work will reinstate correct flow, and that the pain will begin to subside such that we can increase the intervals between treatments. However, there are occasions when changes to the physical structure of the body, like arthritic change, are not reversible and will keep on generating inflammation in the same places. In these circumstances we might well consider treating weekly for as long as it takes.When this happens most practitioners tend to come to some sort of arrangement with patients to ensure that the treatment doesn't become a financial burden, but this is a matter for individual negotiation. People have different ideas of financial deprivation, and it call for honest and sensitive discussion. Many practitioners are now involved in the establishment of multi-bed clinics which provide treatment in a group setting at a reduced cost, and there may well be something in your area which offers treatment at significantly lower rates than in private practice.NHS provision, though, is seriously limited, and we have found that a six-session course is about the maximum that anyone is likely to be offered. It might be possible to make a financial case for acupuncture treatment if the alternative is expensive medication and greater costs to the health system as a whole, but there is a principle of equity at play and most Pain Clinics have long waiting lists of patients desperate to get a crack at pain relief through acupuncture, and we suspect that most take the view that if it works then people know that there is an alternative to medication that they can pursue themselves.This is not ideal, and we would be the first to argue for acupuncture to be free at point of delivery and on demand within the NHS, but that day is a long way off while basic services remain under-funded. We do our best to demonstrate that acupuncture treatment is cost effective, and some of our colleagues in York have undertaken research studies which clearly show that acupuncture treatment saves money in the long run, but this hasn't really impacted on policy makers yet.In the meantime we suspect that the best we can advise is that you contact local practitioners and see if anyone is prepared to come to an arrangement which offers the same level of relief at a cost which is not too burdensome.
As our factsheet shows

https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/frozen-shoulder.htmlthere is some fair evidence that acupuncture can be helpful. This is far from conclusive, so we can't make specific claims, but the evidence does suggest some benefit as well as some reduction in pain. The only problem is that it is difficult to stop someone using the shoulder while it improves, so progress can often be hampered by unintended setbacks when people reach out automatically and trigger pain and discomfort.Our fact sheets have been around for some while, and we always research what other papers have been published since the ones we referenced there. There isn't a great deal that's new, and indeed an interesting review of treatment optionshttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4363808/

only mentions acupuncture as an adjunct to interventions like physiotherapy. There is a reference to a study from Iranhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4363808/which looks like it has been translated word by word using a dictionary, but allowing for the rather odd language there have clearly been some good results. However, a 2012 systematic reviewhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22405512was rather downbeat about most treatment options.The great strength of Chinese medicine, however, is that it treats the person, not simply the condition. A hundred people presenting with a frozen shoulder may be treated in a hundred different ways because each person is unique in the balance of their energies, and the practitioner will be working to establish what it is about the overall balance which has impaired someone's ability to recover. Many people will damage their shoulders but be fine again within a week. When the damage takes longer to hear the obvious question, apart from the severity of the cause, is what is blocking healing. Sometimes this is outside the practitioner's control; as we said above it is a very difficult joint to immobilise in order to help recovery. Often, though, there is an underlying imbalance which means that a person is getting the best from their own system.This means it can be rather difficult to generalise, and the advice we invariably give is to visit a local BAcC member for an informal chat about what may be possible. Most members are happy to give up a little time without charge to assess whether treatment may be of benefit, and many prospective patients value this chance to meet the practitioner before committing to treatment. 
We have been asked this question a number of times, and our answer has always been:

Google is a massively powerful search facility, and if you google 'acupuncture anosmia' it looks as though there are a number of studies which give cause for hope. If you look carefully, however, you will see that there is but one studyhttp://aim.bmj.com/content/21/4/153.longwhich is frequently quoted, generating a number of secondary references. This study, what we call an n=1 case study because it is the report of a single case, is important because it suggests that there may be something worth looking at in the use of acupuncture treatment. The weakness of n=1 studies, of course, is that they are not designed to test acupuncture, and the positive outcome could have arisen for any number of reasons, especially since the case study can provide no evidence for the sudden onset of the problem.That is not to say that acupuncture treatment is not worth trying. The use of Traditional Chinese medicine involves a great deal of questioning and examination to determine the state and flow of the energies of the body, called 'qi', and the state of the organs which are responsible for all of the functional aspects of the body. Even where there is no obvious cause from a conventional medical point of view, it is rare for a symptom to stand alone in Chinese medicine other than where it derives from a blockage. In this case, if the blockage is removed, the function is restored. We strongly suspect that this is what happened in the case study, and blockages of this kind can sometimes occur for no obvious reason.Generally speaking, though, a pattern of disharmony will generate a number of symptoms or changes in function, not all of which are clinically significant from a conventional perspective, and these may point t specific imbalances affecting Organic function. Note that we capitalise the word 'Organ' - what we understand by this in Chinese medicine is a great deal more than a physical unit in the body. The Chinese understanding of an Organ embraced functions on all levels, body mind and spirit, and when practised properly Chinese medicine can legitimately claim to be holistic.The best advice we can give is that you visit a BAcC member local to you for advice on whether they think that acupuncture treatment may be of benefit, and to discuss briefly with you the other aspects of your health which may indicate wider patterns which in turn may link to your problem. That is not to say that there may not be as simple a treatment as the one described in the paper, and one of the points used has the Chinese name 'Welcome Fragrance' suggesting that it may have a direct bearing on the sense of smell. You would certainly not do any harm. However, we would be more likely to look at this as a functional disturbance and be looking at other factors in the system which might point to a treatable pattern.We have had a look through all of the databases again and found references to these four papers which give mixed outcomes for treatment
  1. Vent J, Wang DW, Damm M. Effects of traditional Chinese acupuncture in post-viral olfactory dysfunction. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2010;142:505–509. doi: 10.1016/j.otohns.2010.01.012.[PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  2. Silas J, Doty RL. No evidence for specific benefit of acupuncture over vitamin B complex in treating persons with olfactory dysfunction. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2010;143:603. [PubMed]
  3. Damm M, Vent J. Response to: no evidence for specific benefit of acupuncture over vitamin B complex in treating persons with olfactory dysfunction, by Jonathan Silas and Richard L. Doty. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2010;143:603–604. [PubMed]
  4. Anzinger A, Albrecht J, Kopietz R, Kleemann AM, Schöpf V, Demmel M, Schreder T, Eichhorn I, Wiesmann M. Effects of laserneedle acupuncture on olfactory sensitivity of healthy human subjects: a placebo-controlled, double-blinded, randomized trial. Rhinology. 2009;47:153–159. [PubMed]
and don't really give us much cause to be over-optimistic. However, what we said above about blockages and energetic weaknesses is probably a great deal more relevant than studies which are either too small to underpin any conclusions or too specific to one variant of anosmia. Chinese medicine was always and remains the treatment of the person, not the named condition, in the expectation that if the system is in good balance it will repair itself and function as it should. This seems to us a better statement of what we are trying to achieve than 'acupuncture treats x and y', and having used this kind of approach for many, many years we have seen enough problems resolve for which there was no evidence to suggest that a short course of treatment is always worth trying, and will certainly cause no harm.
We are usually asked more specific questions, such as 'can acupuncture help trochanteric bursitis?', and the last time we were asked a generic question about 'bursitis' was in 2012. Remarkably, we said then pretty much what we would have said now had we not found this reply:

The first question we'd have to ask is 'where?'. Many patients present at acupuncture clinics with bursitis of the major joints like the hip, knee, shoulder or elbow, and to a degree the outcome depends on exactly which joint is affected. The same would apply in western medicine; some joints are easier to treat than others, and some easier to immobilise while healing takes place.However, Chinese medicine is very different in its approach to an understanding of the body and the way it works. The theory of Chinese medicine is based on a flow of energy called 'qi' of which the body consists in different forms, and the understanding of how its balance and flow can be affected by illness, lifestyle and constitution. When people suffer from bursitis in a joint, the practitioner will want to establish first whether this is a local problem, caused by an injury or from over-use, or whether it is a consequence of a systemic problem affecting all of the joints to a degree, or a bit of both, as is often the case. Treatment will then be aimed at the appropriate cause, but will almost certainly involve some needles close to where the bursitis is.Because this is quite a broad question, we can't be more specific. There are a number of web-based research resources which will identify relevant papers if you google 'acupuncture, bursitis and the joint concerned', but we strongly suspect that they will tend to say, as many do, that the signs are positive but not conclusive. Not a great deal of research meets rigorous western standards, and the conclusions drawn from it are often cautious. This is not to say that things aren't well researched. Many thousands of studies are conducted in China each year, but they are often premised on the fact that acupuncture works and researching what works better. In the West the policy makers are still troubled by whether acupuncture works or not. We believe that it does, of course!Your best bet is to visit a BAcC member local to you to discuss your specific problem. We trust that they will give you the best advice possible about whether they can help, and if not, what other alternatives there may be.  This remains the best advice we can give, especially the last paragraph about visiting a local BAcC member for a chat about whether treatment may help. Most are only too happy to give up a small amount of time without charge to prospective patients to assess whether acupuncture treatment is the best option.As to your supplementary question, the theories of Chinese medicine tend to describe bursitis in generic terms either as Dampness, a state where the fluids of the body become more viscous and gather in confined areas such as joint capsules, or as blockages due to local obstruction. In both cases the needles stimulate movement in the energy which in turn moves the gathered fluids, but in the case of the former there is usually a systemic element which underpins the local problem. When the bursitis is accompanied by heat and pain there is also an issue about Heat which has to be dispersed. The capitalisation of phenomena like Heat, Damp, Cold and the like is indicative of an entirely different paradigm of medicine which uses terms to describe changes in the microcosm which reflect similar changes on the macrocosm. Chinese medicine abound with illustrations from nature, and in some of the diagnostic systems the annual rhythms of nature are said to be reflected in the balanced nature of the energy of the body. Alterations in this balance are said to reflect what happens in nature if there is too much heat or too much rain.This all sounds a little odd to the western ear, but a system which has survived and continues to provide relief to millions after 2500 years of use must have something more than a placebo effect going for it!
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