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This is an interesting question and comes hot on the heels of one answered earlier today about whether a certain type of ear piercing could have an effect on migraines as a form of acupuncture. The answer to this question was 'not really', and at first glance we would have to say that the same sort of overall logic applies in your case - there are unlikely to be unwanted acupuncture-type treatments caused by the insertion of hypodermic needles. Insofar as this is extremely unlikely to happen we wouldn't really consider it necessary to isolate 'safe areas' for someone.

Indeed, one of the main problems which bedevils attempts to test whether acupuncture works by the use of what is called 'sham' acupuncture points, i.e. places not recognised in classical texts, is that from an energetic point of view there aren't lines of points traversing a kind of inert space. What you really have are places where the energy is very lively and contactable, the points, and areas where the energy is not quite so active. This means that a needle off piste, as it were, is still going to have an effect. In that sense it means that there is no neutral place to stick a hypodermic.There is a great deal more that we could say about intention and technique - it isn't just a matter of finding a specific place and putting a needle in - but the bottom line is that we would have serious doubts that you could be self-treating by accident in giving yourself injections. However, if you wanted to play very safe there are innumerable charts of acupuncture points on the internet showing the flows of the four main channels through the abdomen. It should be fairly straightforward to identify area where the energy is less focused. If it feels more reassuring to inject here, then we can see no harm in so doing.

We have been asked many times about tinnitus, and our most recent reply has been:

We tend to be very conservative in the advice we give about tinnitus.

One recent response said:

We used to be a great deal more downbeat about the treatment of tinnitus than we are now because our experience in practice was that it could prove intractable to treatment. However, as our factsheet shows http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/tinnitus.html and as some recent personal experience in clinic has shown too, there may be some hope.The problem with measuring the success of treatment for tinnitus is that its appearance and disappearance can be entirely random. If you read the tinnitus association's magazine you will see stories along the lines of 'I tried everything and then x worked' and an equal number of stories which say 'I had tinnitus for five years and then one day it just went.'  Research trials tend to be quite reliable - it would be a remarkable coincidence if half the trial participants experienced a spontaneous improvement - but one-off cases could be a coincidence, with acupuncture just happening to be the therapy of choice when the change happened.The available evidence, however, suggests that it might be worth a try with the proviso that progress is reviewed at regular intervals, and some kind of objective measure can be found, i.e. how much it interferes with a radio set at a particular level. It might also repay investigation of what makes it worse and what makes it better. A long n-1 case study this expert conducted had very little impact on the condition but did increase the sufferer's ability to deal with it.The best advice is to visit a BAcC member local to you  for an informal face to face assessment of what may be possible. There are one or two clearly recognisable syndromes within Chinese medicine which might offer considerable confidence that muting the problem may be possible, but even a general balancing of the system may bear fruit.

Invariably we check for more evidence when we are asked a question to which we have responded before, and the evidence trail for the fact sheet stops some time ago. We found a number of small studies like this onehttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26747258which seem on the face of it to encourage the belief that there is a recognised connection between acupuncture treatment and symptom relief. There is also a systematic review, a 'trial of all trials' beloved of researchers because it aggregates to a much more powerful study than the individual ones.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3493359/This draws the usual sorts of conclusion about the need for more and better trials, but the authors do conclude that acupuncture is worth trying as a safe alternative which seemed to have shown some success in addressing the problem.The advice we gave before, though, holds good. Each case is unique and different, as is each treatment plan, and the best advice you can get will always come from someone who can see your problem in its overall context.

So, in answer to your question, there is some evidence that acupuncture treatment may help tinnitus, but not yet enough for us to say with any certainty that a result is guaranteed.As far as specialists are concerned, by its very nature Chinese medicine is generalist. Indeed in ancient China specialists were regarded as decidedly inferior because they only treated single conditions. From the Chinese medicine perspective it is the patient who has the problem, not the problem which is the primary focus. Each manifestation of a problem is unique and different, and twenty people with the same named problem might be treated in twenty different ways.On this basis we are happy to recommend any of our members to offer the same exemplary level of care, and using the postcode search on our home page www.acupuncture.org.uk will direct you to the geographically closest.

We are very sorry to hear of your daughter's problems; that is a very long time to be carrying the burden of an undiagnosed complaint in one so young.

The question of whether pain or anxiety came first is very difficult to settle. In most cases there is a very unpleasant circularity about these kinds of problems, and both conventional and Chinese medicine look for ways to break the cycle. As far as treatment of both is concerned, there is a pretty good amount of evidence suggesting that acupuncture treatment can be helpful. As we wrote recently in response to a question about depression and anxietyThere is some increasingly good evidence for the use of acupuncture in the treatment of depression, as out factsheet showshttp://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/depression.html

as does a heavily publicised research trial by BAcC member Hugh Macpherson and colleagues published very recentlyhttp://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001518


Where the depression is linked to a continuing health problem, however, the situation becomes a little more complex. We find that when someone has a chronic condition it can become a great deal more difficult to deal with the depression that this causes and the underlying depression to which this has added.The great strength of Chinese medicine, however, is not that it treats this or that condition, but that it treats the person. This is why twenty people with headaches may be treated twenty different ways. Clearly some points will have a direct effect, but treatment is not the equivalent of an aspirin, and the practitioner will be at pains to discover why this symptom appears in you and not in someone experiencing similar external stresses. The best treatment always combines treating the symptoms within the context of their overall pattern, and the pattern is the primary factor. Indeed, in ancient times some of the older systems used to treat the people without necessarily taking any notice of individual symptoms, in the simple but effective belief that a system in balance took care of its own problems.The best advice we can offer is that you visit a BAcC member local to you, and see if they are prepared to give up a little time without charge to discuss whether your specific presentation. Anxiety and depression are rather broad labels which cover a huge range of possibilities, and sometimes we have to say to patients that what they are dealing with requires more of a talking therapy approach than we can offer. Given that it is rare for mental and emotional issues to arise without accompanying physical changes, even where these do now generate symptoms, a practitioner of Chinese medicine may well be able to see overall patterns which give them confidence that they may be able to help.The issue of chronic pain is also one on which a great deal has been written, but most practitioners would be trying to get as much information as possible about her life at the time when the chest pains started. Chinese medicine has some very broad brush principles about the flow of energy in the body which underpin an understanding of pain which arises from blockage or poor flow. It would be interesting to find out whether something had impaired the overall flow We think that this still represents very good advice, and we are sure that you will be able to find someone locally who will sit down with your daughter and see whether they think they can  help her. As follows from above, Chinese medicine is an inherently generalist practice, and all of our members are equally well qualified to provide the same level of exemplary care. Using our postcode search facility on the home page will identify your nearest BAcC members.The only caveat we have is the issue of self-harming, and the extent to which it is happening. It can sometimes be helpful to have had experience of working with people who have self-harmed, and it may be worth asking local practitioners if they know of someone locally who has developed a reputation for addressing complex mental and emotional issues. Most practitioner networks are a very efficient grapevine for directing prospective patients to the best practitioner for them. We hope that you manage to find someone who can help your daughter and lift the burden your family is carrying.
This sounds rather like the effects of a prolapsed or bulging disc pressing on the nerves and causing these distal effects, and we have to say that acupuncture treatment has been used to good effect in treating both chronic lower back pain and in sciatica, as both of our factsheets show:

https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/back-pain.htmlhttps://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/sciatica.html

Although osteopaths focus mainly on the structure of the body, and might be able to adjust misalignments of the lower back, it can sometimes take a more functional treatment like acupuncture to achieve greater change by encouraging the musculature of the lower back to function more efficiently and hold the back in place after it has been adjusted. This is how we tend to explain the fact that back pain and its treatment remains one of the commonest reasons for referral to an acupuncture practitioner. Of course, this is to take a very conventional view of the symptoms which you have. From a Chinese medicine point of view it is a failure in the flow of energy which generates symptoms such as you are experiencing, and it is not unusual to find that patients with considerable arthritic degeneration of the lower spine can be relieved of their symptoms even where the lower back cannot possibly have changed, i.e. the 'obvious' cause of the problem isn't really the cause of the problem.What we always recommend is that you visit a local BAcC member so that they can take a look at exactly how your problem presents and see what might be possible for you. In Chinese medicine each person is unique and different, and treatment is geared not just to the symptom but to the overall balance of the person. It is not uncommon to find that some patterns of discomfort are manifestations of more complex underlying imbalances, and from our perspective the real strength of this system of medicine is that by addressing the whole person we believe that symptoms are more likely to stay gone and not to return.
We have very good evidence in the form of several published surveys and research studies that acupuncture treatment is not only safe but also that the majority of side effects are transient, minor and tend to disappear within 48 hours. However, that does not mean that there are not occasionally more serious side effects.

Where the majority of serious side effects occur, and these remain very rare, it is most often because of a direct effect of the needling in the form of a pneumothorax or nerve damage. We do hear of the occasional case of both, and the BAcC has had to deal two or three such cases in the last decade. Injuries such as you have experienced are much more rare, where the damage arises not from the needling itself but from a physical reaction to the needling, like fainting from needling and then getting bruises from falling.We suspect that your physiotherapist has called it correctly insofar as the reaction to the needle insertion has caused the twisting of the lower back and induced sciatica. Strong reactions to needling are possible, and some people do have electric shock sensations as a genuine consequence of mobilising the energy. This is generally recognisable because it does not fall along nerve pathways as understood in conventional medicine. If the problem has been induced by a kind of physical twist injury it is almost certain that it will resolve quite quickly. Further treatment would help, but we can quite easily imagine that this is not likely to be an option for you.As far as the second occasion is concerned, we suspect that the practitioner may have under-estimated your sensitivity to treatment and used points which do tend to have a higher risk of generating physically painful reactions,. Clearly it would not be fair for us to comment on someone's work without knowing a great deal more  of the case history, and we have all experienced cases where someone has had unexpected and unpleasant reactions to points which we have used thousands of times. The skill of the practitioner lies in then adjusting the treatment to a pitch which the patient can bear by reducing the number of needles, reducing the depth of insertion and the amount of needle manipulation.Where people do have an unpleasant experience of treatment it can induce a kind of 'shock' which may well undo some of the good work already done and cause the overall pattern to become a little disturbed again, bringing back symptoms which had been under control. Our experience, however, is that these episodes rarely result in a permanent loss of progress, and the system usually restores to the point which it had reached before.We are very sorry to hear of your experience, and equally sorry to hear that acupuncture treatment is unlikely to be an option for you in future.  There are many variations within the 2500 year tradition which use minimally invasive techniques, but we can understand how this would probably not be reassurance enough. We do hope that you manage to regain the place which you had reached before this episode occurred, and that you manage to continue to progress from there.

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