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Ask an expert - body - abdomen / gastro intestinal - pain

6 questions

Q: Would acupuncture help me? I had a gynaecological operation on 19th April .everything was fine no pain etc wound healed. 14days after op I developed a pain in my right groin which when it's on leaves me screening in agony. To describe the pain is like a red hot poker being thrust into my groin. Have been back to hospital on 2 occasions have had MRI scan which showed nothing. Drs.thought it could be trapped nerve, but as they had no previous patients who developed this they were working blind. I was discharged with a cocktail of tablets to control the pain(sometime they do and sometimes not) I have been living with this now for 4weeks it's excruciating and I am getting suicidal with the constant pain. So would you be able to help me PLEASE.


A:  We are very sorry to hear of the pain and distress you are experiencing. There is quite a great deal of evidence of the use of acupuncture for pain relief because this was one of the first areas to which significant funding was provided for research. Our factsheet on post-operative pain please click here cites a number of papers which are of interest to both traditional and medical acupuncturists since they often focus on what the neurophysiological basis is for the way that acupuncture works.
However, the one factor which people have to take into account is the extent to which acupuncture treatment can reduce pain and how long lasting the relief is. If treatment only holds the pain at bay for an hour or two, and the extent and time frame never change, this does not mean that we would not recommend its prolonged use - for some patients any relief is good relief - but the basis on which treatment continues would have to be agreed and clearly understood.
On another tack, however, it is important to remember that the basis of acupuncture theory is the maintenance and balance of the flow of the body's energies, and surgery often involves some very serious cutting across the pathways of energy. From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective pain arises from excesses of energy, deficiencies of energy, or blockages, and surgical intervention, especially with the scar tissue which it invariably leaves in the short term, can create any or all of these problems. A skilled practitioner should be able to assess which channels might be affected and at very least try to re-establish a good local flow as well as attending to the overall balance which might affect the healing process.
This is very much the sort of problem where you need face to face advice from a practitioner, and we recommend visiting a BAcC member local to you to ask if they can spare a short while to give you advice on your specific problem.

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