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Can acupuncture help with pain from shingles?

Q:  I am very slowly recovering from Shingles around an eye, forehead and scalp. Male aged nearly 77 can you advise me if acupuncture can help the pain, nerve tingling and general discomfort. If so a member practising near CM24 8RW. Stansted Essex.

A: Shingles is one of the conditions where the evidence is not yet sufficient to be conclusive, as our factsheet shows

but where there is sufficient clinical experience for us to believe that where we can treat early in the presentation of the condition there may be some good possibility for reducing the severity of the outbreak. This parallels the western approach where the use of acyclovir as soon as possible is often the best way to contain an outbreak.

Once the condition has settled into the more long term chronic presentation the focus of treatment is more on trying to reduce the discomfort of the residual symptoms. The use of acupuncture for chronic pain is well documented, and in fact was one of the most significant areas of research after Nixon's visit to China in the 1970s which saw an explosion of interest in the West. The key question with pain relief or pain control is exactly how much relief the treatment gives and how sustainable this is. This is unanswerable without looking at the individual case, and indeed, Chinese medicine is all about treating the individual as much as the symptoms, and how well someone can respond depends to a degree on how well their overall system is functioning.

We certainly think it would be worthwhile chatting to one of our members local to you. Most are willing to give a little time without charge to prospective patients to let them get a sense of what might be possible. 

We cannot give individual referrals, but we have tried your postcode in the search facility on our home page and it generated a number of hits close by.

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