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Can acupuncture relieve pain from arthritus in my toes?

A: The evidence for the benefits of acupuncture treatment for arthritic pain, as witnessed by our fact sheet

is relatively encouraging. Not surprisingly the research has focused on the major joints like the hip and knee, but the problem, from a Chinese medicine perspective, is the same whichever joint the pain manifests is, and the fact that treatment of knee can bring relief means that in principle the same may apply to the toes.
There are obviously confounding factors. A great deal depends on your age and general health. In the elderly or in the diabetic some of the pains may be attributable to a number of other factors where the value of acupuncture treatment may be less, but the question is not really 'does it work?' as much as 'how much does it work and how sustainable is the improvement one can achieve?' It is a difficult truth to acknowledge that the depth of someone's pocket can make a difference. We have come across patients with almost limitless funds who can afford to have treatment every three days in perpetuity because the treatment lasts that long before wearing off. Most people, however, are not so blessed, and the question which has to be answered, if the treatment does bring short term relief but is not incremental, is how long one should reasonably carry on and at what cost. We know of practitioners who do deals with patients to provide frequent short treatments within their purse, but we do not tell our members how they should work, and many find this kind of treatment, which is often quite formulaic, not to their taste.

 There is also the possibility that there are other interventions which may offer good results. A significant minority of BAcC members also belong to the RCHM and practise Chinese herbal medicine. This can be a very powerful force for recovery, especially since the treatment can be delivered daily and supplemented by regular acupuncture treatment. We have also found that reflexology is often cited by older patients as a very effective way of obtaining relief from some of the more nagging chronic pains.

 It may be repetitive to say the same thing with every question we receive, but our practitioners are the best resource a potential patient has to determine what benefits acupuncture treatment may provide them with. They will not sign someone up for treatment if they think it will not work, and will always cross refer to other forms of healthcare if they believe that these will get to the point quicker. We advise you to seek out a BAcC member local to you and ask for their opinion based on a brief face to face assessment.

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BAcC Factsheets

Research based factsheets have been prepared for over 60 conditions especially for this website

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