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How many acupuncture sessions for back pain and hormone tretments?

Q:  I have had 10 sessions for lower back and hormone treatments. These have helped greatly but how long should I keep going? It is very costly and I would love to keep going although not sure this is possible. Can you stop without any side effects? If I can afford to I will keep going for a while.

A:  We are always sorry to hear of a patient running into financial barriers to continuing treatment from which they are clearly benefiting. However, it is a reality of our situation in the UK that most practitioners are in private practice and have to charge fees which are usually commensurate with other health professionals in related fields. Many of our members are willing to discount fees if someone really is struggling to afford treatment, but this can become a source of friction - if the fee is halved for weekly treatment it can lead to bad feeling if the treatments are spaced out and the practitioner then asks for the full fee. 
 
How long should you keep going? This is a difficult one to answer. Generally speaking, there should be a point where someone's progress is reviewed, and a decision made about continuing. This is not always a case of 'being better'. We have all had patients who have come to us regularly for years to stay well, and in some cases to avoid a deterioration which will continue as soon as they are not having treatment. If someone can get a week's pain relief from treatment, it is a judgement call for them whether they want to spend their money to buy weekly relief in this way, even if the problem is still there in the background . Most of us, though, if we find that treatment buys temporary relief but nothing more enduring, often explore other treatment options with a patient which may offer a more lasting solution.
 
There will be no side effects from stopping treatment, but it may be the case that the improvements you have made may begin to fall away a little. This is not always the case; the body has a tendency to health, and once treatment has shown the system the way, it is common for gains to be maintained. Each case is different and unique, however, so it is not possible to generalise.
 
In all cases, though, good communciation is the key. If you do have a problem carrying on, then discuss this frankly with your practitioner and see what can be worked out. Most of us are not driven by money and can make concessions if we think treatment is making a real difference to someone.   

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