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Will acupuncture help with the pain in my hip and thigh?

Q:  About 2 years ago I experienced sudden severe pain in my hip and thigh. this lasted for about 4 weeks and stopped suddenly.  A year later I experienced the same sudden pain. this time it did not stop. In an attempt to relieve the pain I  have used various pain relief medications.
I have had xrays and an  MRI scan which have failed to find the problem. I had a steroid injection into my hip bone and this relieved the pain for about a week. I have received treatment from an osteopath and physiotherapy.  I am in constant pain day and night and find it difficult to walk at time.  > My question is will acupuncture help in relieving the pain.

A:  There is no doubt that acupuncture can be used for pain relief, as our fact sheet on chronic pain shows:

and indeed, pain relief has been one of the most intensely researched areas of its use. The use of sophisticated assessment tools by patients to measure their experience of pain, and the fact that many of the neurotransmitters and natural painkillers can be precisely measured means that one can get meaningful results quite quickly.

However, the only two questions to ask if treatment is used in this way are 'is the effect reasonably sustainable?' and 'if it is, can I afford the treatment which maintains the level?'. We believe that this short-changes what we do to see it in this way. Chinese medicine is premised on the flow of energy in the body, called 'qi', and its proper balance and rhythms. Pain arise from blockage, excess or deficiency, and the skill and art of the practitioner lies in determining how the problem arises and whether local treatment or systemic treatment, or both, is required. The probability is that something has been brewing for quite a while, and there has been a tipping point which has meant a blockage or change has occurred. On the last occasion this has spontaneously reversed, but on this occasion it appears to be more tenacious, and a practitioner will want to assess whether the underlying tendency is going to keep on generating these pains unless corrected, or whether you have something specific which can be unblocked locally.

Our best advice with problems such as yours, which are always best advised on with the benefit of a face to face assessment, is that you visit a BAcC member local to you and see if they find anything on a brief, hopefully free, assessment which would encourage them to believe that acupuncture treatment would help you.

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