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Can acupuncture help with pinched muscle in shoulder when patient has muscular dystrophy?

Q:  Can acupuncture be used with someone who has muscular dystrophy, not to help with the condition, but with a pinched muscle in the shoulder. 

A:  There is no reason of which we are aware that someone with muscular dystrophy should not have acupuncture treatment.

 We are always extremely careful as a professional body to set down clear guidelines to our members about when it would be unwise or even contra-indicated to use acupuncture. We do this both from a western medical perspective and also from a Chinese medicine perspective (there are, for example, good reasons to avoid some points in pregnancy, and other points which can cause a rapid drop in blood pressure which might affect some patients). We have never come across anything which suggested that acupuncture treatment would be a problem for someone with muscular dystrophy.

 As an aside we did come across this article, of which you may already be aware, which suggests that acupuncture may be a useful adjunct in treatment packages to help with the common symptoms of DMD.


The Chinese undertake hundreds of thousands of trials every year on almost every health problem you can imagine, and as interesting results emerge the studies then tend to be translated and circulated more widely. 

 Even where the treatment is used for a specific purpose, like a pinched muscle, proper traditional acupuncture treats the person, not simply the condition, and we have sometimes found that with chronic degenerative problems the rate of deterioration appears to slow down. This is impossible to verify experimentally because conditions like this are so variable anyway, but we have seen several patients whose problems seem to plateau for longer when they are having regular treatment. However, we would never encourage people to have treatment on this basis, and in this case we would suspect that treatment for a pinched nerve may well be beneficial in itself, however the rest of the system reacts.


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