Acupuncture and post shingles pain

Q:  Can you recommend a practitioner in or around York/Harrogate who could offer my husband acupuncture for post shingles pain. He has Bell's palsy type symptoms and acute pain in his face and eye area with some facial paralysis. The condition is known as Ramsey Hunt syndrome.
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A:We do not recommend individual practitioners. Our view is that all of our members are sufficiently well trained to treat all patients within the limits of their competence, and there are very few areas where we would seek to define standards of expert practice where we might want to recommend that people seek out a member with specific additional training. The only three areas where we are likely to head down this path are obstetrics, paediatrics and mental health problems. Otherwise using the practitioner search fucntion on our homepage www.acupuncture.org.uk should take you to a BAcC member very local to you, especially if you use the postcode search function.
 
The treatment of post herpetic pain is an area which has been heavily researched in China, as our factsheet
 
 
http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/herpes.html
 
says, but the quality of trials is not that great. Bell's Palsy
 
http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/bellas-palsy.html
 
has a slightly better success rate when acupuncture treatment is applied, but neither has evidence of such a high standard that we could make an unqualified recommendation. We have treated many cases of shingles, and we have to be honest and say that there has been a significant number of cases where it has been very difficult indeed to reduce the pain, which as we are sure you know to your cost can be excruciating.
 
However, there is no point in being unduly pessimistic. There have been cases both of pain and paralysis where the acupuncture treatment has made significant inroads into the symptoms from a mixture of constitutional treatment to bring balance back to the system as a whole and local treatment to free up some of the blockage and stagnation which paralysis represents. The earlier that treatment commences after an attack, the better, before the area becomes 'settled' in a fixed pattern which can be difficult to shift.
 
The best advice that we can give is that you visit a BAcC member local to you for a brief face to face assessment. The one caution we always voice in these cases is that if you decide to go ahead with treatment you set review dates for assessing progress and also try to set specific outcome measures, objective evidence that the condition is improving. This can be quite difficult with chronic conditions like this which can still have acute episodes, but it is really important to try to find a marker which can show that there has been progress.

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