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acupuncture

Posted by Casey H on 3/14/04 at 19:16 (147005)

I posted a couple of months ago regarding tarsal tunnel surgery x 2 and then a vein wrap procedure that did not help. My pain is now at 7 to 9 on pain scale. My local podiatrist wants me to try acupuncture. I have a hard time with any type of injection anywhere near my foot. OK -I'm a big chicken! I don't have a lot of confidence in this type of treatment. Haven't found a lot of positive studies on it. Has anyone out there tried this, what did it involve, and most important--did it help? Thanks.

Re: acupuncture

wendyn on 3/14/04 at 19:46 (147012)

Casey, I found acupuncture to be helpful. You should not need to have needles placed into the sore foot - my acupuncturist didn't put any in my right foot at all. You will probably have needles put all over the rest of your body, including the top of your head!!!!

I was quite afraid of acupuncture myself, and very skeptical. You do not have to 'believe' in it for it to work (they use it on animals). Try to find someone who is trained in both Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as the more 'North American' medical acupuncture.

Acupuncture is highly unlikely to make you any worse; probably the biggest risk is that you may spend money on something that may not help. It's certainly worth a try.

Once I got over the idea of the needles, I found I really enjoyed the sessions (I used to doze off).

Re: acupuncture

Ed Davis, DPM on 3/14/04 at 21:55 (147018)

Casey and wendyn:
I had accupuncture performed on me a few times while in college and it definitely is not an uncomfortable experience. The downside is minimal so it is worth a try. Unfortunately, we do not have a lot of information in the West as to its efficacy. I can only relate to patient experiences. Patients with TTS seem to obtain pain relief with accupuncture but it tends to be temporary. Perhaps if done over a longer period of time, relief may be more lasting. I would prefer to view it as an adjunctive treatment, that is, something to help get you through the pain while, perhaps moving toward more definitive treatment, if possible.
Ed

Re: acupuncture

JudyB on 3/14/04 at 22:39 (147019)

Casey,
Just curious, what was your pain before the surgery?

Re: acupuncture

wendyn on 3/14/04 at 22:49 (147020)

Ed, for me - it seemed to help with the intense nerve pain. It almost seems like it was sort of a turning point, where I actually started to get better (at least to a point). I probably should have continued.

I agree, once you get past the psychological aspect - acupuncture is not uncomfortable (I actually looked forward to it).

Re: acupuncture

Anne H. on 3/15/04 at 02:05 (147021)

Hi Casey,

I had acupuncture for chronic tendonitis 6 years ago. It was very helpful in controlling pain and reducing inflammation. There was no discomfort associated with the needle insertion. However, sometimes I noticed a slight burning sensation after treatment was well underway--My treatments usually lasted ~30 minutes. You should know; it's common to experience increased discomfort and stiffness after the very first treatment. This subsides, and soon you'll observe improvement in pain and inflammation.

Ask around for recommendations of a good acupuncturist. Multiple healthcare providers recommended the gentleman I went to. He is a 2nd generation acupuncturist trained in traditional Chinese and Western medicine. It pays to ask around.

Good luck! I hope you get the relief you're seeking.

Anne

Re: acupuncture Anne?

Jayson Tuckey on 3/15/04 at 14:06 (147058)

Anne, Did thwe acupuncture cure your tendonitis pain completly and if so how many treatments did it take to work? Also what type of tendonitis did you have it for?

Re: acupuncture success

MaryWh on 3/15/04 at 15:55 (147067)

Hi Casey, I've had neuropathy in my toes for over 5 years. At first, I used over-the-counter sorts of remedies, from Vanquish (which has worked better for me than plain Tylenol, Aleve, Bufferin, etc.) to capsaicin. I started going to a naturopath, hoping for new ideas/treatment after my M.D. didn't give me the help I needed. He routinely drew blood for various reasons, so I wasn't happy at all with Anything related to needles. The naturopath helped a lot. I'd had problems with edema, for example, and the natural diuretic she gave me worked very well--in fact, when my water 'level' dropped, so did my neuropathy pain level.

I had a few other pain problems with other portions of my anatomy, so last Fall, I asked if she thought perhaps some acupuncture treatments might help. She said yes and gave me the name of an acupuncturist she recommended. Unfortunately, that person wasn't signed up with my insurance company, so I looked further. Bastyr University, one of the top alternative medical schools in the nation, is located close by, so I checked the list of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine faculty list. The description of the acupuncturist I finally chose said that she specialized in pain-related problems.

You have to understand that I was pretty desperate to voluntarily seek treatments involving needles, which I've hated since childhood. But I read up on acupuncture and felt brave enough to try it. I came out of that first treatment a total convert. While talking to the doctor, I'd also told her about my neuropathy, figuring, what the heck, might as well throw that in, too, in case the treatment does help.

I didn't feel most of the insertions. A couple of them stung very briefly (like around a second) and then stopped. The only time I felt any pain at all occurred during the third treatment, when the doctor needed to insert a needle into the bottom of my heel, which is thickly callused. But she told me this one would probably hurt for a little. It did but subsided to nothing after about 3 seconds.

This past Saturday, I had my 15th acupuncture treatment. I'm now going once a month, and I look forward to my appointment. I come out of each of them feeling very laid back. The pains themselves don't always go away instantly. Today, two days later, I'm pretty pain-free, esp. of the neuropathy, which I had a bit of trouble with last week. I'm much better off now than I was when I started the treatments, six months ago. Sure, I get twinges occasionally, but the only time I find myself sitting on the edge of my bed in the middle of the night, slathering Aspercreme on my toes to cut the pain, comes when I've been eating a lot of salt with resultant edema.

I agree that you should check around to find a very good acupuncturist, who has a lot of experience. If you can find one who learned acupuncture from a Chinese university and who practiced in China before coming to the U.S., you'd prob. stand a better chance of ridding yourself, fully or at least partially, of your pain. Don't do what my sister did. She has a carpal-tunnel-like syndrome coupled with rheumatoid arthritis. She hunted around and found a naturopath who also did acupuncture. This woman was bad news, mostly during acupuncture treatments, where she kept consulting a book on the topic, figuring out as she went, where to insert the needles. My sister says she's never felt such pain as this person inflicted upon her. So now she's totally turned off of ever trying it again, even from a well-experienced, good acupuncturist. Too bad. So be very careful!

MaryWh

Re: acupuncture success

RonB on 3/15/04 at 20:31 (147086)

Besides having PF, I get a burning feeling on the outside edge of my left heel. My pod told me to try acupuncture for the burning pain, but never mentioned it for PF. I think several people here have tried acupuncture for PF, without much success. I had my 4th treatment today. I am going to get two more (once a week). I have noticed only a slight change so far. But I do enjoy and look forward to the treatment. it is very relaxing !! my insurance does pay 80%.

Re: acupuncture success

Ed Davis, DPM on 3/15/04 at 20:46 (147087)

MaryWh:
Your a neighbor. Bastyr University is in Seattle. The naturopathic profession flourishes in the Northwest due to Bastyr. It is an interesting profession but one experience that your sister ran into seems to crop up fairly often in that Naturopaths have a fairly broad scope of practice so that many tend to dabble in things (eg. accupuncture) without necessarily going after complete training in such areas. If I walked into say, ten different MD family docs office with plantar fasciitis, I could predict, most likely what treatment I would recieve. If I walked into 10 different Naturopaths office, the treatments would be a lot more variable depending on where their interests lie. It is, in part, something one encounters with a relatively young profession that is still searching for philosophical common ground among its practitioners.
Ed

Re: acupuncture success

RonB on 3/15/04 at 21:01 (147089)

Hey Ed
am I a neighbor too?? I live in Bothell and my pod and the acupuncturiest (sp???) are in Woodinville. She went to Bastyr too. I have a friend going there now.
RonB

Re: acupuncture success

MaryWh on 3/15/04 at 22:19 (147094)

Bastyr used to be in the University (UW) District, but is now located in Kirkland. Its clinic is still in Seattle, around the U, I think. My acupuncturist used to be in Kirkland, but has just moved her office to Mercer Island. She's just plain excellent. If you email me privately, I'll give you her info.

MaryWh

Re: acupuncture Anne?

Anne H. on 3/15/04 at 22:58 (147099)

Hi Jayson: The acupunture did not cure my tendonitis completely. But it gave me more pain relief and reduced inflammation than other conventional treatments (heavy doses of anti-inflammatories, compression & massage). I had severe tendonitis of the right arm and hand for 5 years before seeking acupunture as an alternative. I underwent 18 treatments total. After the first treatment I was pretty stiff and sore, but by the 3rd one, I noticed immediate and prolonged relief. Like other posters on this thread, I looked forward to treatment because it was the only thing that gave me real relief.

Anne

Re: acupuncture Anne?

RonB on 3/15/04 at 23:34 (147102)

MaryWh
Actually Bastyr is located in Kenmore, not Kirkland. That Building has been about five different things in the last 15 years! It originally was a Catholic Montesory, then a drug rehab center, and a few other things
Ron B

Re: acupuncture Anne?

MaryWh on 3/15/04 at 23:51 (147103)

Yep, you're right, Ron. Kenmore it is! But very close to Kirkland. :)
I'm very familiar with the area, having twice sung with the Kirkland Choral Society in their holiday concerts in the Bastyr chapel--best acoustics on the Eastside, IMHO!
To keep from going completely off topic, might I say that one 'activity' that makes my right heel hurt like a word I can't use here, is standing on a riser for 1.5 hours with only a short intermission in between performance halves! I remember the night I decided to definitely seek an acupuncturist--we weren't even half through performing the Brahms' Requiem, and I was trying to figure out which leg to put weight on, at first, which one felt best, and near the end, which one felt worse. I know the old saying about sacrificing for art, but this was ridiculous. Ouch!

MaryWh

Re: acupuncture Anne?

RonB on 3/16/04 at 09:11 (147115)

MaryWh
I think the grounds Bastyr sits on is still a state park. I use to take my dog up there and walk down to the lake with her. I haven't been there in two years.
Yes I know all about standing in one place. I work for Gai's ( called Franz now) Bakery. and up till three months ago I stood in one place for 8 to 12 hours a night.sometimes when I got off work I could hardly walk. now I am a break man, I go around and give breaks and lunches. so I get to move around alot. it has made the pain less and easier to take.
RonB

Re: acupuncture

DaveP on 3/16/04 at 12:53 (147137)

Casey,

I am into my third week of acupuncture treatment for PF. I have been told I require two treatments per week over 8 weeks due to the chronic nature of my condition (3 yrs. now). Although I have not seen an improvement, it's still early. You can search other postings on this site on acupuncture, but basically it's a holistic approach centering on the 'qi' channels throughout the body. A change of diet is also a part of my program. For PF, acupuncture concentrates on the kidney, as PF is affected by this organ, I'm told (I am not a doctor nor have prior knowledge of acupuncture). All other conservative treatments have failed, including ESWT. If this approach does not improve my condition, then I will contemplate surgery as a last resort. I wish you luck.