- Saint Joseph, MO
- Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Accepting new patients
Why It's Hard To Tell Patients Where Needles Might Be Placed
I've been answering questions on this site for a couple of years now. There's been a recent trend towards acupressure questions which I addressed in my first blog post. Generally,...
Why It's Difficult to Answer Acupressure/Pressure Point Questions
As part of this site, patients have the capability of asking questions of practitioners and subject matter experts. Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of questions that take the...
Can I exercise after acupuncture treatment?
Can acupuncture fix eye twitching?
How many acupuncture sessions are needed for chronic pain?
There are some statistics I can throw at you though. First off, acupuncture has about a 5% non-response rate. In plain english this means about 5% of the population receive no benefit from acupuncture. We don't know why this is the case, and there's no test anyone can give you to determine if you're in that 5%. You have to try acupuncture and see what happens. The upside is there is a 95% chance acupuncture will work just fine for you.
Second, we do have some general statistical information around number of treatments required across pain conditions. The average appears to be somewhere between 8 and 10. Please keep in mind, this is an *average*. That means some people responded in fewer than 8 treatments and some people required greater than 10. Again, there is no way to predict in advance where you might end up.
In addition to these two points, there is one more thing to keep in mind. In my experience, folks inside the 95% who respond to acupuncture tend to vary in terms of how fast they respond. I've had people get relief in as few as 1 treatment and I've had people who took 2 or 3 treatments before they experienced any change. If you decide to try acupuncture, you need to be able to commit to at least 3 sessions. Going one time then deciding it didn't work isn't really trying acupuncture.
Can acupuncture fix insomnia?
What type of acupuncture is best for sciatica?
Unless you happen to be in one of the handful of states that have large numbers of acupuncturists, you'll likely only find folks who practice so-called "TCM" or "Traditional Chinese Medicine". We could argue for hours regarding how "traditional" this system really is, but that's neither here nor there.
For your purposes, can a TCM practitioner help with your sciatica? The answer is, yes, most likely they'll be able to at least make you more comfortable.
Can acupuncture help stomach bloating?
How long does acupuncture take to work for IBS?
Can I drink alcohol after acupuncture treatment?
How often should I get acupuncture for pain?
If the pain is consistently less than 8/10, then one treatment per week is usually sufficient to get pain levels headed down.
Can I get acupuncture for pain?
Can you fix an earache?
If the ache is due to nerve entrapment or muscle tension then acupuncture can be a very good choice for treatment.
What can be done for chronic tiredness?
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have a pretty good track record in this space. You're going to want to make sure you're seeing an actual licensed acupuncturist rather than someone providing "acupuncture like" services under the scope of some other license. Go to NCCAOM.org and use their "Find a Practitioner" link.
Conventional medicine can sometimes help, particularly if the fatigue is the result of long term symptoms from some other infection (like COVID or Lyme). Blood tests would the the initial step here to see if the original pathogen can be identified.
Can you help with chronic pain?
Where do acupuncture needles go for depression?
The problem is two-fold:
1. Chinese medicine uses an entirely different diagnostic method that is looking at your entire system, not just one part. Health issues that are considered one thing in conventional medicine often have multiple potential causes in Chinese medicine. Without evaluating and diagnosing you, I have no idea why *you* are experiencing depression. Since treatment hangs on the diagnosis and I haven't diagnosed you, I can't tell you how I'd treat.
2. There are multiple different systems of acupuncture, not everyone practices the same way, and there's no general script or method for issues like in conventional medicine. Even assuming I had enough information to diagnose, there is no guarantee that a different acupuncturist would use my approach. Therefore, any needle locations I listed would be useless to you unless you're coming to see me.
Like I said, this is a question I get a lot, and I understand where it comes from. There's no reason that the average person should understand anything about the details of Chinese medicine. What I usually suggest for people in your position is to call around to several acupuncturists in your area and see which ones offer a free consult. Meet with a few and get an idea how they practice, where they're likely to place needles, and how many needles they're likely to use. Then make an appointment with the practitioner that made you the most comfortable.
Please make sure you're seeing a board certified, state licensed acupuncturist. A chiropractor or physical therapist is NOT the same thing (a PT in particular would be way out of scope treating an issue like this. In other words in a very gray area legally). To find licensed acupuncturists in your area you can go to NCCAOM.org and use their "Find a Practitioner" lookup.
What can be done for lower back pain?
If this is acute pain that has persisted for several weeks or more chronic pain without any complicating factors, then things like acupuncture, chiropractic, or physical therapy can help alleviate the issue. Keep in mind that it may take multiple modalities (i.e. acupuncture and chiropractic) and multiple treatment sessions. If your primary care is concerned at all about what they see in the image, you may be looking at a neurological consult and, potentially, surgery.
Are there any natural treatments for high blood pressure?
Can migraines be fixed?
How many acupuncture sessions are needed for a disc hernia?
Keep in mind, this is a statistical average; some patients required more than 10 sessions and some required fewer than 8. There's no way to predict in advance where you might end up.
Does acupuncture fix chronic pain?
1. No change. Acupuncture has about a 5% non-response rate. At a population level roughly 5% of people will not respond to acupuncture treatment. This means that 95% of people will, so the odds are in your favor here.
2. After a series of treatments, the pain goes away and doesn't come back.
3. After a series of treatments, the pain goes down and will stay at the new, lower, level provided the patient receives periodic treatment. The treatment interval can vary wildly - I have some patients that I see every 4-6 weeks and some that I see every 3-6 months.
Which of these are you? No one has any idea prior to evaluation and treatment.
Can acupuncture fix ankle joint pain?
Acupuncture can sometimes cause a complete cessation of pain that persists more or less indefinitely.
Sometimes we end up in a maintenance situation where most of the time the pain is either not present or present at a very low level. Eventually, the pain will start to increase and the patient will need another acupuncture session. The time between sessions can be weeks or months.
Some people (about 5% of the population) do not respond to acupuncture treatment. Some people respond, but the rate of improvement is so slow that it's not functional for them.
If you haven't yet done so, your first stop should be your primary care provider. Get your ankle x-rayed so that you and your providers (including any acupuncturists) have an idea of what's going on.