Acupuncture Can Help Reduce Chemotherapy and Radiation Related Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

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A cancer diagnosis commonly includes a significant dose of emotional turmoil filled with fear and anxiety. Unfortunately, many treatments also bring with them physical complications including nerve pain (neuropathy), joint and muscle pain, nausea, insomnia, and hot flashes to name but a few. While many cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation are life saving for many people, patients are commonly left to suffer these side effects without relief.

Enter acupuncture. For thousands of years, billions of people throughout the world have experienced the benefits of acupuncture. While Western medicine has been slow to adapt, new research continues to turn the tide of acceptance. More and more physicians and hospitals are utilizing acupuncture in conjunction with traditional medical procedures. This partnership has helped many patients find respite from the common issues related to treatment.

A recent study completed through the Oregon Health and Science University looked at the use of acupuncture in the clinical oncology setting. According to the researchers:

“The addition of acupuncture as a treatment option at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) has greatly enhanced oncology patient care, on a physical and psychosocial dimension.”

Neuropathy is a common side effect of chemotherapy and/or radiation with up to 40% of patients dealing with this issue. Neuropathy occurs when the nerves in the arms or legs become irritated, resulting in pain, numbness, or weakness. As no medication has been found to provide relief, acupuncture can afford a natural and effective therapy. According to one study:

“Viewed by many patients as a natural alternative to medicine, acupuncture is among the non-pharmacologic interventions already recommended for patients with cancer to address pain.”

Nausea and vomiting are often side effects of cancer treatments. Once again, acupuncture has proven it’s worth as noted here in the Journal of Clinical Oncology:

“This review complements data on postoperative nausea and vomiting, suggesting a biologic effect of acupuncture-point stimulation.”

Seeking out integrative therapies to manage symptoms is certainly a growing trend among patients with cancer as well as many physicians. With many patients receiving a combination of care that includes chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, there are countless opportunities for acupuncture in the spectrum of care. Acupuncture, increasingly available in the oncology setting, has proven to be a safe and effective treatment that can offer the additional support patients are looking for to manage symptoms associated with cancer and cancer treatment.

Vertigo and Dizziness Shows Immediate Improvement with Acupuncture

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Acupuncture continues to prove it’s validity and effectiveness within the medical community. Many hospital emergency rooms now offer acupuncture as an alternative treatment for many common conditions. Although the benefits of acupuncture have been recognized by millions over thousands of years, Western medicine has been slow to adopt.

Within the current healthcare crisis in the United States has come opportunity. Many insurers are now measuring the effectiveness of treatment and reimbursing accordingly. No longer can doctors and hospitals bill out large amounts for services without tangible results. Acupuncture fills the gap when it comes to both cost effectiveness and clinical benefit.

A recent study set in a hospital emergency room looked to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture for patients presenting with vertigo and dizziness. Their findings speak for themselves:

Acupuncture demonstrates a significant immediate effect in reducing discomforts and VAS (a symptom severity scale) of both dizziness and vertigo. This study provides clinical evidence on the efficacy and safety of acupuncture to treat dizziness and vertigo in the emergency department.

Another study looked to find an alternative to traditional treatment as they noted, “No medication for dizziness in current use has well-established curative or prophylactic value or is suitable for long-term palliative use.” Their findings were just as encouraging:

The results from this study will provide clinical evidence on the efficacy and safety of acupuncture in patients with chronic dizziness.

If you suffer from vertigo or dizziness, life can be significantly challenging. Even simple day to day activities can be overwhelming. Many of the common medications prescribed can result in side effects are common and include tiredness, dry mouth, and vomiting. Besides the incredible results acupuncture provides, there are no significant side effects.

Recently on a regular visit, one of my patients mentioned her concern regarding some dizziness she was currently experiencing. Most unsettling to her was a flight planned to see her grandchildren as flying would usually worsen her symptoms. Acupuncture had been of benefit for her in the past for headaches, so she asked about undergoing a couple treatments prior to her travels. Upon return, she noted significant relief as well as no symptoms as a result of flying.

Here is a testimonial I received from another patient a few years back regarding her experience with acupuncture after a bout of chronic dizziness:

About a year ago, I returned from a trip to Hawaii. I had some mild motion sickness during the trip, which is not unusual for me. When we arrived home though, the sense of mild nausea and disorientation didn’t go away. Several days passed, and it was getting no better. The only relief I could find was to sleep, but the more I slept, the more exhausted I felt.

I turned to the internet to research vertigo and the treatments that were available. When I read a recommendation to see an acupuncturist, I thought of Dr. Perrine, who is already my chiropractor. I went in to see him immediately, and the first treatment relieved my misery for several hours. I did not find the needles painful at all, and the experience was actually relaxing in a way.

Each subsequent treatment relieved the symptoms a bit longer than the last, until finally the symptoms went away 100%. As I recall it was resolved within about 2 weeks, and I have not had any problems since. Thanks Dr. Perrine!

If you suffer from dizziness or vertigo and have not tried acupuncture, it will be well worth a try! Contact our office if you would like some additional information.

www.DrDavidCPerrine.com

Amazing Recovery from Sciatica After Acupuncture

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Sciatica describes a condition that causes pain that generally starts in the buttocks and radiates down the back of the leg, possibly as far as the foot. Sometimes it is paired with numbness or tingling in the same regions. Sciatica is more of a description than a diagnosis. It is like saying you have a sore throat. That tells you WHAT you feel but not WHY you feel it. Sciatica tells us we have pain, but not why. It can be caused by arthritis, a bulging disc, or muscle spasms in the gluteal region. It is essential to visit a doctor that will uncover the underlying cause rather than simply cover up symptoms. As a chiropractor, that is what I am trained to do.

Once we know what is wrong we can focus on returning patients to health. With many of the people that see me, the pain levels are so significant that the primary focus is to simply provide relief. Jeff’s story is a great example. He was referred to me by a friend of his who had seen me for a similar issue. When we first met, he could barely walk and was in severe pain that started in his hip and radiated down to his leg. Classic “sciatica.” My initial recommendation was to begin acupuncture to help modify his pain as quickly as possible. Although a bit hesitant, he decided to begin treatment.

Jeff’s response was nothing short of amazing. He noted relief immediately after treatment and within a few weeks was pain free. This allowed us now to focus on the structural issues that set off his pain to begin with. Although the responses to acupuncture vary from condition to condition and person to person, I’ve witnessed many similar outcomes over the years.

One recent medical journal review looked at 11 different studies that were completed that evaluated the benefits of acupuncture for the treatment of sciatica. A total of 962 patients were enrolled in these studies. Their findings prove what practitioners practicing acupuncture have known for thousands of years. Acupuncture works very well when it comes to treating painful conditions such as sciatica. Here is what they said:

“In conclusion, the results of this systematic review suggest that the use of acupuncture may more effectively relieve leg pain/lumbago and improve global assessment of sciatica when compared with NSAID (anti-inflammatory pain medication) treatment. Moreover, adjuvant acupuncture may enhance the effect of medications in leg pain/lumbago relief. To patients, acupuncture points appear more effective than nonacupoints. Acupuncture is relatively safe and is rarely associated with serious adverse events in patients with sciatica.”

Before you spend your time and money having a variety of tests done that rarely change treatment decisions, look towards conservative treatments like chiropractic and acupuncture. I think you will happy you did!

Is Acupuncture Scientific or Simply a Placebo?

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In a previous blog, “How Does Acupuncture Work,” I explained how the nervous system is the master controller of the body and the fact that the brain controls the nervous system. Science is now proving that acupuncture works by reestablishing normal communication between the brain and the body. In this blog I will show you some of the research that proves my point.

When an acupuncture point is stimulated, it’s affects are not localized. For example, a point on the outside of the toenail on the little toe called Bladder 67 has been used for repositioning breech babies in the womb! (See the study here) How is that possible? Stimulating that specific point created a direct link through the nervous system to the uterus to trigger the change. Thanks to modern science we are now able to SEE changes in the brain through what is called functional MRI (fMRI). Think of fMRI as doppler radar for the brain. The image below is an example of fMRI. The red area shows increased activity.

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This technology was recently used is a study through Harvard University and published in the prestigious medical journal Pain (access the article here). They wanted to see if there were changes in the brain that could be seen in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome being treated using acupuncture. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition where the nerve in the wrist is being compressed resulting in pain and numbness in the hand. The results below were astounding.

Let’s look at the images in “B”. The left brain is a healthy control. The middle shows a person suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome BEFORE treatment. Storms were definitely brewing as you can see from the bright yellow. Now look at the image on the right. That is the image of a carpal tunnel patient AFTER five weeks of acupuncture. Not only did they note improvement in symptoms, their brain activity is actually calmer than the healthy control!

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According the the authors:

“Neuroimaging studies in humans have validated that acupuncture modulates a widely distributed network of brain regions also involved in pain perception including limbic areas, sensorimotor and prefrontal cortices, brainstem nuclei and the cerebellum.”

In English, acupuncture has been scientifically proven through medical imaging to have a wide ranging affect on many areas of the brain. So now when someone asks me if acupuncture benefits are all in your head, I can honestly say YES!

Another study used PET-CT scans to evaluate brain changes for migraine patients undergoing acupuncture (see the study here). They concluded that:

“Acupuncture stimulation of different points on similar body regions in migraine patients reduced pain and induced different levels of cerebral glucose metabolism in pain-related brain regions. These findings may support the functional specificity of migraine treatment related acupoint.” 


But acupuncture is also proven to reduce inflammation. A study in the journal Molecular Biology uncovered how this happens.

  • Acupuncture downregulates (or turns off) pro-inflammatory cells known as M1 macrophages.
  • Acupuncture also upregulates (or activates) anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages, thereby reducing pain and swelling.
  • M2 macrophages are a source of anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 (IL-10); by upregulating M2 macrophages, acupuncture leads to an increase in IL-10, which subsequently helps relieve pain and inflammation.

Deep stuff for sure, but the main takeaway is the fact that acupuncture has proven physiological benefits that go beyond those of placebo. According to the researchers:

“Now, scientists can quantifiably measure specific biochemical processes triggered by acupuncture and the resultant positive health outcomes.”

This may help you understand how acupuncture has been of benefit for pain, but how can it possibly help with issues like high blood pressure or PMS? Research has shown how acupuncture points not only connect with the brain, but also the organs. If you are not familiar with acupuncture, the points are located on what are known as meridians. These meridians were discovered thousands of years ago and named after the organ systems they affect. The names include Liver, Lung, Small Intestine, Large Intestine, Kidney, Bladder, Stomach, Gall Bladder, Spleen, and Heart (Triple Heater and Pericardium are not traditional organs in Western medicine). There are twelve main meridians that run bilaterally in the body.

A study in the journal Nature demonstrated the direct connection between the sensory nerves in the skin and the organs of the body. Here is what they found:

“Various studies have demonstrated that acupoints show mechanical hypersensitivity and have high electrical conductance. Stimulation of acupoints produces needling sensations caused by the activation of small diameter afferent nerve fibres and therapeutic effects on the associated visceral organs, which is likely due to the release of endogenous opioids.”

This explains how acupuncture has been shown to be effective in the treatment of a variety of conditions―from asthma to irritable bowel syndrome, PMS to dermatitis. The list is much too long to mention, so for those interested in the medical research, the World Health Organization put together a comprehensive study:

ACUPUNCTURE: REVIEW AND ANALYSIS OF REPORTS ON CONTROLLED CLINICAL TRIALS

If you are still a bit unsure with respect to the medical effectiveness of acupuncture, take a look at the first minute of the 2005 BBC Documentary on acupuncture below. They set out to discover whether acupuncture’s benefits were more than a simple placebo. To lay that question to rest, you will see a young Chinese patient having open heart surgery without general anesthesia!

The evidence is undeniable. Acupuncture’s effectiveness has been proven by clinical outcomes as well as scientific research.  As the title of my blog notes, “Where Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Science,” I will continue to provide the latest research on acupuncture to help you live your life to it’s fullest. Please contact me if you have any questions. I’d be happy to discuss them with you!

Acupuncture Brought His Anxiety and Depression Under Control

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According to Medical News Today, anxiety disorders affect 40 million people in the United States (U.S.). It is the most common group of mental illnesses in the country. However, only about one third of sufferers receive treatment. While medication and counseling can be effective therapies, an ancient form a care has shown great promise.

Reuters health reported on a study from the University of York in the UK. The study recruited 755 people with moderate to severe depression. Seventy percent of the patients had been on anti-depressants and continued on them throughout the study. The study concluded that both acupuncture and counseling (or both) had a strongly positive effect on depression, lowering the depression scale from an average of 16 out of 27 at the start of the study, to 9 for acupuncture and 11 for counseling at its conclusion. The benefits lasted 3 months after treatment had concluded.

One of my long time patients, I’ll call him Sam to protect his privacy, came to me a few years ago for chiropractic treatment for chronic neck pain. During our visit, he asked if there were any supplements he could take to help his anxiety and depression. I explained that there are certain botanicals that have been of benefit―however, I explained that they would be treating symptoms rather than attempting to balance his nervous system (I do want to stress that I encouraged Sam to seek professional counseling as well to help reconcile any underlying emotional issues).

Sam was very skeptical when I mentioned acupuncture. He asked me if I could provide him some more information about how acupuncture might work, which I happily furnished. As I continued to address his neck issues over time utilizing chiropractic, he would continue to ask me questions about acupuncture. Then on one visit, he told me he wanted like to try it.

After a few treatments, Sam said he noticed a difference regarding his emotional state. Here’s how he explained it:

“Before I started acupuncture, it was like I was standing in a room covered with graffiti on the walls. My mind was just out of control. Now I see the walls clearing. There is a new state of calm.”

Sam continued to see improvement and after a month of care, I told him to call me if his feelings returned. Every so often, Sam will come in to “retune” his mind. Acupuncture works by helping rewire the brain. Similar to what happens with a computer virus, our brain’s software can become corrupted by various life stresses. Stimulating specific points on the body reestablishes normal brain function, calming the mental storms that can arise. What’s really cool…studies have proven this using advanced medical imaging such as functional MRI.

The most important takeaway…there is hope. If you or someone you know suffers from anxiety and/or depression, acupuncture can be a safe and effective therapy. With virtually no side effects, it is certainly a worthwhile course of action. Please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to help you find that peace and calm we all desire.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

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For thousands of years, millions of people throughout the world have benefitted from acupuncture. When it comes to acupuncture in the United States, though, it’s history only goes back a few decades, to 1971 to be precise. While in China during the Nixon/Mao meetings, a journalist from The New York Times became ill and experienced acupuncture treatment with great success. He wrote an article (here) when he returned and this became the first introduction of acupuncture to the general public.

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When introduced to new and seemingly unconventional things, we have a tendency to react with skepticism. This is certainly understandable when it comes to acupuncture. The Chinese culture is quite different than ours―language, customs, politics, food, etc. This was even more evident back in the 1970’s as China had closed it’s borders after the Cultural revolution in the 1940’s.

Let’s add the fact that acupuncture was a procedure involving needles stuck in different parts of the body to cure a variety of ailments without medication. Seems ridiculous. I was very skeptical myself regarding acupuncture before I heard a story told by one of my professors from chiropractic school. In my first post I explained how a cardiologist from St. Louis convinced me otherwise, describing how he witnessed an open thoracic (chest) surgery using acupuncture anesthesia. More on that later.

When I think of how acupuncture has become more mainstream after almost 50 years after that initial article was published, I am reminded of a great quote:

“All great truths go through three stages. At first they are ridiculed, then violently attacked, and finally accepted as self evident.”

We have begun to enter the final stage (self-evidence) as acupuncture principles are now taught in some of the most prestigious medical schools in the United States including Harvard and Stanford. There are also numerous hospitals including the esteemed Mayo Clinic and Massachusetts General Hospital that now offer acupuncture services to their patients.

According to the Word Health Organization (WHO), the specialized agency within the United Nations concerned with international health, acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for a wide variety of conditions from pain to high blood pressure. So now that we have established the fact that is does work, how does it work?

The question I most commonly hear is, “What is on the needles?” Because western medicine focuses so much on medication, it is assumed there must be something on them that provides relief. The needles are simply sanitized solid stainless steel. The effects are due to the stimulation of the acupuncture point, not the needle itself. This is why pressure, electrical stimulation, or laser will create similar physiological changes.

Think of acupuncture points as keys on a piano. When stimulated, each point creates a specific “tone” in the brain. Over thousands of years, brilliant healers have discovered how various combinations of points result in very specific physiological responses just like Mozart and Beethoven discovered how specific combinations of notes on a piano created beautiful symphonies.

In the body, the nervous system is the master controller and what controls the nervous system is the brain. When functioning optimally, the body and brain communicate with clarity and precision. However, injury, infection, toxins, or stress can cause interference in this communication. As a result, the brain cannot properly direct the body’s normal physiological functions necessary to maintain or regain health.

The nervous system works through electrical impulses. Stimulation of the nervous system causes electrical impulses to move from the body to the brain. The brain interprets the information and then sends signals back to the body organs instructing them on what needs to be done. Just like the impulses that transmit your voice over your mobile phone require a smooth connection, so it is with your nervous system. If there is “static” in your body (that is, interference due to physical, chemical, or emotional stressors), the brain cannot properly interpret the information it receives from the body. Without proper feedback, the brain loses it’s ability to properly regulate the body resulting in diminished health. If this interference occurs long enough or is severe enough, dysfunction turns into disease.

When the nervous system becomes corrupted, it acts similar to a computer infected by a virus. It doesn’t matter if you turn the computer on or off, delete and reinstall the software―until the virus is eliminated and communication returns to normal, the computer will continue to malfunction. Stimulating acupuncture points directly affects the brain and restores normal communication with the body. It acts like anti-virus software by eliminating interference and reestablishing normal communication.

Through the use of advanced medical technology such as electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction velocity (NCV), and functional MRI (fMRI), acupuncture has transitioned from a questionable oddity to a scientifically proven treatment for a wide variety of conditions. My next blog will take a look at some of the research that has brought acupuncture into the medical mainstream.

Remember that story I discussed earlier about my professor witnessing open heart surgery with acupuncture? The BBC Documentary below literally begins with such a surgery (really, within the first 10 seconds). It is absolutely amazing to see!

 

 

Carpal Tunnel Relief Without Drugs or Surgery…With Acupuncture

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Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) refers to a condition of the wrist that often results in pain, numbness, and weakness of the hand. It has a very distinctive pattern as noted in the diagram below, affecting the thumb, index, middle, and half of the ringer finger. As technology has progressed, carpal tunnel has become epidemic. It is generally caused by repetitive motions of the arm and hand that stimulates inflammation and swelling in the wrist. This swelling creates pressure on the delicate median nerve that innervates the hand. Like stepping on a garden hose, the nerve becomes choked and irritated with proper flow of the nerve being restricted.carpal-tunnel-1.jpg

In a study from the medical journal Brain, acupuncture was shown to work by literally rewiring the brain. The study was completed at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard’s teaching hospital. Using advanced imaging called Functional MRI (fMRI), researchers were able to see altered brain activity in patients suffering from carpal tunnel. They also noted a slowing of the median nerve itself.

Those who received traditional acupuncture not only experienced relief from their symptoms, but had objective changes in brain function. What surprised researchers was the fact that damaged sensory areas of the brain noted in the before MRI’s were partially repaired. This reveals a few amazing facts. First, carpal tunnel syndrome is more than just a structural problem in the wrist. As such, the traditional view that steroids or surgical release are the only options is invalid. Although some patients may require surgery, acupuncture provides a very safe and effective first option.

Below are some images from the study. Without getting into the details of fMRI, the yellow areas reveal brain activity. Look at the “B” line. The brain on the left is a healthy control. A few small areas of yellow are noted. The middle image is a patient suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome BEFORE treatment.  Notice the large areas of bright yellow indicating altered activity. The brain on the right is the fMRI of this patient’s brain AFTER 5 weeks of acupuncture treatment, demonstrating normalized brain function. As you can see, the results were remarkable.

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Now let me really blow your mind. Some of these patients received acupuncture in points located in the arm and hand of the side of symptoms, but other patients in the study received acupuncture on specific points of the opposite leg. Symptomatic improvement as well as fMRI changes and measurable improvement in nerve conduction velocity (nerve flow) were similar for both groups! The sham group, on the other hand, did not show improvement.

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Here is what the authors had to say:

“Indeed, long-term acupuncture treatment in chronic neuropathic pain patients has been found to alter cortical somatosensory processing and produce beneficial changes in somatotopy.”

Translation? Acupuncture restores the brain’s sensory input in conditions involving nerve related pain. Good news for ALL sufferers dealing with chronic pain.

So how long do the results last? The study checked back with study participants three months later and found many patients maintained their improvement or actually continued to improve.

Let my patient Bonnie tell you her story:

“I suffered from chronic carpal tunnel syndrome sustained most likely from years of computer work. I had severe numbness and tingling in my right hand and sometimes in my left hand as well. Holding a fork or knife to eat was impossible without discomfort. I was constantly trying to ‘wake up’ my hand.

My family practice doctor referred me to occupational therapy and prescribed anti-inflammatory pills. I was also given a brace. Surgery was an option, but I was skeptical since I have known others who had hand surgery only to their regret.

When I drove into the parking lot of Dr. Perrine’s office for the first time, my fingers, like usual, were numb from gripping the steering wheel of my car. I was skeptical and tentative, but open to try something different for my hand problem. When I left the parking lot after my first acupuncture treatment I was convinced and hopeful that this was going to be my answer to a years-long problem. My first acupuncture treatment was nothing short of a miracle for me. My regular treatments significantly reduce my symptoms and have brought back full mobility to my hand so I can lead a normal life.”

As impressive the results of acupuncture may be for carpal tunnel, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. You must change the habits that brought it on from the start. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Reduce your force and relax your grip. If your work involves a cash register or keyboard, for instance, hit the keys softly. For prolonged handwriting, use a big pen with an oversized, soft grip adapter and free-flowing ink.
  • Take frequent breaks. Gently stretch and bend hands and wrists periodically. Alternate tasks when possible. This is especially important if you use equipment that vibrates or that requires you to exert a great amount of force.
  • Watch your form. Avoid bending your wrist all the way up or down. A relaxed middle position is best. Keep your keyboard at elbow height or slightly lower.
  • Improve your posture. Incorrect posture rolls shoulders forward, shortening your neck and shoulder muscles and compressing nerves in your neck. This can affect your wrists, fingers and hands.
  • Change your computer mouse. Make sure that your computer mouse is comfortable and doesn’t strain your wrist.

My video below also demonstrates a few simple stretches you can do to help reduce wrist stressors.

Medical research continue to prove what millions of people have know for thousands of years, acupuncture works…naturally.

Effective Migraine Relief After Years of Suffering Using Acupuncture and Chiropractic

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If you suffer from migraine headaches, I don’t have to explain to you how they can literally make your life miserable beyond belief. Studies reveal that roughly 1 in 7 suffer from severe headaches with women outnumbering men almost two to one. There are a number of medications on the market that target migraine sufferers, yet many are ineffective and can also be quite costly.

Kacy had come to me for back issues as a young teen. A few years later she returned to discuss potential options for the chronic migraines from which she was experiencing. She noted that on a monthly basis, she would have a period of time that would be virtually incapacitating from a pain standpoint, limiting her ability to do even basic tasks. I don’t recall, but she may have been the one that brought up the possibility of acupuncture.

We began to use a combination of adjustments and acupuncture to help naturally balance her nervous system. Soon, Kacy was finding relief and now sees me about once a month to maintain her improvement. Here is what she had to say regarding her experience:

“I was having chronic migraine headaches about once a month and taking prescription drugs to get rid of them. I then started seeing Dr. Perrine for acupuncture in addition to adjustments and was excited when I started to see results right away. Early on in treatment, when I would suffer a migraine, the pain was considerably less and easy to get rid of. After a couple of months of acupuncture, my migraines went away and I haven’t had one in over a year!  I’m still seeing Dr. Perrine for regular adjustments and acupuncture, delighted with how well it makes me feel. I highly recommend acupuncture as an alternative treatment to prescription drugs. It has been extremely effective and improved my overall health.”

A new drug has recently been announced that is a monthly injection to reduce the frequency of migraines. The cost…$6,900 a year! That is more than 10 times the cost of acupuncture. That being said, long term side effects will not be known for years. With thousands of years of clinical studies, high patient satisfaction and proven benefits through medical research, acupuncture sure sounds like a better option.

Researchers in China found that properly administered acupuncture therapy may reduce the frequency of the most common types of migraines. The research, which builds on a body of knowledge from smaller studies, looked at how true acupuncture compared with sham acupuncture in reducing migraine attacks and symptoms in those who have been battling the condition for at least a year. Patients in the true acupuncture group saw a reduction in the average number of migraines per month, with no adverse events reported requiring “special medical intervention.”

If you think acupuncture is still something the medical community ridicules, a recent study in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association put it’s stamp of approval on acupuncture for migraines noting:

“Among patients with migraine without aura, true acupuncture may be associated with long-term reduction in migraine recurrence compared with sham acupuncture or assigned to a waiting list.”

If you or someone you know suffers from migraines and has not investigated acupuncture, why continue to wait? Side effects are extremely rare when performed by a trained practitioner and the results can be nothing short of miraculous. What do you have to lose besides that horrible pain?

Did Acupuncture Save My Dog?

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This is Ripken. He was the sweetest dog you could ever meet. When Ripken was about 11 years old, he had an injury that had us days away from putting him down. Fortunately, acupuncture saved him. If you think acupuncture is simply a placebo, take a few minutes to listen to or read his story. I think he might disagree.

Dogs Never Lie 

If it worked for Ripken…maybe it can work for you, too!

Plantar Fasciitis Resolved in a Professional Baseball Using Acupuncture

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As a lifelong baseball fan, I have had the privilege to provide chiropractic care for the Kansas City Royals during Spring Training since 2005. Working along side one of the top medical staffs in all of professional sports has been an amazing experience. One of the things I have appreciated most is their openness to embrace what have been considered “non-traditional” therapies such as chiropractic.

Around the year 2009, I was in the training room while a player was being treated for plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes (plantar fascia).

Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning. As you get up and move more, the pain normally decreases, but it might return after long periods of standing or after rising from sitting.

That day, one of the trainers asked me if there was anything from a chiropractic standpoint that may be of benefit for this players heel pain. I explained that addressing his hip alignment was essential from a chiropractic perspective, but I also mentioned acupuncture. Proving my previous point of willingness to look for complimentary therapies, he asked me to bring in my needles next visit.

When I asked the player how long he had been suffering, he noted that his pain began in September of the prior year while rounding second base. Remember, Spring Training begins in February, so he had been dealing with this problem for over four months! Although a bit anxious, he welcomed the opportunity to find some relief. A few days later I returned to the training room. To my excitement (and his amazement) he noted improvement. Using a combination of acupuncture and physical therapy, he was ready to get back on the field within a couple weeks.

There was an interesting study I found in The British Medical Journal that evaluated the use of acupuncture in patients who had heel pain for over one year, attempted physical therapy, AND utilized orthotic supports without relief. Their finding? “Our study demonstrates that acupuncture is effective in treating patients with chronic heel pain due to plantar fasciitis and that the addition of trigger point acupuncture in poor or non-responders may be useful.” Boom!

The good news, you do not need to be a professional athlete in order to experience the benefits of acupuncture for plantar fasciitis. For example, Terry has been a longtime patient who has utilized both chiropractic and acupuncture. After suffering with chronic heel pain and finding no relief with traditional therapies, he has found relief with acupuncture.

Then there is Lucy, a teenage volleyball player who had suffered from plantar fasciitis without resolution for almost six months. Last year, I had the opportunity to treat Lucy’s mother, Lee, for knee pain using both chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture. Frustrated with Lucy’s continued pain, Lee decided to bring Lucy in for an evaluation. To Lucy’s initial dread, I recommend acupuncture. She was a trouper and was actually surprised how painless it was. After a few treatments I asked Lucy how she was doing. Her response (with a smile), ” I was able to practice volleyball pain free. I didn’t even think about my feet.” This past weekend was a true test for Lucy…six games. Again with a smile she told me she was able to play every game without pain!

Whether you are a professional athlete, a mature adult, or an active adolescent, one thing is for sure―acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment option for plantar fasciitis.  If you or someone you know suffers from plantar fasciitis or heel pain and have tried traditional therapy, it’s time to try something new (which is actually been around for thousands of years). My recommendation is to find a certified sports physician that either practices acupuncture or can refer you to a professional familiar with orthopedic conditions. I think Lucy would agree!