For my maiden blog, I considered a few options that would capture the imagination of my adoring readers. Would it be a topical discussion around cupping or acupuncture within sport, a more philosophical take to put forward the virtues of pragmatism in research and clinical practice, or a provocative piece on placebo and why we should stop using the term in healthcare? To anyone who has done a course with me, yes you’re right, Superhero’s were also right up there, but comparing the inner demons of Messrs Wayne and Parker to acupuncture (a marvel to behold I promise thee!), it could not be given proper justice via a few hundred words. And so, I settled on something which I have been asked countless times on courses across the globe – what conditions are most responsive to acupuncture. This is a personal experience piece, and although I value the role of research to inform our practice, I also believe clinicians value an expert opinion. Please bear in mind that the below pearls of wisdom are in context of properly screened and assessed patients, and are never performed in isolation.
- Pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain (PPGP) – Not surprising, given that this was the focus of my PhD. Whilst acupuncture does not seem to completely resolve symptoms, the benefits attained are invaluable to sufferers. Not a lot of options are available to PPGP sufferers, and this seemingly safe (see this systematic review I co-authored) treatment is a welcome addition to ante natal clinics.
- Headaches – Whether it be migraines or tension-type, whacking in a few cheeky little needles works wonders. Less intense, less duration, less frequent. I have yet to see this transpire into a surge of baked goods at my door, but I live in hope.
- Tendonopathies – Whether it be an elbow or ankle, patients return to normal function very quickly, and with proper advice can prevent it from returning. BEWARE, on very rare occasions patients can increase their life expectancy by 1000 years.
- Osteoarthritis – Very much symptom management, often with the primary goal of delaying the inevitable arthroplasty. By providing short-medium term pain relief, I am able to get in and work on function, ROM and strength.
- Hot flushes – Regardless of their cause, often some auricular or body acupuncture can help alleviate symptoms. However, one of the downsides to being devilishly handsome is that a hot flush can appear very suddenly when I first introduce myself. This resolves itself instantly when my personality is made apparent.
Although I would say these are conditions that I expect to react very well to acupuncture, and I will often consider needling as a first line approach for these clients, there is a raft of conditions I would consider acupuncture with and have had great success in treating. If you have ever needled any of the above, and not had a 110% success rate, you are to blame and must instantly book yourself onto one of my courses. Failure to do so will result in being forever laden with a harrowing backstory that compels you to inflict vengeance on any felon.