Anyone had acupuncture?

I’ve got a dodgy shoulder at the moment and have booked an acupuncture appointment on the recommendation of a (non-D) friend. I’ve never had it, so is it ok and should I look out for anything unusual D-wise??

I had it on my ankle at the suggestion of my mother in law. I’d sprained it in high school and then it would occasionally “go out”, often with somewhat horrific/ comic consequences. I have all sorts of bone spurs in there and stuff like that. I don’t think it helped too much but it didn’t cause any problems either.

I had it for a shoulder impingement years ago. It took about 5 treatments. It was a seventh-generation Chinese acupuncturist. she was able to completely heal it (I had very limited range of motion). When my other shoulder got the same problem, it didn’t work, and I evnrtually had to have arthroscopic surgery to fix it. I’ve also had it for tennis elbow with limited results.

I had accupuncture for low energylevels and it worked great but it really only gave me short term relief!

Full Disclosure: I am currently a 2nd year student of Acupuncture/Oriental Medicine. As such, I offer somewhat biased info. I am a natural skeptic though, so I take little at face value without study, research and testing. That includes energy based healing and such things.

Acuptuncture can treat a tremendoulsy wide range of issues. Some better than others, and a good practitioner makes a world of difference. First thing to check is if the acupuncturist is licensed or certified. Some states allow MDs to train 200 hours for certification. Thta gives them a very limited scope of knowledge about it compared to a full acupuncture program which is ~3500 hours and includes a BS and MS as part of the proces.

“Dodgy” isn’t clear as to what the symptoms are, but frozen shoulder for example is very treatable with acupuncture and best combined with physical therapy. --I happen to be suffering from that right now and have gotten a lot of progress in the last few weeks; mostly from the physical stretching I think though.

As for interactions with diabetes: the only concern in terms of contra-indications is needling or massage on a reent insulin injection site as it could accelerate the absorbtion.

Feel free to ask me any additional questions.


[edit] I see that you are UK based, so I can’t say if my comment about certified vs. licensed applies on your side of the Atlantic.

Thanks Chris
By dodgy I mean I have pain in the shoulder joint and when I move my arm backwards I get pain shooting down the bicep. There is a lot of “crunchiness” too! It could be frozen shoulder as I had something similar about 6 years ago. When I stopped driving to work it went away. Huh!!
I’ve booked an appointment on Tuesday on a recommendation from a friend so I’ll see how it goes. I’ll probably be totally knackered by then cos it is waking me up during the night.
I saw my GP but he just gave me painkiller gel to rub on and I might as well be rubbing water on it the good it is doing!!

Acupuncture has never been proven to work when put under scrutiny. Save you money. Trust the scientific method.

There are so many anecdotal success stories though so I’m willing to give it a try.

Pain shooting down the bicep makes me think that there is nerve compression, possibly in the neck. The crunchiness sounds similiar to my frozen shoulder though. I’m willing to bet that the treatment will give you significant relief from pain as well as increased ranged of motion. The chronic nature of the condition will likely mean that the improvements will fade after a few days, but that all depends on the underlying causes.

I find it disappointing when western doctors simply rely on pain meds. Western medicine has so much to offer (just think about how us diabetics rely on it!), but I am let down by much of today’s practice. --that is by no means a recommendation to avoid western doctors, but to find better ones!

Definitely let us know how it goes. How effective (or not) you find it;how the treatment itself felt, and any impressions you have.


Chris, re:frozen shoulder: I definitely have one and have no way to pay for any therapy.
Do you have any suggestions (via the web) on resources for exercises?
I’m supposed to be doing some, and never quite seem to settle on a routine.
And this thing has been frozen over a year now.
Thanks for any info you may have…

Hi Laura: I had a frozen shoulder that was unfrozen by seeing a physical therapist who specializes in trigger point therapy. I can’t even begin to tell you what a miracle and relief it has been. For the inexpensive option, if it is something that appeals to you, I can highly recommend the books/work of Clair Davies, for example The Frozen Shoulder Workbook.

I do have that book, and found it a bit tedious to get through.
I guess I should reference it again, plus one other book written by a therapist for do it yourself at home exercises.
I tend to gather too much info and not settle on one plan.
Maybe I will pull out Davies again…no funds for anything else at the moment.
Good to hear what worked for you though, because I think we are in the middle of selecting a new primary care doc and are looking at osteopaths who do trigger poing in their office…

A physcial therapist can give you individualized guidance which ensures that you are targetting the right muscle groups, doing the right excercises etc, so could be very beneficial even if just for a first visit to get a course of actoin set up.

I wouldn’t be able to tell you what your specific circumstance is, nor rule out other/additional conditions like muscle/tendon tears, which could alter how you go about treating the problem.

If it is frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) it would need to be stretched in the directions that have limited range of motion. Again, having it evaluated by a PT would help identify the right course of action. The stretches need not be severe, but frequent.Frozen shoulders become so because we tend to not do the motions that hurt, but the condition then worsens. If there are serious tears involved though you wouldn’t want to excessively stretch them.

Hi Laura: I agree the book is tedious! What has been so helpful to me is to have the PT show me how to do my own self-treatment (basically following the book). I do agree with Chris that it’s a good idea to actually have a knowledgeable person assist you, even just to get started (again, I am trying to suggest less expensive options).

My rheumatologist pretty much confirmed what it is, but my co-pay is unaffordable right now so she said definitely work it out at home…