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Do I need to find another acupunturist?


Submitted By: paitent

Got sciatica on my left leg specifically on the left front muscle that is near the shin.
My left leg also gets completely numb when lying on my back so I have to sleep on my right side.

I have an acupuncturist that I have been with for years and usually he is able to fix me up with one session and I don't have to go back to him until I injure something else. Lately his service has been waning. Now the treatments only last a day and I have to go back to him. Also there has been an incident where he put needles in the wrong area and I have to correct him. The sciatica has popped up up every now and then so it is nothing new for him.

I think what has complicated my recovery is my age and that I have gained some weight. But I suspect the economy might be a factor. He raised his prices and on the days when he is at the clinic, the waiting room is like a Justin Bieber concert. But now it is more like a Whitney Houston concert. What also troubles me is that recently after every visit he has told me that I have to come back for more treatment. He has never had to say that in the past.

Should I seek out another acupuncturist?


Acupuncture is generally not a one-off treatment modality. Even though many pain cases respond within one treatment a set of treatments is (in most cases) ideal to avoid the pain from coming back in the future (ideally ever). In other words it is often better to have 4 treatments in a row even if you are out of pain than to just come back every time you have a problem.

An important part of your question which you neglect to offer information on is how often is it coming back. Keeping in mind that the goal of acupuncture is a permanent fix not a temporary solution if your sciatica is continually coming back then your acupuncturists ability (and perhaps your willingness participate fully in the treatments) is brought into question.

Some practitioners just let patients go when they are out of pain and this may not always be the best service to them overall. Either a few more at a time or seeing them on a somewhat regular basis (quarterly?) is a better way than waiting until the pain comes back in almost every case.

Basically if you are having sciatic issues returning time and time again then it may be worth it to see your current practitioner more often or see someone else. But that is a call you will have to make based on your previous responses - again being less swayed that it went away from time to time and more swayed by the possibility of it going away in a more permanent fashion.

Personally I don&#39t really understand the Justin/Whitney references (I even had to look up Justin Bieber and still don&#39t know who that is...), but I&#39m assuming that means there are less patients? The economy is tough right now and acupuncture generally is far from a lucrative profession in most cases - particularly in relation to how much schooling and additional training is required. So it&#39s possible your practitioner is having difficulty maintaining a practice. The failure rate in this field, even for skilled practitioners, is extremely high... Along with that, just as in any medical profession there is practitioner burnout and that might be part of what is happening as well. It&#39s really hard to say. I would discuss this directly with your practitioner - maybe they just have some things going on in their own life, etc. They will know and will share if it is appropriate.


If you are satisfied with your acupuncturist then talk to him and ask for a few more explanations. If you are not satisfied with his explanation or service, then I think you are free to seek a second opinion.

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