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Lower back surgery with titanium screws and acupuncture


Are theer any contraindications when doing acupuncture treatments on someone who had back surgery and now has titanium screws in the lumbar region? What about electroacupunture, ion pumping cord, or using a tens machine? thanks


With regards to acupuncture needling you generally do not need to be concerned with plates, screws, etc. having been inserted surgically. You should, of course, use appropriate needling techniques and avoid deep needling, deep tuina massage, etc. in an area with implants. Acupuncture is very helpful in post-surgical pain management and in working with long-term pain/structural issues.

A TENS unit should not be used over any kind of metal that has been inserted in the body.

Ion pumping cords are ok to use as you are only working with the current within the persons body, but you would really want to have a good reason for using them locally in an area if other methods/location would be more suitable.

Electroacupuncture would carry similar precautions to the TENS units but can still be used -near- (not -at-) the area with good reason and appropriate settings (which would vary for each condition and each patient). Again, however, you want to ensure that there is a good reason for using it within the area, instead of other locations (i.e. the opposite side, if applicable) or other points.

Just for the sake of completeness, electroacupuncture carries the following contraindications/precautions:

<ul><li>Do not cross the spine.</li> <li>Patients should refrain from strenuous physical activity after treatment and weak and/or elderly patients should rest before driving home (or have a driver) due to the analgesic effect.</li> <li>For patients with pacemakers or imbedded neural stimulators (or other devices) - avoid the left chest region.</li> <li>Do not use in the lower abdomen in pregnant women.</li> <li>Generally not for use in cases of hypertension.</li> <li>Avoid high amplitude EA in areas of acute strains and sprains where excessive muscle fiber twitching can irritate the area.</li> </ul>

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