:)I have a patient who has had a herniated disc since he was 17 years old. He is now in his early 40's. The pain is pretty much constant. Any suggestions on how to alleviate his pain? Do you think it is inappropriate to needle directly into the area of herniation?
The short answer to your question is, yes, it is appropriate to needle around the area of herniation. Generally, we use the Shu points and huatuojiaji extra points in the local area to treat spinal problems. However, you may also use points along the GV line which may have been what you meant by "needling directly into the area". We have a few pages on the site which may be of interest to you:
Our general low back pain pathology page:
Acupuncture for low back pain
Points which may be useful are:
The Huatuo points .5 cun lateral to the spine:
Huatuojiaji Extra Acupuncture Points
Yaoyan Extra Point:
Yaoyan Extra Acupuncture Point
Josen Extra Point:
Josen Extra Acupuncture Point
The Yang Qiao Du Mai Extraordinary Vessel Pair:
Extraordinary Vessel Pairs
A basic treatment example for someone with a herniation at L4 might look like this:
1. ElectroAcupuncture from UB 25 to UB 32 - dense disperse
2. Needle the huatuojiaji points at L4 and possible L3 and L5 as well depending on where pain is felt and practitioner preference/training
3. Needle the Yang Qiao Du Mai UB 62 & SI 3 to help balance the spine a/or treat according to the underlying condition (i.e. if KD deficient, needle UB 23).
4. Needle appropriate distal points depending on patient
Afterwards, it may be useful to perform cupping or sliding cup around the lumbar area which helps to reduce the muscular tension which many times arises from protecting the area. This may also help to naturally bring the spine back into alignment.
You can apply electrical stim across the spine in the lumbar region. This technique brings down inflamation and relieves pain.
In our previous message we described using electrical stimulation from UB 25 to UB 32 on either side of the spine. It is generally considered a contraindication to actually use electro acupuncture across the spine as our guest offers.
The Director for the Institute of Traditional Medicine in an article discussing electro-acupuncture had this to say on the matter:
"It is generally recommended to avoid placing electrodes near the heart, as the heart can respond adversely to electrical impulses, and the path between any two electrodes should not cross the heart area, despite the low current that is used. Some have suggested avoiding placing electrodes to needles on both sides of the spinal cord (e.g., for Hua Tuo or bladder meridian points), because of the possible effect of the electrical stimulus on the nervous system. Points are generally selected in pairs for electrical pulse stimulation, with 1-3 pairs at one time, and the pairs are usually on the same side of the body."
UB 40 does wonders for low back pain of just about any origin. Also, there is an extra point ling ku located proximal to LI 4, at the junction of the thumb and index finger on the back of the palm. It is closer to the index finger than the thumb. It is tender point that elicits a stong qi sensation upon needling.
It is great for L4-L5 back pain and sciatica.
i want to ask is there any proof that acupucture can mend the herniated lumbar disc? or is it only to help the pain, as my tutor told me...