People often ask me what the most common condition is that I see, and while I see a wide variety of issues, I would have to say that orthopedic conditions are the number one reason why people come in. Within that, back pain is far and away the most common complaint. In fact, most surveys of primary care physicians find that back pain is the number one or number two most common reason why people come in (insomnia is usually number one or number two as well).
As so often happens in my practice, I get the latest news on a given condition or procedure from my patients. In the age of the Internet, it seems that nearly anybody who is curious about a given subject may find information on it on the web, though there is also a lot of misinformation out there. Just the other day, hey patient with a history of back pain referred me to an article in the Wall Street Journal about the benefits of functional restoration as an alternative to many of the more invasive procedures often given as the standard of care for back pain. Rather than summarize the article, I am pasting it here to share with you (http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-help-for-back-pain-1448311243?mod=e2fb).
Supermodel Elle Macpherson, recently said in an interview with UK tabloid, News of the World, I have acupuncture regularly and I see a Chinese doctor who treats most common ailments with herbs.
When asked how she maintained her health and well being, Elle answered, I do choose to look after my body from a Chinese medicine perspective, which promotes and maintains wellness rather than treats illness.
Elle is not the only celebrity that seems to have become star-struck with this traditional form of health care that is touted as being able to treat everything from anxiety to a torn rotator cuff. Gwyneth Paltrow, a longtime advocate of the benefits of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, once said that having acupuncture had guided her to a new level in life, helping her to find love with her husband and giving her the strength to cope with the death of her father. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Gwyneth Paltrow said, I have been a big fan of Chinese medicine for a long time because it works.
So what other celebrities are up for being a voluntary pin-cushion? Dr. Maoshing Ni, an acupuncturist in Santa Monica lists Jim Carrey and Helen Hunt as two of his many famous clients. In a testimonial, Jim Carrey said undergoing [acupuncture] treatments with Dr. Mao at and following his nutritional advice has led to a marked change in my physical vitality and my general state of well-being.
Celebrities have embraced acupuncture so whole-heartedly that they even schedule regular acupuncture treatments for their pets. Sarah Michelle Gellar of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, has been spotted in Los Angeles taking her pampered pooch, Tyson, in for his acupuncture treatment.
Acupuncture is becoming more and more respected by conventional medicine, so much so that there were acupuncturists on-site for the athletes at both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
How it works
Is there any evidence to back up this rapid growth in the popularity of acupuncture? Besides the 2000 years of clinical evidence, there are a multitude of studies to substantiate that acupuncture has a measurable affect on the body. One study on how acupuncture works to relieve pain, published in the Journal of NeuroImage, used brain imaging technology to prove that acupuncture affects the brains long-term ability to regulate pain. In the study, researchers were able to show that acupuncture increased the binding availability to opioid receptors in the brain in much the same way that opioid painkillers, such as morphine, codeine and other medications, are thought to work
The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have declared acupuncture effective for more than 200 other conditions including, respiratory, eye and mouth, gastro-intestinal, neurological and muscular disorders. Because of acupunctures ability to speed the healing process, bring down swelling and inflammation, relieve pain, and help to restore normal range of motion, it is especially effective at treating musculo-skeletal disorders.
When someone comes in for treatment, we take all of their symptoms into account and aim at balancing the energy within the body to optimize health. Treatments are tailored for the individual. That is why it is important to talk with an acupuncturist to see how acupuncture will be able to help your specific and unique case.