In what may be the most significant research to emerge in the last five years, an international collaboration, involving some of the UK’s top acupuncture researchers, has provided definitive evidence that acupuncture is effective for chronic pain. The authors analysed raw individual patient data – an approach that allows for statistically precise results – for 17,922 participants enrolled in 29 high-quality, randomised trials of acupuncture for chronic back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, shoulder pain and chronic headache. The study, published in the prestigious Archives of Internal Medicine on September 10th, showed that for each of the four conditions, the analgesic effect of true acupuncture was slightly better than that of placebo acupuncture. However, the difference between true acupuncture and usual care alone was found to be much larger and of clinical significance. The authors hope their findings will encourage clinicians to recommend acupuncture as a safe and effective treatment and inform future clinical and policy decisions. (From www.jcm.co.uk)
Iliotibial Band Syndrome is a repetitive stress condition characterised by pain at the lateral knee and thigh. The pain is caused by friction under the IT band leading to chronic inflammation, aggravated by exaggerated flexion and extension of the knee (such as running with speed work or hills) and the pain is relieved by rest. Confirmation of IT band involvement is performed with palpation to the band 2-4cm proximal to the lateral joint space of the knee in the region of the acupoint GB-33. Differential diagnosis should be ruled out (eg lateral collatoral ligament sprain). There may also be involvement of gluteal muscles (tenderness at Jian Kua) and Quadratus Lumborum. Primary treatment involves "thread needling" of the underside of the IT band in combination with other local and distal points. Electro-acupuncture may also be used. This particular condition responds very well to acupuncture. Recommended treatment up to twice per week for 3 weeks then re-evaluate.
Sports Acupuncture has progressed massively in recent years with greater integration between traditional acupuncture and western anatomical understanding. Properly licensed acupuncturists specialising in sports acupuncture learn to integrate western anatomy for the best outcome. (Look for Lic.Ac and then evidence of ongoing sports education). Educators such as Colorado-based Whitfield Reaves have really raised the bar with their specialised knowledge and training programmes.
Emma is a licensed acupuncturist and ITEC Sports Massage therapist and completed post-grad training in sports acupuncture with Kevin Young at CICM Reading, and is also currently continuing her studies with the sports acupuncture online programme with Whitfield Reaves online seminars. Emma's approach is to treat sports injuries with acupuncture and integrate manual techniques as appropriate to the specific injury.
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