Many conditions respond quickly to acupuncture, but no two conditions are alike. To see if acupuncture will benefit your condition, you should expect 6-8 sessions (typically two times per week). Chronic conditions will almost always take longer.
Here are some examples to give you a better picture:
Case Illustration #1: Neck pain (Acute)
Sunil had recently been working overtime to complete a new product launch at a software company. He usually avoids neck pain by carefully watching his posture and paying attention to his ergonomic set up. However, he was unable to prevent this recent bout of pain. He complains of difficulty looking to the right, and generalized muscle pain in his neck and upper shoulders. He came for a total of three acupuncture sessions, including cupping on the first session. He was completely pain free and needed no further treatment.
Key point: Treated early, an acute problem can be easily (and inexpensively) resolved.
Case Illustration #2: Neck pain, upper back pain (Moderate)
Theresa was in a car accident about a year ago. An oncoming car ran a red light and hit the passenger door of her car. She suffered whiplash, bruised ribs, minor cuts to her forehead, and generalized muscle pain in her upper back. When she came in she was still experiencing neck pain with occasional tingling in her right thumb and index finger. An MRI confirmed nerve-root compression at the C5-C6 vertebrae in her neck.
Chronic inflammation in Theresa’s neck prevented her from healing completely and long-standing muscle spasms in her neck and upper back kept her in pain. Theresa came for an initial course of 10 treatments over five weeks with an 80% reduction in her pain and a 50% reduction in the numbness and tingling in her fingers. She had an additional six acupuncture treatments over the next two months with complete resolution of her pain and an 80% reduction in her other symptoms.
Key point: Even a condition that has been around for years can be treated effectively. You may be unnecessarily suffering.
Case Illustration #3: Arthritis (Chronic)
Dwight was recently retired at 50 years old and was looking forward to spending much more time on the golf course. Unfortunately, his knees were not agreeing with his increased activity levels. His goal with treatment was to be able to golf 3-4 days per week pain free. When he came in to the office, he could manage no more than two days per week without pain.
In this case, acupuncture cannot solve Dwight’s problem, but it can control his problem. He uses acupuncture on an ongoing basis—sometimes once a week and sometimes once every 2-3 weeks. Acupuncture controls the inflammation in his knees and allows him to golf three days per week pain free and four days per week with slight pain. He has also begun a strengthening program to support and stabilize the knee joints.
Key point: Quality of life can be measured in many ways. Even if you can’t completely resolve a problem, you may be able to improve your condition.