By Dr. Peter Abaci
Don’t be surprised if the next time you see your doctor they suggest you go to an acupuncturist. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a recommendation that doctors get up to speed on complementary alternative therapies for treating pain including acupuncture and chiropractic treatment.
If you’re like many of the patients that I treat, you are probably open to trying alternative therapies, but are still feeling a bit skeptical as to whether or not acupuncture is a legitimate treatment to pursue. To the FDA’s point, I think this is where the physician’s input is key. Patients want to gauge if their physician really believes in the recommendation based on their knowledge and experience with other patients or whether they’re just throwing it out there so they can move on to the next patient and avoid prescribing more painkillers. There is a big difference between a doctor saying, “Let’s try acupuncture, it has helped a lot of my other patients,” as opposed to “Why don’t you try acupuncture since I don’t know what else to recommend at this point.”
We brought acupuncture into our own center several years ago and found it helpful in treating pain, mood disorders, head injuries, and even withdrawal symptoms, and I think our patients appreciate the fact that we thought highly enough about it to offer the service in-house. To top it all off, I started doing acupuncture myself a few years ago to treat some pretty intense sciatica I got from an extruded disc in my lower back. That means I can now look my patients in the eye and say, “I recommend trying acupuncture…I do it myself and I think it really helps.” It stands to reason that the more closely a doctor can relate to a particular clinical situation, the better equipped they’ll be at guiding their patient through a similar process.Read More
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