For many years, acupuncture has been considered to be an “alternative” medicine. The word alternative is used to indicate that after exploring all biomedical options, if the results are not good enough, that alternatives are explored. Many patients come in saying “I’ve tried everything that my doctor has to offer, and I’m not feeling any better, so I’ve come to see you as an alternative.” This is certainly one reason to seek out acupuncture – if what you have tried is not working.
For patients who take any long-term medication, acupuncture may be very helpful. Many of these have unwanted side effects which can be immediate or can build up over time. For example, while pain medications can sometimes offer instant and substantial relief, a number of these medications may be addictive, may lose their effectiveness over time, or may have other side effects such as GI distress, drowsiness, or heightened risk of heart disease, to name a few. Some other conditions which also require long term medications, which can benefit from acupuncture treatment, include asthma, allergies, menstrual symptoms, menopausal symptoms, acid reflux, among others. With any medication, it is important to consult with your doctor before decreasing or discontinuing any long term medication. If you can manage your symptoms and condition without needing to take a daily medication, why take a medicine if you don’t have to?
Surgery is another situation when it may be beneficial to consider acupuncture as an alternative. Of course, there are cases where surgery is really the only or best option to solve specific health issues. If the problem is not urgent, however, it may be wise to consider acupuncture as an alternative to surgery, before committing to a procedure. Surgeries can be considered as a type of medicine with their own possible side effects, such as scar tissue, lingering pain or risk of possibly decreased function. Depending on your response to acupuncture, you may be able to postpone or even eliminate the need for a surgery, such as carpal tunnel surgery, knee surgery, and even certain types of abdominal surgery.
If you are looking for a new solution to old problems – try acupuncture!