Conditions for which Medical Acupuncture May Be Indicated in a Hospital Setting
This information is for use by Hospital Credentialling where the matter of Medical Acupuncture privileges are considered.
Because pain of musculo-skeletal origin can respond to acupuncture treatment so dramatically, this modality is best known for its pain relief benefits than for any other indications. Pain is also relatively easy to quantify, and progress can be measured fairly simply. For these reasons, physicians trained in Medical Acupuncture treat musculo-skeletal pain conditions as one of their early applications of their newly developed skills.
However, in the hands of a more experienced physician who is well trained in Chinese medicine, pain control may be a common but by far not the only symptom treatable with Medical Acupuncture. Acupuncture is incorporated as another modality in the repertoire of useful medical interventions.
For example, moderate allergic sinusitis may be treated well with antihistamines and decongestants. If the condition is annoying to the patient, recurs often, or is poorly controlled with common medications it may require steroids and frequent antibiotics. In these cases, acupuncture may be an excellent complement to routine care, often minimizing or altogether eliminating the need for medications, releasing the patient from continuous exacerbation-remission cycles.
Another example would be a paralytic ileus, as a postoperative condition or perhaps due to a pelvic fracture. One could keep the patient NPO and on suction through a naso-gastric tube for as long as the ileus lasts. Or, acupuncture can be used concomitantly with the above measures to help the patient regain bowel motility sooner, allowing for a more speedy and more comfortable recovery.
Asthma and chronic bronchospasm are other examples where the use of Medical Acupuncture reduces the required doses of bronchodilators, thus reducing unpleasant side effects. and preventing a steroid dependent state.
Diagnosis of underlying medical conditions should be established within the context of the state-of-the-art of medical care. Once diagnosis has been made and routine treatment measures are in progress. Medical Acupuncture, if appropriate, can be used as a complementary modality within the working allopathic framework.
The list below includes a number of medical conditions that have been found to respond effectively to Medical Acupuncture. This list is by no means exhaustive, and should serve as informational material and for guidelines purposes only.
It should be called to your attention that certain drugs such as steroids (an equivalent to 20mg or more of prednisone), and some tranquilizers and antidepressants, longer-standing and more complex illnesses may require more sessions (an average of 6 to 8), depending on the patient's general condition and type of problem.
The Academy is available for any further information your Committee may require in regards to Medical Acupuncture and its use in a hospital setting.
- Acute and chronic pain control
- Postraumatic and postoperative ileus
- Muscle spasms, tremors, tics, contractures
- Anxiety, fright, panic
- Drug detoxification
- Neuralgias (trigemnial , Herpes Zoster, postherpetic, other)
- Seventh nerve palsy Sequelae of CVA's (aphasia, hemiplegia)
- Certain functional gastro-intestinal disorders (nausea and vomiting, esophageal spasm, hyperacidity, irritable bowel, etc.)
- Headache, vertigo (Meniere's), tinnitus
- Phantom pain
- Frozen shoulder
- Cervical and lumbar spine syndromes
- Plantar fasciitis
- Bursitis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome
- Sprains and contusions
- In fractures, assisting in pain-control, edema, and enhancing healing process Temporo-mandibular joint derangement, bruxism
- Dysmenorrhea, pelvic pain
- Atypical chest pain (negative work-up)
- Idiopathic palpitations, sinus tachychardia
- Allergic sinusitis
- Persistent hiccups
- Selected dermatoses (urticaria, pruritus, eczema, psoriasis)
- Constipation, diarrhea
- Urinary incontinence. retention (neurogenic. spastic, adverse drug effect)
- Abdominal distention/flatulence
- Severe hyperthermia
- Cough with contraindications for narcotics
- Acupuncture anesthesia for high risk patients, or patients with previous adverse responses to anesthetics