Category: Clinical Sciences/Health Conditions
Case Diagnosis: A 64-year-old tetraplegic after a trauma 2 years ago with significant pain. He needed daily morphine and oxycodone. These medications caused many intolerable side effects.
Case Description: We performed battlefield acupuncture on him. Within minutes of treatment, his neck pain and stiffness decreased from an 8 to 4/10 and within hours decreased to 1/10. This relief persisted for 5-7 days. The treatment was then repeated with the same results. 2 weeks after initiating this treatment, we started decreasing his oral morphine dose. Within 6 weeks, decreased his daily dose by 83%.
Discussions: Acupuncture is a treatment which originated in China 5,000 years ago. It has effects where the needles are placed as well as in areas distinct from where the treatment is performed. The treatment is believed to reduce pain by two mechanisms: first, it suppresses pain transmissions at the level of the spinal cord. Second, it causes the release of chemical transmitters in the brain, suppressing the sensation of pain.
Traditional acupuncture commonly involves placing many needles at various points on the trunk and extremities. Various schools of acupuncture have developed different styles with more focused needle placement. In 2001, Dr. Richard Niemtzow, of the United States Air Force, discovered a specific sequence of needles placed into the ears provided rapid and effective relief of many types of pain. This treatment protocol is known as Battlefield Acupuncture. It's safe and effective for many patients and pain conditions.
Pain is a complication in paralyzed people. It may impact a persons performance in social, vocational and leisure activities. It may interfere with quality of life, social functioning, employment, mood, as well as rehabilitation therapy.
Samantha Mendelson– Physician, James A. Haley VA Medical Center