Use of opioids (morphine, oxycodone and the like) for the management of chronic pain is not necessarily the best approach for many patients. Some patients feel that the pain medications are only modestly effective. Many complain of side effects such as cognitive decline, drowsiness, difficulty in making complex decisions, constipation, etc.
Acupuncture, by tapping into one's own energy system, can be a valuable alternative way to relieve pain. Over the years, I have treated many patients for foot and ankle problems, the vast majority of my clients experienced significant improvement, and my acupuncture approach does not put in single needle in anyone's foot or ankle to get favorable results.
Case 1 Foot Pain
Mr. K suffered left foot fracture after a forklift fell on his foot at work. He underwent orthopedic surgery, physical therapy and pain management. He had a lot of side effects from pain medicine and gabapentin, therefore, he chose acupuncture as an alternative. After completing two courses of treatment, his foot pain was down to almost none.
Case 2 Plantar Fasciitis
A 40 year old restaurant owner and an indoor soccer player had suffered from heel pain. He did not respond to the conventional treatment and sought acupuncture treatment. His pain went away completely after five weekly sessions.
Case 3 Peripheral Neuropathy
A middle-aged man was referred by his oncologist for painful peripheral neuropathy of his feet. Gabapentin made him drowsy and interfered with his work. After 8 acupuncture sessions, he made a full recovery. For patients with chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy, slow improvement is expected, however, some patients fail to recover completely. With acupuncture, patients can improve much faster.
All of the above-mentioned 3 cases used acupuncture as the last resort, yet acupuncture provided improvement. I can't help wondering how much better their quality of life would have been if they had sought acupuncture earlier.