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Pennsylvania doctor uses acupuncture to reduce pain

In our previous post, we wrote about the risks of overusing narcotic painkillers when recovering from work injuries. In this post, we will discuss a trend toward the use of an alternative treatment that can potentially eliminate that risk: the use of acupuncture.

This could include a more prominent role in the treatment of injuries involved in Pennsylvania workers' compensation cases.

ABC News recently ran a news story featuring a Pennsylvania doctor who is also an acupuncturist. Dr. Jun Mao, of the University of Pennsylvania, has used acupuncture to treat many different types of chronic time. This includes pain caused by spinal injuries.

Acupuncture is a branch of non-Western medicine involving the use of very thin needles to redirect energy in the body and allow it to better heal itself. The needles do not actually enter the body to insert something. Instead, administer pin-prick pressure points that seek to alter the signaling system in the brain in order to relief stress and reduce pain.

Dr. Mao, for example, used acupuncture to treat a 60-year-old woman who might otherwise have faced spinal surgery to relieve her pain. The woman had already tried physical therapy, chiropractic medicine and steroid shots without success.

Research evidence is starting to show that acupuncture does indeed get results in appropriate cases. Researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center reviewed 29 previous studies on the effectiveness of acupuncture. They found that acupuncture works, in particular, for treating four common types of chronic pain:

• Back and neck pain

• Osteoarthritis

• Chronic headache

• Shoulder pain

These are all, of course, conditions that can be caused by work injuries.

Source: "Acupuncture May Actually Work for Pain After All," ABC News, 9-11-12

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