Acupuncture for Thoracic Spine Pain

Needling sites:

– Tips of spinous processes

– Interspinous ligament

– Paraspinal muscles

– Pain in chest wall (also local needling)

Pain in the thoracic spine is sometimes harder to help than pain in other parts of the back. Some patients have Type B pain localized to the spines of the thoracic vertebrae and in such cases periosteal needling of these works well. Remote needling of the dorsum of the hand or the ulnar border of the palm (SI 3) can also help thoracic spinal pain.

Pain in the chest wall generally does well; local needling over the painful area itself is effective.

What disorders are suitable for treatment?

Most acupuncture treatment is concerned with musculoskeletal disorders. Acupuncture can also be used to treat a number of disorders that are not – or not obviously – related to the musculoskeletal system.

It is possible to grade disorders according to the likelihood that they will respond to acupuncture.

  • Group A: Those that generally do well (50 to 70 per cent).
  • Group B: Those that do moderately well (10 to 50 per cent).
  • Group C: Those that seldom or never respond (less than 10 per cent).

Musculoskeletal disorders are generally Group A. Being a strong reactor moves a patient up by at least one category.

Note that in many cases it is either not possible to assign a formal diagnostic label to a patient’s symptoms or else the label applied (e.g. ‘osteoarthritis’) is fairly unhelpful. This does not mean that reaching a pathological diagnosis is irrelevant, but rather that acupuncture can be used in cases where no formal diagnosis has been found in spite of ample investigations.

Recording the treatment

This is essential, both for medicolegal reasons and for future reference. In practice, I tend to use a mixture of traditional and modern terminology to describe my treatment. If there is a traditional acupuncture point at the site I have used I note that; otherwise I use a description based on Western anatomical terminology. I also record the side (L or R), together with any other relevant information, such as the duration of needling (if unusual) and the effects, if any. Thus an initial treatment might be recorded as follows:

Lr 3 L,R (brief stim.): general reaction ++ (euphoria -? strong reactor)

or:

TP in L gluteus medius: painful ++; sensation down to ankle.

Another way of recording one’s treatment is to mark it on a drawing.

On a subsequent attendance one should also record the outcome, possibly with a VAS.

The BMAS record sheet as supplied to candidates for the Certificate of Basic Competence provides a template for these details.

Top 10 Acupuncture Scholarships and Grants

The following list includes the top 10 acupuncture scholarships and grants, which any current or prospective student of this healing art should consider:

The Academic Achievement Award Scholarship at the National College of Natural Medicine: New students at this school in Portland, Oregon can apply for scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $2,500 based on an application and essay.

American Specialty Health Scholarship: The nation’s leading complimentary health care benefits organization has designed a scholarship to help students further their studies for future alternative healing careers. Students in acupuncture, massage, chiropractics, dietetics and other alternative and holistic programs with at least a 3.0 GPA can receive $4,500 or $7,500.

Charlotte McGuire Scholarship Program: This program consists of two awards for holistic nursing students who have at least a 3.0 GPA and are members of the American Holistic Nursing Association.

The Dr. Michael and Marlene Nissenblatt Scholarship: First and second year post-graduate students in acupuncture, herbology, traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine who plan on bringing the human spirit and touch to their practice may apply for this scholarship.

The Dr. Pedro Rivera Scholarship: Holistic veterinary students who plan on practicing acupuncture can receive a financial award if their essays are chosen.

The Dr. Richard Kearns Scholarship: A financial award from the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association for holistic veterinary students based on responses to essay questions.

Herbal Time Scholarship: This $1,500 scholarship is awarded to bright and passionate MSTOM students from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine each year.

Jade Dragon Scholarship: One Pacific College of Oriental Medicine student with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA will receive $1,000 for this scholarship.

Nuherbs Scholarship: This is a $2,000 scholarship awarded to Pacific College of Oriental Medicine students by Nuherbs Co. in order to further the development of Chinese Medicine.

Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine Scholarships: This Los Angeles, California school that offers Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine provides several scholarship opportunities, including the $1,500 Yo San Scholarship for new students who already have a bachelor’s degree, and the Master Ni Scholarship based on leadership and scholastic achievement.

Best Cities to Practice Acupuncture

The best cities to practice acupuncture in the United States are those cities where there are more jobs than others in this field, and where the general attitude towards the healing arts is more positive. These cities also tend to have better employment rates in general and more amenities that make them great places to live. If you don’t live in one of the best cities to practice acupuncture you don’t necessarily need to move; there are opportunities to advance in this career all over the country and around the world, so you can make a niche for yourself anywhere. But if you’re already thinking about moving to start your career, any of these U.S. cities would probably be your best bet:

Los Angeles: The healing arts and oriental medicine are very popular in LA, so it’s a great place to start your career. There are also many schools here where you can train to become an acupuncturist.

Miami: With a large population of seniors, many of whom are newly retired baby boomers who may look at oriental medicine in a much more positive light than previous generations, you have a large base of potential clientele in this sunny Southern city.

New York: This is a center for all types of medicine and industry, so even though the population is massive and competition is high, this is an excellent place to be for a career in acupuncture.

Portland: You will have no problems finding clients in this environmentally friendly and forward thinking city.

San Diego: This is another hub for healing arts in Southern California, where therapeutic arts and healing medicine have a place to stay.

San Francisco: The City by the Bay is very hospitable to practitioners of acupuncture and the healing arts. There are a number of schools here, and it’s a great place to start your career if you can find a base of clientele.

Santa Fe: New Mexico attracts many people who are interested in alternative medicine, and the cost of living is still fairly low in cities like Santa Fe compared to other locations listed here.

Seattle: This is another hub for healing arts on the West Coast.