Auricular Acupuncture Treating Pain

Happy Belated Mother's Day to all Moms!!! I hope you had a very special and relaxing weekend! Hopefully you had a day of relaxation, or at least moments of the day were filled with rejuvenation! 

In addition to celebrating Mother's Day this weekend, classes started for the new trimester this past week.   personally consider both the start and the end of each trimester a mini-celebration, as each segment of time shows the beginning or end to another chapter of learning. 


This week I was able to see the affects of acupuncture on pain patients very clearly. While I was fortunate to be a part of treating many pain patients, one patient agreed to share her treatment with this blog. This patient is a 61-year-old female who injured her foot. She may have broken 1-2 toes, but had not received X-rays at the time of her treatment. (Notice bruising on center toe.) It was decided to treat the foot distally, which means far away from her foot. One of the most conducive aspects of acupuncture is there are many ways to treat one pathology. If it's decided treating locally is not the best option, there are still many more options for treatment.

In this case, treating the patient's foot via auricular acupuncture was determined to be the best option. The patient received five needles in the ear on the same side as the injured foot. She received a needle in the following auricular points: toes, lumber, shenmen, point zero, and kidney. These points help to reduce the pain, while also helping the patient feel relaxed. Additionally, they help treat the patient's root energy, which will greater exacerbate a healing response.


The patient reported feeling a remarkable decrease in foot and back pain. The patient had a previous back injury worsened by the change in her gait (walk) as a result of the foot injury. Before receiving acupuncture, the patient rated the pain as a 6/10 on the VAS pain scale, 10 being measured as the worst pain possible.  After the treatment, the patient rated her pain as 2/10. I followed up the treatment with auricular seeds; they are small metal beads that stick on the patient's ear. Ear seeds are a form of acupressure that allow for continued treatment after the patient leaves the clinic. By pushing on the ear seeds, the patient triggers a healing and analgesic (feel-good and pain reducing) response. The analgesic response is much like taking pain medicine to decrease the pain. I will learn at the patient's follow-up visit, how the ear seeds affected her. 

I find observing pain patients' responses fascinating, as usually through about 5 needles, the patients have a significant decrease in pain that typically holds through the follow-up visit. This is something I could never imagined possible before becoming a student of AOM!