Acupuncture a basic tool: expert

Pain medicine specialist Prof Rollin Gallagher speaks at a medical conference in Dunedin. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Pain medicine specialist Prof Rollin Gallagher speaks at a medical conference in Dunedin. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Every GP should learn acupuncture as a basic pain relief tool, clinicians at a medical conference in Dunedin were told yesterday.

Keynote speaker at the New Zealand Pain Society's annual scientific meeting in Dunedin was Prof Rollin Gallagher, from the University of Pennsylvania. A pain medicine specialist, he edits the academic journal Pain Medicine.

Acupuncture was effective and non-toxic, but most GPs had no training in the technique. He also spoke in favour of yoga. By using alternative techniques, opioid use could be reduced.

Those with chronic pain must be reassured they would not be abandoned by the system, which had to find cost-effective ways to provide long-term support, Prof Gallagher said.

He spoke about the success of a war veterans' health programme in the United States which reduced opioid use through educating providers to use other techniques.

Not even pain relief

I spent 6 months going to physio twice weekly for muscular back/shoulder pain and received accupuncture and massage.

After that time and many $ spent, I gave it away as there was no improvement whatsoever. In fact, I was in more pain after each session. Still have the pain but I suck it up and deal with it. Complete waste of their, and my time, and my money, in my opinion. 

Not just pain relief

Accupuncture is one of the strongest non- drug form of healing. It has got me out of trouble many times when the medical establishment wanted to operate. And it's not just about pain releif. The whole philosophy is about balance and creating an environment for self healing. There are already a plethora of physios using dry needling techniques for pain relief without the philosphical and deep training that accupuncture requires. I think if doctors are going to use it (or physios) they need to go and get a degree in accupuncture. After all they wouldn't allow an accupuncturist to treat with physo, or medcine with out the full quals now would they???

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