Monday, July 16, 2012

Veterans with TBI report Relief with Acupuncture

There is a good article in Acupuncture Today from a Practitioner of Acupunture and Oriental Medicine about how her patients, who are war veterans, report relief from symptoms related to TBI (traumatic brain injury or severe concussion) with her acupuncture and oriental medicine treatments.  Here is a synopsis.  Please see the link below for the full article.

"Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury Report Relief with Acupuncture"
Acupuncture Today
December, 2010, Vol. 11, Issue 12
Written by Lynn Morgan, RN, L.Ac, OMD

Dr. Morgan writes:  "Traumatic brain injury is defined as a non-degenerative, non-congenital insult to the brain from an external mechanical force, leading to possible concussion, skull fractures, internal hemorrhage or other internal injuries. This might result in permanent or temporary impairment of cognitive, physical and psychosocial functions with an associated diminished or altered state of consciousness."

In Dr. Morgan's experience as a practitioner of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City, "Medical treatment often consists of rehabilitation, mental health counseling, vocational rehabilitation and group therapy. Patients often are on a long list of medications to treat the various symptoms. Common medications are antidepressants, sleep aids, migraine medications, anti-seizure medications and narcotics."

So, in the Utah VA clinic she provides care in, "we are using acupuncture to provide some relief to these patients. Acupuncture has become one component of the integrative medicine program being offered under the umbrella of holistic medicine. Patients are seen on an outpatient basis and are being treated for a variety of health issues including chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury."

It is encouraging to note that, with acupuncture treatment, "patients are reporting a decrease in the intensity of their headaches, better sleep and an ability to cope on a daily basis."

Dr. Morgan also gives an case study:
"One of my patients -- we'll call him "Jim" -- came to the acupuncture clinic for treatment of severe headaches and sleeplessness. Jim, a 27-year-old male and Iraq War veteran, got caught in a crossfire in 2003. A bullet entered his helmet but did not penetrate his skull. The blast resulted in a blood clot located in the parietal area of his brain. For the first year, his words were slurred and his concentration and short-term memory were adversely affected. He reports developing severe, debilitating headaches, which he describes as 'helmet-like.' He is haunted by nightmares. This combination causes him to lose a lot of time at work, resulting in significant depression and worry over financial issues.
After working with Jim over several weeks . . . . He recently reported a decrease in his headaches, better sleep and relaxation, and an ability to cope better with his chronic pain. Jim also was taught to do several of these points himself while at home and says he finds this helpful in diminishing his headaches before they get too severe."

She concludes her article with: 
"Acupuncture will not be able to provide a cure for these veterans with traumatic brain injury, but it will give them some relief they greatly deserve when used in conjunction with other medical treatments. Although the issue of war is forever controversial, we should not deny the veterans themselves the best possible medical care the country can provide. That includes acupuncture."

Source:  Morgan, Lynn.  "Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury Report Relief with Acupuncture".  Acupuncture Today: vol. 11, issue 12.  (Dec 2010).

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