How effective is acupuncture for lumbosacral pain/early signs of IVDD? My 13yr old dalmatian developed symptoms last Jan -scuffing feet every few steps, pain at LS junction upon palpation. At this point I'm just keeping an eye on it because the signs have not changed too much, he still runs around the house like a puppy. I tried NSAIDS & cage rest for 2 weeks in May with only slight improvement. I discontinued the NSAIDS & cage rest and began physical therapy and acupuncture in july. I would like to think the acupuncture has helped with his LS pain, but there is no significant improvement with his CP deficits. How much improvement can I expect? Or will the acupuncture just help with his pain & stiffness?
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs should be able to help for the pain and stiffness regardless of the cause, but it may require ten or more acupuncture treatments to assess effectiveness. Electro-acupuncture may also be required.
If the deficits are strictly neurological such as in the case of degenerative myelopathy, spinal tumor, synovial cell tumor, or partial blockage or compression of the spinal cord by disk disease, calcification, etc, acupuncture can take much longer, must be performed more frequently and, has varying effectiveness depending on the cause and severity of the disease. Acupuncture can usually help to slow the progression of disease in the case of degenerative myelopathy. Did your neurologist offer an MRI or CT scan? These tests could give more information about the medical state of the spinal cord, than can be assessed by X-Rays. However, these tests are very expensive, require anesthesia, and would not be helpful unless the problem could be effectively treated surgically, which may not be possible for your dog.
Research has shown that acupuncture in combination with steroids has been shown to be as effective as spinal surgery. Steroids would not be contradicted in a dog with elevated kidney enzymes and might be worth a try, under your veterinarian's supervision.
There are a number of Chinese herbal formulas for IVDD, Degenerative Myelopathy, kidney disease, and spinal pain which would certainly be worth a try. Herbal formula's act as "herbal" acupuncture and can be important adjuncts to needle acupuncture.
If your veterinary acupuncturist is not familiar with Chinese herbal formula's I would be happy to offer help. Have your acupuncturist email or call my office if you would like.
We routinely rent therapeutic lasers to our clients so that they can perform the therapies at home. We have found that it is an excellent adjunct to acupuncture but should be performed daily or as close to daily as possible since laser therapy has a cumulative therapeutic effect.
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