People don’t want surgery if they can help it. It’s a simple statement that’s obvious for a number of reasons:
- As the expression goes, “there’s no such thing as minor surgery.” Surgeries are serious business and often have lifelong consequences (both positive and negative).
- Surgeries are incredibly expensive. In a best-case scenario, you’ll be buried in insurance company paperwork. In a worst-case scenario, you’ll be on the hook for thousands of dollars in many cases.
- Surgeries put you out of commission. The recovery process following surgery totally changes daily life, for a period of time that depends on the complexity of the procedure.
Needless to say, I have many people come to Eastern Medical Center following incidents who have been told they need surgery and are looking for “another way” to heal. I’m always excited to see these patients because in many instances, acupuncture, acupressure and Chinese herbs can help the body sufficient heal and avoid surgery entirely. There are cases where I recommend the patient should have the Western surgery done and then come for acupuncture as part of the recovery process, but at least the person has the peace of mind knowing he or she left no superior options on the table.
Two areas where people should think “acupuncture!” before going through with surgery are torn ligaments and broken bones. Under the right circumstances, acupuncture can be a totally non-invasive alternative to surgery and save the patient time, suffering and thousands of dollars.
Two Patients, Two Surgeries Avoided
I have recently been treating a patient who simply fell wrong on her knee. It wasn’t a dramatic accident, but it did have a dramatic effect: She damaged an interior knee ligament so badly that doctors recommended surgery to insert a cadaver’s ligament into the knee. She came in on crutches and could barely walk or put pressure on the leg … but most of all, she was creeped out with the idea that part of a dead person was going to be inserted into her knee.
We began a protocol where she came in every day for treatment – and every day the coloring around the knee improved. The healing stimulated by the multiple acupuncture treatments was so effective that when she went to meet with the surgeon, she was told she didn’t need surgery anymore. She was so happy!
Another patient just fell on her elbow wrong and managed to break it. Her healing process is a similar story, but she was primarily motivated to choose acupuncture because she didn’t have health insurance, couldn’t afford the surgery and didn’t know what to do. After a number of acupuncture treatments, she returned to her doctor. The doctor said surgery was no longer necessary to repair her arm because it had healed very well-and fast! Ultimately, she went back to work as a waitress far sooner than I would have liked!
It’s totally common these days for someone to get a “second opinion” before undergoing a costly surgery. Let’s spread the word so more of those second opinions are with acupuncturists!