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OT - Is Acupuncture for real?


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I have a shoulder problem that I've got to do something about. Had rotator cuff surgery 18 months ago but I don't think it worked. Actually, it worked some because I can play my guitar for virtually unlimited periods whereas before it was only a couple of minutes. BUT, I can continue to have severe pain in an area that was NOT fixed. It's like there's a permanent muscle tear or something where my tricep joins the rest of the shoulder. The shooting pains I have throughout the day... I could take it if that's all there was to it. They're not severe enough to cause me to have severe "pain." It's more like aggravating pains. Like a momentary wince but it lasts only a second. But the real problem is golf. I'm a serious golfer. So serious, I worked my ass off to get my handicap to +1.2. Very few people on the planet can claim that. And I sure hate to give it up. I am an admitted golfaholic. Actually, if I could play even limited amounts, I can accept that. I just hate to quit the game totally. If I never get back to playing constantly, that'll be okay. I had the surgery and did all the rehab and did exactly as the doc said and eight months later, I was finally able to play again. I played for three months and got my game back in shape. Then it started going downhill again. I finally quit again due to ever-increasing pain to let it heal some more. That was six months ago. Well, it hasn't gotten much better. I haven't tried to go all out at it but just hitting short shots, it's still there and I doubt I can play full out. It ain't right. So, has anyone tried acupuncture? $60 per treatment, I hear. Maybe several treatments. So what. The surgery cost $10,000. What is puzzling to me is that it seems that acupuncture could'nt HEAL me, right? It would only mask pain? Or does it stimulate circulation or what? A friend of mine claims he is walking now due to acupuncture. His feet hurt him so bad, he was scheduled for painful surgery. Tried acupuncture and was cured. I have another friend who tried deep tissue massage and says it worked for him on his shoulder. And he was contemplating surgery. I can't imagine how the hell acupuncture was invented. Like these Chinese guys 5,000 years ago said "Hey, let's stick needles in us and see what happens." Way back, I wonder how they even manufactured ultra-thin needles.

> > > [ Live! ] < < <

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LM, > It's like there's a permanent muscle tear or something where my tricep joins the rest of the shoulder. < If you have a real medical problem - and it sounds like you do - then you need real medicine, not a bunch of quackery that relies on the power of suggestion. > $60 per treatment ... The surgery cost $10,000. < You get what you pay for. > A friend of mine claims The placebo effect is powerful, but I can't see how it will help you in this case. --Ethan
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I had some problems like that only not as severe. Have you tried weigth training? You would think that would be the last thing you'd do but it worked for me and it really makes sense. If you develop the muscles around a damaged joint or ligament it will take the stress off it. Just get you some small weights 3lbs. to 10 lbs. to start. I think acupuncture would give you some relief but not treat the source of the problem. You've got nothing to lose because you can't really do any damage with the small weights. If you find a weight lifting book there will be a series of exercises to follow for that part of the or if you want try using a physical therapist. I really think what I'm telling you will work. It's worth a try.
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It works! I had really bad tendonitis a few years back and acupuncture helped tremendously! In fact, I'm probably going to get some more treatment again since I've seen to take a relapse ever since playing my friends stupid XBox a few weeks back :mad: .
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I've had chronic problems with tightness in my right shoulder for 30 years, since I was 20. I've tried everything except surgery and it was never recommended. Acupunture, chiropractors, Alexander technique. None of those treatments ever really helped except Myotherapy. Real cheap, the initial treatments were $60 and then you either treat yourself or have a friend do the treatment. Also, religious exercising helps a lot. I still have the condition, but it is much less severe and often doesn't bother me at all. I find that when my shoulder tightens up, a few push ups will release the tension, or self administered Myotherapy.
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I've had chronic problems with tightness in my right shoulder for 30 years, since I was 20. I've tried everything except surgery and it was never recommended. Acupunture, chiropractors, Alexander technique. None of those treatments ever really helped except Myotherapy. Real cheap, the initial treatments were $60 and then you either treat yourself or have a friend do the treatment. Also, religious exercising helps a lot. I still have the condition, but it is much less severe and often doesn't bother me at all. I find that when my shoulder tightens up, a few push ups will release the tension, or self administered Myotherapy.
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O.K. "Live" take this with a grain of salt. I've never had acupuncture, and I usually only speak from experience, but I just want to give you this perspective. From my understanding, acupuncture is not supposed to heal you. What acupuncture does is clear the energy channels or chi meridians in your body, so that you may heal yourself. Therefore, I would hypothesize that acupuncture is most effective if you are doing other things that make for a healthy body, like a healthy diet, proper rest(super important), water intake(very important), and a positive mental state(probably the most important). I can't imagine acupuncture healing anybody on its own, but coupled with these things it may be effective. Like I said I never had it done, but many of my friends have and the success ratio was half and half. I do believe in chi and the chi meridians(which to my understanding is the basis of acupuncture) and have personally experienced the positive effects in strengthening my chi(internal energy-there is no real definition of chi but this is a basic one). Anyway, I won't bore you with the details, but I hope this info helps. Take care, Jedi

"All conditioned things are impermanent. Work out your own salvation with diligence."

 

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I don't know about acupuncture. If you went through all the trouble of conventional medicine, I'd be tempted to go back and see what they say. As to "who thought of this", I wonder about that all the time :D Like, who saw wheat growing and said "lets take the grain and crush it, mix it with water to make dough, squeeze it into long thin strips, and dry it. When we're ready to eat it, we can boil it in water until soft again." Tom

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Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Yeah, the thing with weight training (as Wewus noted) is if you're doing it to help injured tissue, you want to work [i]very light[/i]. If you're used to curling 55 lb dumbells or whatever, just use 5 lbs...because you're just trying to regain some mobility and flexibility. But, ultimately, the best treatment may be rest. I used to be a rather vigorous weight trainer, until I had some rotator cuff problems. When I developed the problems, I could barely bench press an empty bar, the pain was so bad. I laid off the weights for (you're not going to like this) a couple of years...and finally the pain went away. If you do consult an M.D., I would try to find one who specializes in sports medicine. If you're near a college town, that may be easier. I've thought about acupuncture as a possible aid for my tendinitis problems. Don't know anyone who does it around here though. Actually, as far as pain relief, it does make sense...but again, you're just treating the symptom and not the cause. Come to think of it, rest has helped my tendinitis from time to time...so perhaps there's something there...
"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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I'll preface this by saying that my student malpractice insurance doesn't cover internet advice, so don't consider this anything more than friendly advice from someone who may be more informed than the general public. It just so happens that I'm in the middle of my Orthopaedics block (muscles and bones) and it sounds to me like you're trapping a nerve between your arm and your shoulder, I'd bet $1,000 on it. I'm not sure what the most appropriate treatment would be but I did find an article in the British Medical Journal of General Practice that evaluates different therapies for subacromial (your type) pain that lists acupuncture as a marginally effective short term therapy. Reputable clinical studies have shown pain relief in these types of situations, but like others have said it is generally short-lived. I would recommend seeing an Orthopaedist since they deal with this sort of thing all the time, or a Physiatrist (the MD equivalent of a Chiropractor) for non-surgical therapy. If you're interested the article can be found here: [url=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11885825&dopt=Abstract]A combination of systematic review and clinicians\' beliefs in interventions for subacromial pain.[/url] -Casey Glass, MS II Penn State Univ. College of Medicine
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The effects of acupuncture are starting to be documented by science. What they are finding is acupuncture effects the nerve centers of the body which are connected of course to the the brain. I really think you would benefit from weight therapy. I know you had physical therapy but did you do anything with small weight workouts? I swear it works. If you increase your strength and muscle mass you'll be amazed how many aches and pains all over your body will go away. Nobody in the medical community will tell you this because they can't make any money off of you working out at home. And stop taking all those pain pills and drinking.
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Like Tedster, I would too recommend against weight lifting as a way to improve your problem. Sure, it's a great idea when your hands are healthy and your just trying to get healthy, but otherwise you have to be careful how much strain you put your hands through. An hour of playing XBox really fucked my hands up recently :cry: ! My old guitar teacher had very bad tendonitis a few years back, and he used to lift weights extensively. Now, he doesn't do any weight lifting but does do Tai chi religiously. That coupled with acupuncture did the trick for him. I could start feeling the improvement from acupuncture after only a week, and I was very skeptical at first. Just keep in mind that it might take several months to get back to where you need to be. Try to find an acupuncturist who has worked with musicians-they are out there.
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[quote]Originally posted by TheWewus: [b]I know you had physical therapy but did you do anything with small weight workouts? I swear it works.[/b][/quote]How 'small' are we talking here? 5lbs? Can you give us a sample workout that has worked for you? Thanks! -Dylan
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If you're going to do weights I would recommend doing rowing (either on a rowing machine or the weight workout equivalent) and shoulder shrugs (again on a machine). This will build up your rhomboids and trapezius muscles in your back which will pull your arm down off the nerve that it is pinching in the joint. I wouldn't do chest presses, curls, or military presses since these will actually tighten the joint and make the situation worse. Once again, just advice. -Casey
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There are obviously others on this thread that need help, so fire away. As for me, I don't think I would do any kind of strength training, even very small weights, without consulting the doc. And me and the doc ain't gonna meet for right now. Cuz I'm a bit miffed at him. But I'm not gonna do any kind of weight training since I have no idea what I'm doing. I'd have to see the doc or his physical therapist. Something is STILL wrong. By the way, I've never heard of a doc doing this but I asked him pre-surgery "what are the odds of you fixing me?" His answer: "100%." It took me 25 years to come to the decision to have the surgery. I finally had no choice, actually. Yep, I hurt it 25 years ago (hit a bad shot playing golf) and have tried every therapy known to mankind. Well, not all but quite but a lot. There are some I haven't, acupuncture being one, deep tissue massage another and myotherapy, whatever that is. Anyway, I finally had to do the surgery. And I point blank told this doc, who is regarded as one of the finest sports medicine docs in the south, "Doc, you keep poking up here on the shoulder and stuff but don't forget, it hurts over here, too." And "over here" meant... if I reach over with my right hand and find the top of the left shoulder joint... about two to three inches down and back toward the triceps from that spot. Kind of where the triceps goes up into the shoulder muscles, whatever that is. INCLUDING... I was on the gurney, going into the O.R. and the doc passed by and I said "Don't forget... over there in the tricep." Well, he didn't do anything to that area. He removed bursa, cartilage, and bone. Subacromial somethingorother. Whacked off about a centimeter of bone to give the joint more room to move. And removed inflamed tissue. But nothing "over there." So, I'm bummed out about that. Maybe it's not his fault, I dunno but to my knowledge, he did not look "over there." And due to a quirk, I'm not sure insurance will cover this. And shit, every time I walk in there, it's $500. They didn't even cover my physical therapy. Does that suck or what? You have surgery but they don't cover physical therapy? And my, my, on top of that, I have a problem with my left hand. Between the center of my wrist and my thumb, on top of my hand. I think it's an old break. I broke this hand in an farm welding explosion about 25 years ago. Broke it in three places and I think this knot is where one of the breaks was. It's a knot that you can visibly see and feel. Whatever it is, the doc had a name for it. He didn't xray it, as the subject at that time was the shoulder. But he told me, "If you think six to eight months and physical therapy is a drag (for the shoulder), that's nothing compared to doing surgery on this hand." Like, don't go there unless you have to. Well, I might have to. Because it hurts like hell sometimes. I'm talking seveeeeeeeere pain. It first happened in a city golf championship match about ten years ago. I was ready to hit my approach on hole #4, took a practice swing and stopped on the way down, it hurt so bad. I kept trying to take practice swings. With excruciating pain. I finally told my opponent, "okay clock me. Something hurts like hell. If I can't hit soon, I forfeit." I kept swinging and messing around. Finally, miraculously, the pain disappeared. And didn't come again for many years... two years ago. That's when this knot appeared. It's all very strange. The shoulder pain and the hand pain sometimes get connected. Some type of referral thing going on there. But whatever it is, when that happens, it's bad. Man, it's hell to get old.

> > > [ Live! ] < < <

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SOmeone earlier mentioned quackery in relation to acupuncture. I would disgaree on this, with significant research being done on its benefits. Chiropractors - now THERE are some quacks! (I now wait for the outraged voices of Chiropractic patients)
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[quote]Livemusic- "Doc, you keep poking up here on the shoulder and stuff but don't forget, it hurts over here, too." And "over here" meant... if I reach over with my right hand and find the top of the left shoulder joint... about two to three inches down and back toward the triceps from that spot. Kind of where the triceps goes up into the shoulder muscles, whatever that is.[/quote]In the doctors defense (and I don't know him, he could still be an idiot) this does sound like a classic rotator cuff tear. In this case the supraspinatus ligament would be involved, if you care. [quote]Livemusic- The shooting pains I have throughout the day... I could take it if that's all there was to it. They're not severe enough to cause me to have severe "pain." It's more like aggravating pains.[/quote]However now it seems that the problem is nerve pain. Pains from compressed or stretched nerves are frequently described as "shooting," "stabbing," or "electric" and can be very brief (less than a second) or relentless. Incidently, the nerve thing fits with your ability to play guitar with no problems, but you experience pain with your golf swing. The golf swing stretches the nerve in the arm eliciting pain. Since most people have a guitar strum that comes from the elbow the stretch is much less. [quote]Livemusic- And my, my, on top of that, I have a problem with my left hand. Between the center of my wrist and my thumb, on top of my hand. I think it's an old break. I broke this hand in an farm welding explosion about 25 years ago. Broke it in three places and I think this knot is where one of the breaks was. It's a knot that you can visibly see and feel. Whatever it is, the doc had a name for it. He didn't xray it, as the subject at that time was the shoulder.[/quote]Probably a fracture of the scaphoid - one of the bones of the hand/wrist. Unfortunately, if it wasn't treated when it happened (and it sounds like it wasn't) there probably isn't a bone there anymore - the scaphoid can die easily when fractured (yes your bones are alive). Now I bet that there's just a bunch of scar tissue that may press on the radial nerve as it arches around the hand (your excruciating hand pain) or it may have healed weakly and the pain is from fracturing it again - the pain goes away when it "sets" itself again. Incidently, the nerve that serves this part of the hand comes from the nerve that serves the part of your shoulder having pain, so I'm not surprised you may have pain associated with both places at the same time. [quote]TheWewus - You've got nothing to lose because you can't really do any damage with the small weights.[/quote]That's pretty much true - unless you have something wrong with you! [quote]TheWewus- Nobody in the medical community will tell you this because they can't make any money off of you working out at home.[/quote]Sorry Wewus, not picking on you, but this is actually the oposite of reality in this insurance world. Most of you are probably "capitated" to your doctor. In this situation the insurance company pays the doctor $X per capita (capita = capitated) for each of their patients that he/she cares for each year. If the patients are healthy and don't need a doctor then great, I get to keep that money and take a golf vacation. If you get sick then I have to spend some of that money to make you well, so I have to play the public course. The idea was that doctors would stop ordering every possible expensive test when it was their money and not paid for by the insurace company, but you can see how this system can be abused. Certainly not everyone is capitated, but it is a common payment form now. -Casey
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Yeah it's kind of ridiculous for any of us to be trying to diagnose someone over the internet. Could you hold your shoulder up to the web camera and fax me some x-rays? Remember an apple a day keeps the guitarist away. My final word on this subject, try the acupuncture.
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My understanding is that acupuncture is gaining acceptance as being a real phenomenon; whether popularist s explanations for the effect make any sense is irrelevant. Weight training has a lot of precedence to prevent aggravation of a damaged muscle. Strengthen the muscles that help support or work with the muscle in question, helps the muscle recover and not get injured again. As and aside: I've got beat up knees from doing dumb things on BMX bikes and skateboards as a kid. Periodically I'll be walking along and suddenly - "something" stops working and I get a pain in the side of a knee if I put all of my weight on it. It used to be I couldn't really run any great distance at all before they'd start hurting (which is ironic, because when I was a kid *nobody* could run anywhere near as fast as me); which didn't really matter since I never liked jogging anyhow, and ended up getting into mountain bikes (no problems). HOWEVER, I did try glucosamine chondroitin a few years ago. After about 3 weeks I found I could run again; started jogging a little bit. That lasted for about a year and a half. I quit running - it's BORRRRRRRing..... and found about about a year later the same problems came back. Came back during the winter - when I don't ride my bike as much. So my theory is that whatever problem I've got is probably due to some sort of injury in my knee - probably bits of cartilage grinding around maybe - the chondroitin fixed the cartilage enough I could start running - and I built my musculature up enough that it sustained me for awhile. I stopped taking the g. chondroitin, and the muscle tone prevented my knees from going bad again.... .... until I quit running, and then kicked back for that winter while not riding. Muscles atrophied, and I'm back to square one. Which is fine, because I know what I've got to do if I want to run - which I don't, as long as I can ride my bike I don't care. But - the point is that g. chondroitin more than likely did "something" helpful in my case, despite being a "non-approved" medical supplement, and I'm also certain that the muscle toning kept my knees in good shape past the point that the g. chondroitin wasn't doing anything (since I stopped taking it).

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/ "big ass windbag" - Bruce Swedien

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Chip, hell, here's another one. I provide this only maybe so it will help you. About 15 years ago, I was walking down the hall in my office and suddenly, my left knee buckled and down I went. Writing on the floor in pain, my secretary thought I had a heart attack. Nope, my knee. I kept trying to stand up but it hurt so bad, man, it hurt. Hurt so bad, I could almost cry. I tried and tried and finally, she told me she had to take me in. Before I relented, maybe five minutes later, I kept messing around with it, all of this causing MORE intense pain. And I found I could BARELY even touch the offending spot around the edge of my kneecap... like, BARELY touch it and it would cause this terrible pain. Finally, in desperation, I just jabbed hell out of that spot. Guess what. Pain disappeared. Never had it since. The same doc that did my surgery, one day, I told him that odd story. He just matter of factly said "That was cartilage sticking out. You were touching raw cartilage, which is full of nerve endings. Somehow, it slipped out from under the kneecap and then you poked it, it went back in." In high school, I played every sport there was, including I played quarterback in football and got the shit beat out of me over three years. But I never recall having a knee injury. Isn't that odd.

> > > [ Live! ] < < <

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[quote]Originally posted by LiveMusic: [b] I told him that odd story. He just matter of factly said "That was cartilage sticking out. You were touching raw cartilage, which is full of nerve endings. Somehow, it slipped out from under the kneecap and then you poked it, it went back in." [/b][/quote]Wow, that's interesting. Hmm. I get the urge to sort of push on my patella when it happens... doesn't really help, but .. Hmm. My problem is that it seems like my calf will go foward - the wrong way - when this happens, like something should be stopping it but isn't. Doesn't hurt really bad, more annoying, but it feels like if I were to ignore it in this state and maybe jump in the air and land on it it would just buckle forward. It always passes so... "!?" I have fallen directly onto my knees many, many times.... they both swollen enormously, doctors threatening to drain them... Never did, maybe they should have, I dunno. Regardless, it's no biggie but sometimes inconvenient.

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/ "big ass windbag" - Bruce Swedien

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Acupuncture is not a phenomenon; it is a legitimate method of treatment used by many doctors throughout China. It can be used to help alleviate lower back pain (the reason that i go to an acupuncturist), reduce or combat colds and flus, restore energy, and many other things. I am no expert on acupuncture. However, it works on the principal of chi, a life energy that allegedy courses through our bodies. Whether or not you believe that you have that, what it does do for things like my lower back is address some of the pinched nerves and increase blood flow to the restricted muscle groups by causing the muscle to slowly release, which are some of the things that have been shown to occur by Western medicine. In my opinion, some of the most powerful results occur from someone who is trained in both Eastern medicine and Western medicine. Given together, I find that the two approaches are often quite complementary, addressing the body much more fully than either could do by itself. Regarding extreme lower back problems, which I unfortunately suffer from, I've found that the best method of treatment for me has been St. John's neuromuscular therapy. Neuromuscular therapy involves deep tissue massage and manipulation of joints, fascia, ligaments, etc. (somewhat like rolfing in some regards), stretching of limbs, etc., and teaching the client to walk, sit, etc. better. Getting back to acupuncture, I've been to four different acupuncturists. So far, all of them have told me that not everyone responds equally to acupuncture. This is of course completely logical, since not everyone responds to medicine, surgery, etc. the same way either. However, they stated that 80% or more seem to respond very effectively to acupuncture treatment, and over 5% somewhat, while a small amount of the population do not seem to respond at all. Like any doctor, there are some acupuncturists that are really good. There are some that aren't quite so good. So far, i've had really good luck -- 3 of the 4 were really good, and the other one was still reasonably effective. As far as the person who compared $10,000 surgery to a series of $60 visits to an acupuncturist , and then stated, "You get what you pay for.", this seems completely off. Acupuncture is not a placebo. It is founded on specific knowledge of the body. It is founded on science. If you feel that surgery is the answer for any malady of this sort, that's really your trip. However, there are usually quite a few different approaches to the same thing, and it's unfortunately up to the patient to try and determine an effective course of action -- unless you want to simply trust your HMO's opinion.
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Hey CG1155: Are you in the insurance business? I've never heard that term capitated used in regard to insurance. Tell me more if you can. Anyway I stand by my original statement. You really have nothing to lose by using small weights. You're not going to put any more stress on your body than you would doing regular activities. You would use that same amount of force to do things like lifting boxes, doing yard work, etc. As you get stronger you use larger weights. Thing is if you feel pain you stop, very simple. I believe you have to take responsibility for your own health, if you totally rely on other people you stand a great chance of being misled. Hey Chip: I read a little blurb in the paper last Sunday saying glucoasimine raises cholestorol greatly. Have you heard anything about that. It HAS been proven that glucoasamine rebuilds cartliage and I have used it but if it increase cholesterol that would really sux.
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I feel ya Livemusic... I am in a similar situation... I injured my shoulder about 14 yrs ago... actually it's a pretty bizzare story in itself... I injured my knee first and when I visited a doc, he supposedly wanted to see how loose my joints were so he told me to relax and then proceeded to rip my right shoulder out of socket... well it's never been the same since, but it's also never really stopped me from doing what I want to do... until about 2 months ago that is... all of a sudden I have serious pain in my shoulder and it hasn't subsided yet. I am also a golf fanatic, though I've only been at it about 2 yrs (handicap at about 22.5). So I've also been considering alternative medicines,,, particularly accupuncture. Anyways here's something for you to try, and I'm about to as well. I heard it on a radio program on a recent road trip. This doctor developed this stuff for serious arthritic patients, and people with joint problems, etc. It is a cream that you rub on the affected area. It is loaded with glucosamine, and also a number of natural anti inflamatories and pain killers. She claims that much of the glucosamine that you would normally ingest is not processed by your body, where the cream goes straight into the system. The infomercial went on and on with testimonials etc, but I'd suggest you call this number and ask a few questions about it on your own. The number is 1-800-836-9827 . I think it costs a little over $100 for a 6 month supply. I'll be checking it out myself asap.

Kris

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Myotherapy is like acupuncture is some ways. Except you can have a friend administer Myotherapy or even administer it to yourself. It is done in conjunction with exercise. It is applicable to most muscular discomfit. http://www.bonnieprudden.com/
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