How soon can I expect results from acupuncture?
The response time for individuals varies with acupuncture treatment. In general most patients will experience a good change in their symptoms in first 6-10 visits. Many patients have improvement considerably sooner, with pain conditions often lessening to some extent after the first treatment for 1-2 days and then gradually returning, or diminishing in frequency or severity of occurrence, relatively early but taking some time to become reliably diminished. Similar to exercise or forming new habits, frequency and consistency in treatment tend to establish better long-term outcomes.
The factors that seem to influence speed of response are overall health and age and previous history of surgical intervention as well as severity of the underlying issues. Fit healthy individuals tend to respond more quickly and maintain their recovery between treatments more easily. Also patients who do not have manifestations of physical changes impacting their health issues tend to respond more quickly as well, for example joint pain but no signs of actual arthritic change will generally improve faster than a person with arthritic changes already present. Patients who have had surgical interventions already (for instance spinal surgery) may get relief from pain but it may not be as complete as a patient who has not had surgery for a similar condition due to the change in the tissues and bone structure from surgery.
Although I find acupuncture can be quite helpful for a pretty wide variety of conditions it is not a magic bullet or cure all. Sometimes a reduction in pain or frequency of pain, or improvement in sleep or overall well-being is all we can bring in certain situations due to the severity or long-standing nature of some health concerns. Acupuncture can be used alone or along with other methods of care. Sometimes acupuncture isn't the answer, or isn't the answer by itself, if I am aware of a treatment or practitioner that may be able to help you more with your health needs I will share this information with you. My main concern as a health care provider is that you get the care that you need be it with me or through other means, including Western medicine when needed.