How to treat postoperative patient with acupuncture

△ Acupuncture and herbal medicine treatment work for postoperative care without side-effects. photoⓒDollarphotoclub_Tyler Olson

By Winston Lee L. Ac, Ph.D, KMD

Not all the back-pain patient doesn’t need to take a surgery. Some of them are required to consider taking it. If the patient has serious symptoms such as foot drop due to spinal cord injury and total loss of sensation on leg, the patient is generally recommended to take an open surgery in order to remove the herniated disc. In this case, the benefit of surgery is bigger or more than the complications after the surgery even though any operation has some risks anyway.


Once a patient got surgery, he or she cannot go back to the previous normal life right away. Because they cannot keep standing and sitting long time, lifting up a baby, swinging golf clubs or vacuuming at home for a while. The patient must be aware that the body is still vulnerable and fragile to get injured by excessive weight bearing onto the vertebral bone and spine. If the patient could not help to undergo the operation, the risk of the second surgery is usually more than the first one. Furthermore, some second surgery cannot be performed due to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and etc.


The most common postoperative care after surgery is to take painkiller on regular basis. Most of painkillers are NSAIDs pills – COX-2 inhibitor. It will block the conduction of nerve from origin to the brain. NSAIDs can cause ulcer and bleeding in the stomach when it is prescribed over 8-10 weeks. Acupuncture can replace pain killing medicines very effectively. Recent study shows that acupuncture plays a role as effective as COX-2 inhibitor without concerning of stomach ulcer or gastritis. In addition, acupuncture does not make any gastric disorder even though taking it for several months. It is just a physical stimulation without any effect to liver and kidney.


The beauty of postoperative treatment in eastern medicine is applying  natural herbal medicine. If it is prescribed properly by a doctor, the medicine will boost the immune system to recover unwanted symptoms from surgery.

With Siberian Ginseng and Encomia ulmoides, these promote the regeneration process very effectively. Angelica gigas and steamed roots of Riemannian stimulate blood circulation especially where the surgery done. This preventative process can prevent further damage or injury because this medicine will strengthen the supportive muscle, ligament and all other tissue. According to many studies and thesis, it was proved that the relapse rate with this medicine is way lower than the control group.


In short, acupuncture and physical therapy are needed to control the pain as an immediate relief as substitute for chemical painkiller pills. Actually, herbal medicine is more important to treat the root reasons and it will promote the recovery and reconstruction better than any other method.


There are some instructions for patient at home. Patient need to eat enough amount of protein to replenish nutrition to the surgery site. Not to mention meat, bean, tofu and avocado are very decent resources of protein. Also sleeping is an important factor which is dominating the recovery rate after surgery. Based on scientific study, most musculoskeletal injury and inflammation in any tissue are recovered while we’ve taken a deep sleep at night.