Aid Station Acupuncture… Revisited

Recently one of my Soldiers went to the Aid Station to help him alleviate his lower back pain. He’s had lower back pain for the past few months. He’s seen several doctors and physical therapists, been on plenty of medications: Nothing.

One of our Medical Officers offered to treat his back pain with acupuncture. I did not express much skepticism for a few reasons. 1) He is an Officer, I am lower enlisted and 2) I was afraid that any doubt on my behalf may negate any positive effect from the treatment, placebo or otherwise.

So here they are, fresh off my camera:


Beginning of the treatment. The pain was on either side of the spine in the lower back.


Inserting more needles.


The needles were proper sterile acupuncture needles and inserted about 5/8ths to 3/4ths of an inch into the affected muscles.


The provider had a small electrical device to stimulate the acupuncture needles electrically. The device had several knobs and switches to adjust the current which I believe pulsed.


Applying the eletrical stimulation to the needles.


Adjusting the current to the needles. When a current was applied through the needles the muscles with the needles spasmed.

The treatment only took about 3-5 minutes to apply and the patient was instructed to lay and relax for about 20 minutes while the electrical device applied current to the needles.The provider and I kicked back and talked about acupuncture and the theory on it’s mechanisms and medicinal properties. Like I said, I did a good job of hiding my skepticism. I managed to squeeze out little nuggets of information from the provider. He mentioned several times that he himself was not sure how it worked. He also mentioned that he was quiet skeptical about acupuncture until he took classes on Reflexology (!).

I don’t know what to make of it but again, I see very little harm. Hopefully, even if it is placebo, this procedure can help this Soldier with his pain.

Happy Armistice Day everyone!


6 Responses to “Aid Station Acupuncture… Revisited”

  1. bythemark Says:

    I think it’s a placebo+massage. I mean, yeah, it’s needles in your back, but I suppose the current might give something akin to a massage (the spasms could do something, so long as they don’t cramp). I’m hardly an expert though.

  2. i love alternative treatments because it is simple and does not have nasty side effects “;;

    • 556caliberatheist Says:

      I don’t doubt that alternative treatments have few side effects…

      I am dubious that they have any effects at all!

  3. I’m currently watching jeff and kiseok cover you.

  4. I’m currently watching kiseok and jeff cover you.

  5. I’m a Royal Marines Commando – I had the same problem and the same treatment (minus the charge) in Afghanistan a couple of years ago. While sceptical of accupuncture I went along with the treatment as it was the next thing the doc wanted to try. It was effective in the short term (day or two) but I needed to go back for more. The third time I had it was the last as I got nearly no benefit from it. Placebo effect? Maybe. Relaxing the muscles has been suggested but I don’t know. But I now know from experience that at best it provided short term pain relief, not a proper fix.

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