Recovery from a stroke is never a certainty. In the U.S., nearly 800,000 people a year suffer a stroke. Many wind up with significant disability, including various types and degrees of paralysis. However, a new study has found that Acupuncture may help.
Although stroke victims can suffer a variety of after-effects, one vital function that all stroke victims have in common is loss of normal controlled movements. This may not last for any significant length of time, or it can be permanent.
The problem with controlling movements stems from the loss of muscle tone on the side of the body affected by the stroke. This condition is sometimes known as post-stroke flaccid limb dysfunction.
In China and Japan, Acupuncture treatment after a stroke is very common and is likely to start within days of the stroke. Treatment is generally daily.
According to the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture: “Many studies involving thousands of patients have been published in China and Japan, and 2 of 3 studies from Scandinavia, demonstrated significant help. These studies indicate that patients get well faster, perform better in self-care, require less nursing and rehabilitation therapy, and use less healthcare dollars.”
The current study sought to determine the effectiveness of Acupuncture for post-stroke flaccid limb dysfunction, and involved 240 participants. The participants were divided into four groups, each receiving different treatment.
One group received only Acupuncture, another only Chinese herbal medicine, another only rehabilitation therapy, and the fourth received all three.
The researchers looked for improvements in limb motor function, limb balance function and daily life activity. Results showed:
All four groups improved significantly after treatment.
The group that received Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and rehabilitation showed more improvement than the other three groups.
The improvement in the groups that received only Acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine was better than the improvement in the group that received only standard rehab.
The upper limb motor function improvement in those who received only Acupuncture was better than the improvement in the groups that had only rehab or only Chinese medicine.
If someone you care about has had a stroke, or has one in the future, and needs help with the after effects, make sure you consult with your acupuncturist to see what can be done.
Source: Health National Institutes of Health, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23301465; American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, http://www.medicalacupuncture.org/acu_info/articles/stroketreatment.html;