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A practitioner sets a needle into a patient's wrist as the patient reclines in a lazyboy. Two other sleeping patients are visible in the background.

Community Acupuncture While Waiting for Hip or Knee Replacement

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

by Stef Cordes and Lisa Baird

The average wait time in Guelph for a knee replacement this spring, according to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, was over seven months. The average wait time for a hip replacement was almost nine months.

Taking into consideration the average estimated pain experienced by people waiting for a hip or knee replacement (a heck of a lot), one can imagine there is not only increasing pressure to reduce wait times, but also to find safe and effective ways to manage the pain.

Fortunately, acupuncture can help with that pain, so we recommend anyone on a wait list for these surgeries to try acupuncture. Even people who have told us “it’s bone-on-bone in there,” i.e. even people with extreme breakdown of joint cartilage, have reported significant and lasting pain relief as well as improved mobility–and, unsurprisingly, an improved state of mind.

Being waitlisted for surgery not only results in prolonged pain, but it can also dramatically affect your mood and your ability to get a good night’s sleep. We regularly use acupuncture to treat low mood and poor sleep–improved mood and quality of sleep are the most common side effects of acupuncture.

Interesting side note: auricular acupuncture can help with pain management during orthopedic surgery too! A 2006 study saw a decrease of 21% in opioids for pain management during hip surgery when patients received auricular acupuncture during surgery.

If you have questions about how acupuncture can help during your wait for surgery, please get in touch.

A practitioner sets a needle into a patient's wrist as the patient reclines in a lazyboy. Two other sleeping patients are visible in the background.

photo by Vanessa Tignanelli

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