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Acupuncture can lessen pain for brain injury victims

Recent medical data suggests that Texas victims of traumatic brain injury (TBI) may have hope for pain relief in the form of ancient eastern medicine. Specifically, the practice of acupuncture may help brain injury patients experience pain relief and other improvements in their overall health and function. This news comes as a relief to patients and their families who are struggling to come to terms with the physical and psychological damage that can accompany a serious brain injury.

Acupuncture is being used to treat soldiers who have suffered a wide range of TBI incidents. Veterans experience high rates of TBI, due to their proximity to explosive devices, land mines, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. However, anyone can experience a brain injury through automobile crashes and other incidents.

Medical personnel at the George E. Whalen Veterans Health Administration are using acupuncture to treat TBI patients. Participants suffer from a wide range of health concerns such as chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and TBI. Patients are seen on an outpatient basis, and many report a lessening of symptoms after several weeks of treatment. In addition, the staff is able to teach patients how to use similar techniques at home to reduce pain levels.

TBI can cause debilitating damage. In some cases, patients have sustained a level of brain injury that makes it difficult to obtain employment, and require extensive retraining in order to have the ability to reenter the workforce in a different capacity. While additional research is still needed to fully understand acupuncture's role in the healing process, recent evidence suggests that it could be a useful tool in the management of pain related to TBI.

Acupuncture is not covered by many healthcare insurance plans, and is therefore unavailable to many Texas brain injury patients who lack the ability to pay for treatment out-of-pocket. When an injury is sustained due to the negligence of another, a personal injury lawsuit can help recover damages that can be used to fund this and other forms of medical treatment. Traumatic brain injury can lead to lifelong medical issues, and the ability to pay for continuing care and treatment is imperative to restoring a positive quality of life.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Acupuncture helping vets with traumatic brain injury," March 20, 2013

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