Case 141. female, age 85, retired.
Complaints: Constant lumbar pain due to degenerative joint disease. No relief with two epidurals. The pain is worse in the mornings, evenings, and often throughout the night, affecting the quality of sleep and ability to do regular activities in the house.
Acupuncture: Right-side yang horary points in Metal-Order of LI1, UB66, GB41, SI5, and ST36 plus GB34, LI11, and SI8 because earth is a central element for this constitution with Lesser Yin & Greater Yin.
Treatment process: This patient had 52 acupuncture treatments in a 21-month period so far. Initially, she had twice a week visit for 2 weeks and the frequency eventually tapered down to once every 2-3 weeks. The first 2 sessions only provided a mild relief. At the 3rd visit, the change to Wood-Order of GB44, SI2, ST43, LI5, and UB40 in the next 26 visits provided a moderate relief. But she still had frequent periods of intense lumbar pain and the treatments were becoming not as effective. From the 29th visit, the protocol was changed to Metal-Order, which gave a better immediate and lasting relief until the following visit 2-3 weeks later.
Discussion: Acupuncture is quite forgiving. Even with the less-than-optimal points, there was no aggravation. Furthermore, her quality of life had increased with two major benefits. She is still able to live independently in her home and to take long road trips with her son.