Acupuncture in the Treatment of Musculoskeletal and Nervous System Disorders
Lu Shaojie Translated by Rodger Watts and Mao Shuzhang Subject editor David F. Mayor Published by Donica Publishing Ltd, 2009 2nd Edition, Paperback, 608 pages Price: £44.10 ISBN: 9781901149074
(Reviewed by Richard Farrer, EJOM Vol. 6 No. 6)
This is an important work. Dr Lu Shaojie has more than 30 years of clinical experience and is widely published. The first edition was published as two books, this one has combined them into one volume. This was done because some conditions have both musculoskeletal and neurological aspects.
Dr Lu covers a very wide range of disorders and provides the reader with a comprehensive reference for conditions in these two specialities which as practitioners we may have felt daunted by, or ignorant of in our own practice.
The chapters are set out logically. The first covers disorders of the head and neck; chapter two, disorders of the trunk; chapter three, upper limbs conditions, and chapter four, lower limb. The following chapter covers cranial nerve disorders; the sixth, central nervous system disorders such as cerebral haemorrhage and chapter seven, others such as myasthenia gravis. It is the comprehensive content of each chapter which I think is especially helpful. For example in chapter one Dr Lu discusses whiplash injury. Description includes both a thorough anatomical and Western medical viewpoint as well as TCM pattern identification, treatment principle and suggested point prescription.
Even experienced practitioners of musculoskeletal disorders may appreciate a detailed discussion of radicular cervical spondylosis, costochondritis (Tietze’s syndrome) or tarsal tunnel syndrome. Following chapters dealing with neurological ones provide information on less familiar problems but included in these are conditions such as Bell’s palsy and TIA. Description of sphenopalantine neuralgia and syringomyelia provide us with interesting and valuable references which may be hard to find elsewhere.
Dr Lu then, provides us with a comprehensive text, combining a Western and TCM viewpoint. He includes many case histories, anatomical drawings, a number of photographs of needles in situ on a human body, details of scalp acupuncture and information on electrical parameters when using electro-acupuncture.
A number of details raise interesting considerations for us as practitioners. In places he recommends needle retention for 40 minutes, treatment to be given once a day for six consecutive days and to recommence after a few days if necessary. In one case of post-herpetic neuralgia, of 18 years standing, 44 treatments were given and some injections before the symptoms disappeared. As yet most of us are not able or wish to follow these protocols but Dr Lu does share a wealth of practical experience and demonstrates acupuncture as an effective, widely applicable modality. Some of the conditions such as conversion disorder or hysteria are perhaps superficially described and prescriptively treated, which may be a reflection of cultural differences or different styles of acupuncture.
In conclusion this book should be part of any practitioner’s library. Acupuncturists, physiotherapists and medical practitioners would all benefit from either reading cover to cover or ‘dipping’ into it from time to time. Dr Lu helps us to realise that acupuncture has an important role to play in medicine and this volume hopefully will contribute to this being a universal perspective.
Richard Farrer Richard Farrer is an acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and chartered physiotherapist. He has been in practice in Leicester since 1984 and has a particular interest in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders.