Chronic Abdominal pain

The patient is a 17 year old girl who has abdominal pain for more than 2 years.  Her pain is constant, lasts 7-8 hours during the day, for 5-6 days per week.  She had multiple laboratories done and the results were all normal.  She was seen by gastroenterologist and had multiple studies including scope done, all studies were negative.  She was started medication for reflux but it was not effective and she had weight loss from poor appetite and continuous pain.  She was scheduled for biopsy to further evaluate her chronic abdominal pain.

While waiting for her biopsy appointment, she was offered acupuncture treatment for twice per week, anticipating 4-6 weeks.  She missed some of her appointment.  After 3 weeks with 3 treatments, the patient states she feels better and her appetite starts coming back.  She is pain free with normal activities after 5 treatments with some weight gain and does not care for more treatments anymore. She returned to her gastroenterology appointment follow up and did not need her biopsy.

Case Comments:

Acupuncture often is effective on some functional disorders when no organic causes can be found.  This patient has a treatable TCM diagnosis ("phlegm"), and the treatment plan is derived from this diagnosis. This case demonstrates the potential benefit of acupuncture when the patient is with functional disorder.