Q. A year ago, seeking relief for the pain of an arthritic knee, I began seeing a traditional Chinese acupuncturist. Within a couple of months, much to my surprise, not only was my knee much better, but my libido also was resurrected!
This systemic unblocking of vital energy affects every system in the body, and it makes perfect sense to me that sexual energy is affected. I continue regular acupuncture “tune-ups” and feel like the desirable/desiring woman I was 20 years ago.
A recent meta-analysis of acupuncture for chronic pain reviewed 31 randomized controlled trials (Archives of Internal Medicine online, Sept. 10, 2012). The pain conditions considered in these studies included back and neck pain, shoulder pain, osteoarthritis and chronic headache.
According to the investigators, acupuncture is effective for treating chronic pain, so we are not surprised that your knee responded well.
We were amazed, however, that your libido also was restored. We could find no relevant studies in the medical literature, though one review suggested improved libido in stallions (Theriogenology, August 2008).
Medicine for migraines
Q. I have migraines that I used to control with ibuprofen. After suffering severe stomach erosion, I gave up on that except for an emergency.
Now that we know that ibuprofen can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, I need a headache medicine that will be safe. I searched the Web, and all the prescription medicines have warnings about heart attacks.
Is there anything I can safely take when I have a migraine?
NSAIDs like diclofenac, ibuprofen and naproxen can cause life-threatening bleeding ulcers. Since you are susceptible to this reaction, you must avoid such medications.
Danish scientists found that people who had experienced heart attacks were about 50 percent more likely to have a second one if they were taking ibuprofen, diclofenac or similar drugs (Circulation online, Sept. 10, 2012).
Ask your doctor about alternative approaches such as magnesium, vitamin B-2, acupuncture and herbs such as butterbur, feverfew and ginger.
Inducing “brain freeze” by drinking a very cold icy beverage or quickly eating a frozen dessert can sometimes stop a migraine, especially if used early.
Write to Joe and Terry Graedon at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com. Their newest book is “Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them.”