Do You Know Why in Some Cases Acupuncture Doesn’t Work for Retinitis Pigmentosa?

Do we know why in some cases acupuncture doesn’t work?

Dr. Rosenfarb:  In some cases we do and in some some cases we don’t.  I have certain cases where I kind of know if it’s not going to work or it’s going to be a challenging case.  I usually know that before somebody comes in.  However,  there are some cases that I am totally blind-sided by and just can’t really figure out why a person has not responded.

As you know, not everybody is going to respond.  We get about an 80-85% success rate with all of our RP patients. A couple of examples of people with RP who won’t respond are people who have had a traumatic injury where they have severed their optic nerve or they’ve have really destroyed a lot of the retina  in something like a car accident, God forbid.

I’ve had a police officer coming from the 911 with smoke damage and scar tissue as well as congenital issues. That is an example of a traumatic issue where the chemical toxicity has caused so much trauma and physical damage to the eye.  In some cases, it’s beyond repair, at least, from what I can do with the acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

Other cases where there is brain damage can be a time where acupuncture for rp might not work. Maybe someone has had a stroke or they have a severe history of major mental or emotional illness that they’re dealing with (major emotional trauma). Basically, what happens with the acupuncture is you’re putting a needle into a specific acupuncture point and it is sending a signal through the nervous system up to the brain to stimulate the optic nerves, the retina and the visual cortex. If the brain isn’t working or functioning to what we call “normal” or kind of in a stressed state, the body can’t interpret or respond to that signal.

Again, you’re putting a needle into a point and it sends the signal to the brain. The brain then has to interpret that signal and then send the response to the retina or the optic nerve. If the brain’s not working or there’s a problem with the central nervous system, you’re not going to get a response. You’re going to get the hang-up in the central nervous system.

Things that can cause stress, brain issues or there’s a problem with the autonomic nervous system and the brain in the central nervous system. Some people are just really advanced but I can’t say that because we have patients that are, again, really, really advanced that respond really well. I have had other people that are at a really early to moderate stage now that I knew would respond but they didn’t. That is why I don’t charge anything if there is no increase. The majority of people response VERY well.

We do know some medications like corticosteroids and immune suppressants will floor acupuncture. It’s such a heavy anti-inflammatory. It impairs the body’s ability to respond. It impairs the nervous system. People come in intoxicated on heavy neuro suppressants or pain killers such as Dopamine or Oycodone, they’re not going to respond more than likely or they’re going to have lesser response than with other people.

The quick answer is yes in some cases we know and in some cases we really need to explore more of the mechanism of why there isn’t a response. That’s a really great question.