Acupuncture/Cervical herniation


I had two cervical herniations C-3/4 that was fixed with a Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion and a 2nd herniation at C-5/6 that was not as bad and according to my surgeon has had some improvement since.  Surgery was August 29th 2012.  I was walking with a cane and was not able to even button my trousers.  No more cane and hands though still to stiff and numb for my liking are better.

Im better over all but my continued symptoms are according to my DR.  likely do to spinal swelling or edema. He indicated it may just stay that way, or take much longer to improve.

My question:
Have you had any success in treating this kind of swelling with acupuncture?

Dear Clayton -

I am happy that you found some positive progress and recovery.  Often, two herniations such as this do not have the best outcome.

Your situation is much like that seen in many of my patients.  I agree with your surgeon that this may be due to swelling or edema, and this often takes a while to resolve.  

Sometimes, edema (if present) is made worse by localized muscle tightness that interferes with circulation; this can often be helped with acupuncture.  What is happening in your case can only be determined with you present, so I cannot be much more specific than that.  Associated signs and symptoms such as headache, limitation in range of motion, grip strength, and hypertonic musculature would need to be evaluated.  I treat a fair number of people who are recovering from cervical surgery and/or injuries and have relatively good success.  You should be able to find an acupuncturist in California who is familiar with the orthopedic protocols used in treating neck conditions.

If I have not answered your question fully, don't hesitate to ask a follow-up.

I wish you well in your continued recovery.

Mike Zanoni, L.Ac.


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Michael M. Zanoni, MS, LAc


I am knowledgeable about severe and chronic pain from musculoskeletal or neurological conditions, especially trauma, headache, and fibromyalgia. I can provide guidance that will assist healing and recovery after illness or surgery. I have a particular interest in long-term chronic conditions that are becoming progressively worse or intermittently severe (such as viral hepatitis, Crohn's, or Takayasu syndrome.) I have extensive experience treating endocrine disorders, such as diabetes or thyroid problems, where the primary condition is being monitored by a Western-trained physician, and cancer where there are specific treatment goals other than cure (e.g., decrease of pain; reduction of side effects of radiation and chemotherapy; lessening of edema; palliative treatment of associated conditions.) I do not treat or answer questions about infertility, ALS, or senile dementia.


I have practiced Oriental medicine for over sixteen years in a variety of settings. Much of my practice has centered around a busy clinic specializing in severe long-term chronic pain conditions and palliative care. For several years I worked in a hospice program. I also established a non-profit community clinic providing care to under-served and homeless patients. My work has found me in an HIV clinic in San Francisco, a busy private practice in Oregon, to traveling on muddy 4-wheel drive roads to see dying patients. I now teach acupuncture and Oriental medicine at a school in Hawaii.

My training was at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco where I received a masterís degree in Chinese Medicine. I have current board certifications in Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture, and Chinese Herbology from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. I also have certifications in Chinese tui na bodywork, Physical Rehabilitation Training, and biofeedback. I am licensed to practice acupuncture and Oriental medicine in Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington. I also have BA, MS, and PhD degrees in subjects not directly related to Oriental medicine.

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