JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A 10-year Army veteran who suffers from arthritis is on a mission to tell folks about a form of acupuncture that could help ease the pain without taking medication.
John Culin said he goes to Jacksonville's Outpatient Clinic off North Jefferson to try "Battlefield Acupuncture." It's an old practice that was developed by a retired Air Force Colonel about 20 years ago.
The process involves inserting small needles around the ears.
“Battlefield acupuncture as a technique is a very simple, very quick and very effective, very safe methodology to help treat chronic pain problems," said Dr. Robert G. Lee. "Since the opioid thing got to be what it is, it’s now like let's break out and spend more time doing this."
Lee is among a half-dozen using the practice over the past year at Jacksonville’s Veteran’s Outpatient Clinic. They hope is for people like Culin to go there instead of turning to opioids. It appears to be working.
“A great number of patients have remarked that provides tremendous relief, some to the extent they’ve been able to reduce the amount of opioids they use,” Lee said.
Culin said is all too familiar with addiction.
“I broke both of my knees in 1989," he said. "I was getting 40 milligrams of morphine every four hours followed by two capsules, after 16 days of treatment you become addicted and after 21 days, I had to go through withdrawal.”
Culin was skeptical of the idea until his very treatment and immediate relief.
“I dropped my hat and I was sitting on edge of the bed and without even thinking about it, just bent over and picked it up and I was like 'holy crap, I can bend over and pick it up,' he said.
Lee said resul, of course, will vary, but pain can be relieved for up to a few weeks from one treatment.
Culin said this treatment should help him for the next few weeks
The only pain he now has to deal with now comes from home.
“My 14 year-old gives me crap about it, he goes 'I see you have some earrings there buddy,'" he said.