Real-life medical mysteries don't play out like an episode of "House." Many people suffer through years of frustrations and setbacks without ever getting any answers.
But even if a team of docs, specialists, and House himself can't figure out what's wrong, you can still get real relief from many of the world's most mysterious -- and most common -– conditions.
All it takes is a little patience... and a lot of needles. I'm talking, of course, about acupuncture.
A new study finds that when it comes to musculoskeletal health problems and other common "mystery" disorders, acupuncture can ease pain and improve quality of life.
British researchers recruited 80 patients with an average age of 50 who had made at least eight trips to the doctor over the past year for conditions that included chronic pain, fatigue, and/or emotional problems. Many of these patients were in so much pain they had trouble completing everyday tasks, had problems at work, or even disability.
Half of these patients were given 12 acupuncture sessions over 26 weeks, while the other half served as a control group.
Those who got the pins-and-needles treatment reported remarkable improvements -- including a boost in overall wellbeing, more energy, and less pain. What's more, the researchers wrote in the British Journal of General Practice that these benefits remained even 26 weeks after the treatments ended.
The control group, naturally, showed no improvements. But after the initial 26 weeks, researchers invited them to the acupuncture party –- and they quickly recovered to the same degree as the patients in the first group.
Despite being poorly understood by mainstream doctors, mystery conditions such as musculoskeletal problems are far more common than you might think. Up to a fifth of all patients suffer from them, which means someone you know is probably battling one of these illnesses right now.
You might even be in that fight yourself.
But as the new study shows, you don't have to take "I don't know" for an answer anymore.
If your doc is stumped and all the specialists in the world insist there's nothing wrong with you, don't book another fruitless appointment.
Try an acupuncturist instead.
But while you're going alternative, why stop there?
An experienced naturopathic physician might be able to succeed where your mainstream doc failed and find the real source of your condition.