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Pain

Treatment of Neurological Disorders with Acupuncture

Neurons

Treatment of Neurological Disorders with Acupuncture

A neurological disorder refers to a problem with the nervous system, a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates the body’s activities. Nerve pain can arise from trauma, inflammation, stroke, disease, infection, nerve degeneration, exposure to toxic chemicals, and nutrient deficiencies.Nerve pain is usually a sharp, shooting pain or a constant burning sensation. Typically occurring in the same location with each episode, it can often be traced along the nerve pathway. Sometimes weakness or impaired function in the affected area occurs, and the skin may be either overly sensitive or numb.Acupuncture can provide symptom relief from some neurological disorders, including:Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) — ALS is an irreversible neurological disease that destroys the nerve cells that invigorate the muscles.Carpal Tunnel Syndrome — Also known as median nerve entrapment, it occurs when swelling or irritation of the nerve or tendons in the carpal tunnel results in pressure on the median nerve.Headaches — Headaches that can be treated with acupuncture include migraines, tension headaches, headaches occurring around the menstrual cycle, sinus headaches and stress-related headaches.Myasthenia Gravis — This is a neuromuscular disorder causing muscles under voluntary control to tire and become easily fatigued.Peripheral Neuropathy — This presents as damage to the peripheral nervous system, which transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to every other part of the body. This kind of neuropathy can be caused by diabetes and often affects the feet.Trigeminal Neuralgia — This presents as facial pain and is sometimes called Tic Douloureux. It affects the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for impulses of touch, pain, pressure, and temperature sent to the brain from the face, jaw, and gums.Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been found effective as conjunctive therapy for several neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and in treating pain and inflammation.If you or someone you know is suffering from a neurological disorder or nerve pain, contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment!

Study Finds Acupuncture Effective at Treating Parkinson’s Disease

A 2017 meta-analysis published in the journal Medicine set out to discover if acupuncture alone or acupuncture plus conventional treatment could mitigate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Conventional treatment for Parkinson’s disease involves the use of the pharmaceutical drug Levodopa, but long-term use can cause mild to serious complications.After conducting their meta-analysis, the researchers concluded that acupuncture performed better than conventional treatment alone. Additionally, the combination of acupuncture with conventional treatment produced outstanding results when compared to just conventional treatment.Even more promising was the conclusion that acupuncture could provide relief for symptoms of early-stage Parkinson’s Disease, before the onset of drug therapy.Source: Lee, S.-H., & Lim, S. (2017). Clinical effectiveness of acupuncture on Parkinson disease: A PRISMA-compliant systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine, 96(3), e5836. http://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000005836 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5279085/

An Adjunctive Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that progressively damages the central nervous system. This happens due to the wearing away of the myelin sheath, a protective layer encasing the nerves. Some patients initially experience strong symptoms which suddenly disappear as the disease enters a period of remission. Others may experience a more insidious process wherein mild symptoms develop slowly over time but ultimately increase in severity.There is promising evidence that use of acupuncture and Chinese medicine as an adjunctive therapy can help mitigate symptoms and some complications of multiple sclerosis, including depression, problems thinking clearly and emotional instability.An article called “Acupuncture and Multiple Sclerosis: A Review of the Evidence,” was featured in the journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, volume 2014. In this article, the authors assessed the validity of using acupuncture and Oriental medicine to treat symptoms of multiple sclerosis. To do this, the researchers reviewed many scientific studies on the subject to reach their conclusions.Researchers demonstrated that remyelination, repair of the damaged myelin sheath, occurred in a significant amount of study participants. The article also showed potential in regards to treating the mental and emotional challenges faced by patients with multiple sclerosis were measured and shown to improve — including subjective feelings such as depression and the ability of the patient to handle their illness.

Relief from Myasthenia Gravis Symptoms

Myasthenia gravis is a neuromuscular disorder that causes muscles under voluntary control to tire and become easily fatigued. More than half of those diagnosed with myasthenia gravis have eye problems as their first symptoms, including droopy eyelids (ptosis) and double-vision (diplopia). However, roughly 15 percent of sufferers report that their first symptoms started in the face or throat muscles.Someone with difficulties with the face or throat muscles may experience altered speech, limited facial expressions, and difficulty chewing and swallowing. The most severe symptom is called a ‘myasthenia crisis,’ in which the muscles used for breathing no longer function. This is a life-threatening condition, and emergency medical help is required immediately.As myasthenia gravis may affect any muscle under voluntary control, weakness could occur in other areas besides the face and throat. The arms generally are more affected than the legs, and symptoms may present in the hands and feet, although this is not as common.The exact cause of this condition is unknown, but researchers have learned that the disease prompts the immune system to block signals from the nerves to the muscles. There is also evidence that a protein that helps the muscles receive messages is prevented from doing so. It is also believed genetics may play a role.Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can support the treatment you receive from your primary care provider. As this disease is complex, all the things that bother you are reviewed, not just the signs and symptoms specifically related to the disease.If you or someone you know is suffering from a neurological disorder, contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment!  410-984-3700

In This Issue

  • Treatment of Neurological Disorders with Acupuncture
  • Study Finds Acupuncture Effective at Treating Parkinson’s Disease
  • An Adjunctive Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
  • Relief from Myasthenia Gravis Symptoms
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Symptom Relief

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Symptom Relief

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an irreversible neurological disease that destroys the nerve cells, or neurons, that invigorate our muscles.Neurons are found in the brain and spinal cord, which comprise the central nervous system (CNS).As these cells weaken and wither, so do the muscles associated with them. Ultimately, this leads to a paralysis of those muscles.Early warning symptoms of the disease include weakness and fatigue of the arms or legs, and sometimes difficulty with speaking clearly.Other symptoms that may appear in early stages of ALS include:

    • Problems walking, including tripping and dragging the feet
    • Tired and weak feet, ankles and knees
    • Cramping, trembling and twitching of arms and shoulders
    • Tongue spasms
    • Difficulty keeping the head upright

In later stages of the disease, more severe symptoms reveal themselves.The muscles responsible for breathing, swallowing, and moving the body deteriorate to the point where they can no longer function.There is no known cure as of yet. The causes of ALS are not well understood, but it is accepted that genetics and chemical imbalances within the brain may play a role in the disease’s development.Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can assist in managing the symptoms of ALS, including muscle weakness and cramping, fatigue, and emotional issues.According to acupuncture and Chinese medicine, the kidneys are responsible for the production and control of a vital substance called marrow, which produces essential components that make up a healthy central nervous system.The brain is considered a repository for marrow, and is thus termed the Sea of Marrow. When the kidneys are deficient, this condition can negatively impact the central nervous system.When kidney deficiency occurs, it is important to nourish and revitalize them, so they can in turn help nourish and revitalize the brain.

Acupuncture Treatment of Pain

When Are you going to treat my pain???

Over the past few days, I have had several patients ask me …”I am coming in for neck pain or back pain or shoulder pain…where are you going to put the needles”?  Or if I have been seeing the patient I am asked “when are you going to treat my pain… why don’t you just put the needles where my pain is?”

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the flow of energy or Qi, moves in specific pathways called meridians.  There are 14 major pathways, and these pathways interact with each other.  Initially, when I first see a patient, I like to make sure that the overall energy is clear, so I do a few “clearing treatments” before I focus on shifting any energy in a specific pathway.

Your energy is like a garden.   I want flowers or crops to grow, so I need to make sure the ground is ready for planting.  This means removing any unnecessary weeds, or rocks or debris.  This is what the clearing treatments do.  They make the energy channels clear and ready for shifts in energy.  The clearing treatments are generally on the front, or back of the body and can consist of 2-4 treatments if necessary.  This is to ensure that the energy is moving in the proper direction, not being contaminated.  It is like removing a kink form a hose so you can let the water flow.

There is another important thing to note.  Say you come in for wrist pain, there are 6 pathways that encompass the wrist area.  These include the heart, small intestine, triple heater, pericardium, lung and large intestine pathways of energy.  They all start at the fingertips and go up the wrist, to the forearm.  Some of these pathways diverge to the chest, face and back.  So, needles may not be placed in the wrist for wrist pain if there is a blockage of energy along a pathway is say the small intestine at the level of the scapula or shoulder blade.

Traditional Chinese medicine takes all of this into account.  So, when I am asked “When are you going to treat my pain?”  My answer is… I already am…I started with the first session.   Sometimes clearing the general energy blocks (which can include internal and external factors such as emotions, heat, cold, wind, damp, excess or deficiency, side to side energy pathway balance) can make a profound change in the symptoms you came in with and others you were not aware of such as sleep, mood, digestion and concentration.

 

My treatment protocol consists of the following…

Clear general energy blocks -Internal Dragons, External Dragons, Aggressive Energy, Alkabane (side to side balance).  1-4 treatments if needed.

Clear local pathway energy blocks form one pathway to another (Entry/exit blocks) if needed

Treat meridian root cause with local and distal points at each treatment after the clearing treatments

Ashi points or painful points not specifically on an energy pathway.

Treat Constitutionally.

As a team, we are teaching your energy how to stay open and clear, but sometimes life gets in the way, and blockages can reoccur.  Each part of this protocol may need to be done, or just one part, or perhaps several at the same time to shift the energy when it needs to shift.  Each treatment builds on the one before, so it is important to have regular and frequent treatments early in your treatment course.  As your symptom resolves, the length of time between treatments can be increased as long as you remain symptom free.  Once we get to this point, I generally like to have my patients come back monthly for a tune up so that we can continue to keep their energy clear and keep them symptom free.

 

Using Acupuncture to Treat Liver & Kidney Health: Why it Works

Using Acupuncture to Treat Liver & Kidney Health: Why it Works

According to the National Institutes of Health, chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects more than 1 in 7 U.S. adults (an estimated 37 million). And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 4.5 million adults have been diagnosed with liver disease. Those are some sobering statistics, but did you know that acupuncture has a proven track record of effectively dealing with kidney and liver disease?  continue reading »

Benefits of Acupuncture during Pregnancy

Benefits of Acupuncture during Pregnancy_Jean Donati Acupuncture_Towson MD

Bringing a child into the world is one of life’s greatest gifts. But, along with the anticipation of that little bundle of joy, often comes some physical challenges and discomfort that can make for a long nine months. Did you know that acupuncture has been shown to address several issues that come up during pregnancy? Here’s what to know about the benefits of acupuncture during pregnancy and what the research actually says is true. continue reading »

What is Cupping and How Is It Related to Acupuncture? 

Cupping is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapy that dates back to ancient Egyptian, Middle Eastern and Chinese cultures as far back as 300A.D.  TCM philosophy believes that pain results from the blockage of Qi, blood, or energy. You have all heard me say in relationship to acupuncture: “Where there’s stagnation, there is pain.  Where there is free flow there is no pain.”  

Cupping, like acupuncture is a method of clearing this blockage to restore the body’s natural flow of energy.  This is beneficial for health promotion, prophylaxis, and treatment of disorders such as back pain, knee pain, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines, as well as high blood pressure.   

Recent researches show that cupping therapy helps to: 

  • Reduce muscle pain  
  • Improve blood circulation, promote cell repair and increase muscle relaxation 
  • Assist the lymphatic system to drain excess fluids and toxins 

Cupping has many musculoskeletal benefits.  It is helpful for chronic lower back pain, neck pain and fibromyalgia.  In addition, digestive symptoms such as bloating, gastric reflux and constipation conditions can be eased with cupping. Overall recovery from cough, asthma and the common cold can be improved with cupping as well as acupuncture. 

In a cupping session, inverted cups made of bamboo, glass, silicone or plastic are applied to the acupuncture points on the body to create suction. The suction of the cups pulls the skin upward as the suction increases. The suction opens up energy pathways in a similar way to acupuncture and is often used in conjunction with acupuncture to clear the energy channels and remove toxins from the body that are responsible for pain and disease. It has been used effectively for pain relief, increasing blood flow, chronic inflammation, enhanced relaxation, and improved quality of life. 

Cupping draws fluid into the area being worked on by the suction it creates.  This causes improved circulation and release of toxins. The discoloration that occurs after cupping is due to broken blood vessels just beneath the skin, much like a bruise.  These marks and their color, are diagnostic of toxins being released to the upper skin layer for the body to disperse. The marks tend to fade within days to a week.   

In the next article I will discuss the different types of cupping, coloration of cupping marks and their meanings.  Stay Tuned! 

 

Sources 

Cleveland Clinic https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/16554-cupping 

Harvard Health Letter https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/what-exactly-is-cupping-2016093010402) 

WebMD “Cupping” https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/cupping-therapy 

https://www.thomsontcm.sg/articles/what-do-your-cupping-colours-tell-you/#:~:text=These%20cupping%20marks%20are%20discoloration,of%20stagnation%20in%20that%20area. 

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