Acupuncture, Muscle Numbness and Sciatic Pain – A Case Study

Attorney Holmes was born in Boston to a relatively poor family. He took odd jobs shoveling snow and paving streets as a teenager before joining the army for three years, which helped pay for his college tuition. He started drinking alcohol when he was serving the army. In his early forties, he decided to quit drinking alcohol because he finally realized that drinking made him feel horrible afterwards and because he believed the alcohol could cause damage to his brain cells. Since he was trained to be a disciplined person in the US Army, once he decided to quit drinking, he was able to quit completely. But years of drinking had caused hormone imbalances. For example, abnormal estrogen levels stimulated his prostate and when he was in his seventies, he developed prostate cancer. He had radiation treatment and developed impotence for a while after surgery due to nerve and blood vessel damage. However, because he did not eat junk food or drink alcohol any more, he was physically very healthy and was able to put his impotence behind him after about a year.

He came to my clinic four years ago due to hand numbness and weakness as well as muscular atrophy. At the age of 82, he still went to the court a couple of times a week as a defense lawyer. He walked a mile with his dog every day, did not take any medication, and amazingly, could still sleep through the night for 7 to 8 hours. But he drank too much coffee – between 4 to 5 cups a day – before he started acupuncture treatment.

When he first came to see me, I noticed that his thumb muscles were slightly atrophied. His grip was not firm, and sometimes, things dropped out of his hands. First, he went to see a hand specialist, who recommended surgery, but said that although surgery may fix the problem, it may also cause chronic pain, swelling, and even nerve damage. He decided to try alternative medicine.

First of all, I recommended that he cut down his coffee intake to one to two cups a day. Because acupuncture helps his body produce endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, it became easier for him to cut down his coffee while he was in treatment. Although coffee did not interrupt his sleep, it caused blood vessel constriction in his hands and feet, stimulated his heart rate, and made his upper shoulder muscle very tight. I told him that if he could cut down to one cup each day, he could still stimulate his brain cells without sacrificing his heart and hand health. He gradually cut down his coffee.

I also found out that he loved to sleep on his stomach with his head turned to one side. This may have caused his muscle tightness and pinched his cervical nerves. If the compression of the nerves lasts for too long, his hand muscles could get weaker and weaker. I chose acupuncture points on his neck and foot to deeply relax his neck muscles and then used electrical acupuncture to facilitate the regeneration of the nerves in his hand, which also strengthened his hand muscles. Once the blood circulation in his neck and hand were improved, his hand muscles quickly become stronger. After 24 treatments, his hand function recovered completely and he stopped needing acupuncture.

Two years later, he came back with severe hip, leg, and ankle pain. The pain was so bad that he had to take Aleve in the morning just to be able to walk around. I treated him once with electrical stimulation, combining points on his lower back and leg. He felt instant relief in one day. Then, he had such strong pain in the morning two days later that he had to double his painkiller dosage. He was so afraid that he could not walk that he decided to increase his acupuncture treatments to two or three times a week.

I noticed that his pain was distributed along the L3, L4, and L5 area. In the morning, his pain was the worst and moving around help relieve the pain. Considering his sleeping posture, which may have caused tightness in his periform muscle and irritated his sciatic nerves, I recommended that he sleep on his back. Initially, he had to periodically turn onto his stomach because that had been his preferred sleeping position for the past 84 years. In this way, he could not stay in one position for very long. He might sleep on his back for 3 hours and then sleep on his stomach for another 4 hours. Combining the positional changes and acupuncture treatments twice a week, we successfully got rid of this new pain within three weeks.

Get Rid of Neck Pain With Acupuncture

Acupuncture is the best method to reduce problems like neck pain, back pain, migraine, weight loss, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Neck pain is the common problem that almost 90% of people face. The reason can be an excessive stress of work, depression, and consistent use of computer/Smartphone. The hectic lifestyle has created numerous problems and this is the popular one. When people hold one position for too long, it gives rise to the condition of the stiffness of the joints leading to poor circulation, pain and swelling. When you are in pain, you usually seek the help of the doctor to get the pain relieved from the medication. But most of the time, taking a daily pain killer for a long time will damage your kidney and liver functions, and if your neck pain is due to the muscle tightness, the pain killer and cortisone shots will not help you. Thus, by seeking neck pain acupuncture treatment, you can heal your joint and muscle pain and can be stress-free.

Process of the Neck Pain Acupuncture Therapy

Before seeking any therapy, it is very important for everyone to understand how acupuncture serves the purpose of healing. This particular therapeutic method helps in increase the circulation of blood. The ultimate purpose is to bring the overall improvement in your health and well-being by aiding the circulation of blood, lymph fluids and energy. When you have pain, exercises or physical therapy can make the pain worse. The acupuncturist will use certain remote and local acupuncture points to clear up the inflammation, relax the muscles and tendons, reduce the joint and nerve swelling, and increase your own pain killer production: endorphin and serotonin.

Important Aspects of Acupuncture for neck pain

It is a safe procedure if you choose the right acupuncturist. The needle used in the process is extremely thin and you may experience a little numbness, heaviness, and tingling sensation. All these reactions are a sign that the healing is started and the needles have been inserted in the correct acupuncture points. During the treatment, it is important that the patient feel relaxed and comfortable. It has been observed that the neck pain acupuncture treatment has been one of the most effective and safe methods than any other surgical therapeutic measures. Acupuncture at the right points helps to release depression and stress. Acupuncture is effective for not only curing neck pain but body pain as well including osteoarthritis, tendonitis, sciatic pain and chronic headache. By seeking neck pain acupuncture treatment, you can avoid taking the extremely painful steroid-based injections.

Acupuncture has very few side effects if your practitioners have the formal medical training with more than 20 years of experience. It is a natural and drug-free therapy. You will feel energized and experience a sense of relaxation during and after the treatment. Acupuncture also helps alleviate nausea, depression, and relieves extreme fatigue and insomnia in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

If your neck is affected by pain, you need to figure out the real causes, such as muscle tightness, herniated disc or arthritis. Neck surgery should not be the first choice, you can visit your acupuncturist first, once the pain is relieved, then try the PT to strengthen your muscles and chiropractic treatment to line up your joints. In this way, you can relive and avoid the neck pain in the safest and most cost effective way.

Acupuncture for Relieving Chronic Pain

Many people learn to live with chronic pain and do not consult a specialist to help relieve the daily ailments. In some cases, ignorance of the pathology or the widespread belief that aging means to live with pain, many do not receive the appropriate treatment capable of subtracting pain, slow the evolution of the pathology and, therefore, improve their quality of life.

Currently, we are living in a new era in medicine, since the alternative medicine is added to the traditional medicine, which combined to achieve better results in the inhibition of chronic pain. One of those techniques, which is gaining adherents every day, is acupuncture.

Acupuncture is effective in 49 diseases and disorders

This traditional Chinese technique arises from the conception of the body as a network of interconnected points through which energy flows. When there is a blockage or stagnation of that energy in the canal, it is when the pain occurs.

The acupuncture is to stimulate anatomical locations on the skin through the insertion of thin metal needles. Their placement in specific areas of the body called acupuncture points, allow better electrical conduction which is capable of provoking biological responses in the patient. In this way, they (acupuncturists) provoke stimuli in the nervous, hormonal and immune system that manage to restore the body to a state of equilibrium.

Such is its effectiveness, that the World Health Organization has described this technique as an effective option against pain. In addition, it is effective in at least 49 diseases and disorders. Especially, it has demonstrated great benefits in the treatment of low back pain, postoperative pain, and fibromyalgia, neuropathic, joint and musculoskeletal pain. It also acts on hormonal and nervous system levels.

Although it is a simple and painless technique, it is not completely innocuous, special care should be taken in pregnant patients, in infected areas, patients with blood clotting problems or serious neurological or psychiatric disorders. Even so, it is necessary to go to the pain specialist beforehand, who will determine the suitability of alternative medicine in the case of each patient.

Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been shown to have benefits in the treatment of chronic pain, but also in many other aspects, such as improvement in physical recovery, digestion or reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression. It has also been seen as improving the circulation of blood since it regulates the blood flow favoring the contribution of nutrients and oxygen in the body.

This method of traditional Chinese medicine has been used for several years in different hospitals throughout Europe and U.S and has already begun to be implemented in some centers in the Middle East for treating chronic pain and improve the quality of life of patients.

Medications are often not enough to treat chronic pain, but there are alternative therapies that are showing success in dealing with this condition. Although the pain is supposed to be good because it warns us of injuries, infections or illnesses, it is not so useful when it never goes away.

A better way to relieve pain

Chronic pain can come from many causes, from migraines to cancer, and persist from a few months to live after injury or illness. It can disrupt sleep, because of depression and anxiety, lower libido, affect social relationships and affect memory and cognitive functioning.

Usually, the first defense against this threat is medication, but not enough and carries risks like upset stomach or addiction. That is why more and more people are turning to acupuncture to relieve chronic pain.

Science is slowly incorporating this ancient practice of Chinese medicine, although experts have not yet discovered why inserting needles into the skin helps relieve back pain, injury, and diseases such as fibromyalgia. According to some specialists, acupuncture blocks pain signals or stimulates the body to release painkillers.

Several studies showed that patients who received acupuncture had less migraine or injury pain than those receiving standard drug treatments. Even when progress was modest, the great advantage of this practice was the lack of side effects. In addition, even if the needles are not placed exactly along the meridians (energy channels, according to Chinese tradition), patients receive equal benefits and if done correctly, this procedure causes little or no discomfort.

Among its many benefits, Acupuncture helps to improve blood circulation and lower blood pressure, encourage the elimination of toxic products through the lymphatic system, improve muscle tone, prevent muscle atrophy, and reduce emotional stress.

Scientists know that physical contact helps in reducing pain, although they do not know how this mechanism works. In addition, specialists argue that soft touch and acupuncture therapy decreases the production of cortisol, a stress-releasing hormone (in turn, associated with increased pain). However, despite all positive studies, experts are still not sure how many messages need to be applied or what type they should be before a particular pathology.