The poor neck has to hold up the large human head all day. This is quite a task and the neck often suffers. Also, many, if not most of us, tend to hold our stress in the neck and shoulders. This can lead to neck pain and very commonly headaches or even migraines. But acupuncture and cupping can get rid of much of the tension in the neck and doing so helps restore proper blood flow, which in turn can make the muscles stronger (a positive feedback loop). So this is helping fix a common problem which is often that the muscles, due to stress, knots and tightness over many years, have actually atrophied making our large homosapien heads even harder to hold up. These treatments, because they increase the flow of blood to the area, can also help with structural issues such as bulging disks as well.
It seems that lower back pain gets all the publicity. But the mid and upper back can also be a problem for many. And the good news is: this area usually responds very well to acupuncture. I never make promises, but a combo of acupuncture and cupping to the mid and upper back is almost surely going to result in something positive. It's just such an easy area for us to treat. Check out our bios for info on what we treat and our qualifications to do so.
One of the best things to treat with Chinese medicine is acute injury. I like treating this because it works so well and quickly. In my experience acupuncture can speed the healing of acute injury and pain to a great degree. If possible we will also do some light cupping in the area. Plus we have a great herbal formulation called Traumanex that continues to speed up the healing between treatments. Treating acute injury is one of the main reasons Olympic teams will have acupuncturists traveling with them. Most people remember the famous cupping of Michael Phelps in the last summer Olympics but most people didn't see the pictures of him getting acupuncture as well.
Treating sciatica is straightforward but can take several treatments. My method for treating sciatica is to use acupuncture needles in the low back area (almost always involved in sciatica) as well as along the path of the pain, usually in through the glute and down the side or back of the leg or sometimes down the front of the leg. I then will use cupping in the area of low back involved and usually either cupping or massage down the path to relieve the muscle pain. Chinese herbs are given (sometimes) in order to promote healing in the low back or other area that has been damaged causing the sciatica. We currently have a pain special that can be used for sciatica or any other type of pain. Click here for details on the pain special.
One important thing to realize about Chinese medicine is that it is very different than western medicine. This can be a good thing, because quite often we will see patients who have literally spent years and thousands of dollars trying to figure out what is wrong with them, and we will, after a session or 2, tell them exactly what is going on and how to fix it. It's not that we are better, its just that looking at things from a different perspective, a different angle, is just what is needed sometimes. We don't have MRIs, or any large machines to tell us what to do, so we have to be very observant, we have to use our experience and the strength of our medical philosophy to figure out what is going on. And we will depend on your story to help us, because no one knows you or your story better than you. Chinese medicine just looks at the way the body works differently, and uses a different philosophy in general. I always tell my patients that if something strange or out of the ordinary is going on with you then go to your acupuncturist first. This is because most of the time solutions to our health issues are quite simple. The human body is a miraculous machine and most of the time it hums right along. Sometime it does have issues, but these issues are often simple to deal with. So check with your acupuncturist first.
The answer of course is always! They say only 1 in about 10 people in the US has tried acupuncture. The reason I hear most as to why, is that people are afraid of the needles. But, as anyone who has had acupuncture will tell you, the needles are not a problem. I have treated about 5000 people, and there have been less than a handful that really complain about the needles. That's a pretty small percentage. Some people don't believe that it could possibly work. If it didn't work it wouldn't have stayed around for literally 5000 years. If it didn't work I would not be able to get up and go to work every day. If it didn't work we would not have patients return again and again, and recommend us to their family and friends. And the studies have proven it works. Some people say they just never considered it. This I can understand a bit more. We are very much saturated by the western model of health and healing, we grow up in it. But people are starting to come around to the benefits of a medicine steeped in wisdom, without side effects, and which stresses prevention.
In Chinese medicine we call inflammation heat and sometimes damp-heat. So an acupuncture treatment for pain will almost always address inflammation. Inflammation usually occurs in acute injury as well as chronic injury and illness. For instance rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed in our medicine as heat in the joints, or more specifically a general excess of heat in the body has logged in the joints. To fix such a problem you have to reduce the overall amount of heat in the body. You do this by finding and treating the root cause of this excess heat or inflammation. In something such as fibromyalgia excess heat can lodge in the muscles. So the advantage of Chinese medicine in these cases is that we are more likely to ask why? Why is there excess heat? If this question is not answered than we are really only treating the symptoms without looking for a cure.
If you look under specials on our site you will see that our packages are always 3 or 4 treatments long. This is because we have found, from experience, that this number is a good indicator as to how things will go. Most, if not all, conditions will not resolve after 1 treatment. If we do 3 treatments and see no improvement then its most likely going to take good while to get significant results. If you do 3 treatments and you are say 80% better, then you might want to do a few more and try for the other 20%. Luckily the later situation is much more common than the first.
A few years ago there was a study out that found the Chinese herb
yan hu suo (corydalis rhizome) effective for treating pain. We got several calls from people looking to buy it. People are still looking for alternatives to taking regular pain killers. Chinese herbs can be a good solution. We carry several formulas, mostly from Evergreen herbs, that use yan hu suo and many other Chinese herbs to specifically treat pain. We have formulas that treat specific types of pain, like chronic pain or acute pain, as well as formulas that treat specific locations like back pain or headaches. Many of the herbs for treating pain will increase circulation to the area. Add some herbs to cut inflammation and you have a pain formula. Most Chinese herbal formulas for pain (and most other things as well) will generally have from 6 to 15 herbs cooked together to increase synergy, then given to patients in pills or in powdered form. The powdered form is slightly stronger, but the taste is an issue with some people.
One thing that we treat quite often at the Acupuncture Center is allergies. We don't always get patients coming in directly for allergy issues (often we do), but people who come to us regularly, perhaps for other issues, soon figure out that we have some very good solutions for allergies. In Richmond, and most of Virginia, allergies are a problem. And most of the pharmaceutical solutions have some pesky side effects. So we end up adding points in many cases for allergies while treating other things. That's one of the benefits of an acupuncture treatment, that you can treat multiple things at once. You just have to add a couple of points. We have found, through years of trial and error, herbal formulas that are effective for allergies and with no side effects. In fact, Chinese herbs are actually good for you. I've had patients tell me that actually feel better overall on their formula. So most people are pleased with using Chinese medicine for allergies.