Category Archives: Chronic pain

Acupuncture: The Future of Pain Management

There have been extensive studies conducted on acupuncture and its benefits, especially for back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, headaches, and other forms of chronic pain. A clinical study conducted by RMIT University Biomedical Department in Melbourne, Australia, found that acupuncture was as effective as other pain medicine in providing long-term relief for patients who came to the emergency room in considerable pain. This study used four different hospital emergency departments across the country. For the study, patients were divided in groups depending on their different pain levels. Patients who identified their level of pain as at least 4 on a 10-point scale randomly received one of three types of treatment: acupuncture alone, acupuncture plus pharmacotherapy or pharmacotherapy alone. After 48 hours of treatment, 82.8% of patients who received acupuncture alone found their treatment very helpful and reported that they would probably repeat it, compared with 80.8 % in the combined group, and 78.2 % in the pharmacotherapy-only group. Results show that acupuncture is a viable alternative and would be especially beneficial for patients who are unable to take standard pain-relieving drugs because of other medical conditions such as allergic reactions to the drugs or even opioid addictions.

But what exactly is acupuncture? Acupuncture is a technique in which specific points on the body are stimulated by the insertion of very thin needles through your skin. Acupuncture is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine and it is increasingly becoming a popular practice in Western medicine as well. Acupuncture is also used for overall wellness, including stress and anxiety management. Research suggests that acupuncture not only helps manage plenty of pain conditions, but also helps treat symptoms such as nausea after chemotherapy treatment and respiratory disorders such as allergic rhinitis. You should know that acupuncture is considered a safe practice when performed by an experienced, well-trained practitioner using sterile needles. If you would like to know more about acupuncture or any other of Dr. Lee’s services, please visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or give us a call and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

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Filed under Acupuncture, Back pain, Chronic pain, Fatigue, Headache, knee pain, Neck pain, osteoarthritis, Pain relief, Shoulder pain, TMJ, Uncategorized

Seattle Acupuncturist helps with anxiety, depression and stress

 

It is estimated that at least 17.5 million Americans suffer from depression. As a naturopath and acupuncturist, I am interested in staying on top of research studies and ensuring I can provide my patients with the most up-to-date information regarding non-prescription treatment options. There are some promising, recent studies showing how acupuncture can treat depression, anxiety, and stress.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) states that “evidence for the use of acupuncture to treat anxiety disorders is becoming stronger.” A study from the University of York in the UK recruited 755 people with moderate to severe depression. Seventy percent of the patients had been on anti-depressants and continued on them throughout the study. The study concluded that acupuncture had a strong, positive effect on depression by lowering the depression scale from an average of 16 out of 27 at the start of the study, to 9. The benefits lasted 3 months after treatment had concluded.

I’ve personally seen patients whose anxiety-induced rashes disappear in two treatments. I have also seen acupuncture significantly reduce anxiety and stress as well as improve depression. It’s important to note that most of these conditions require an initial treatment protocol of eight or more sessions. Once a significant improvement is reached, you can then move to a maintenance schedule. Acupuncture can’t always treat moderate or severe depression alone and you should consult your doctor before going off or reducing any medication. But, the evidence is clear: acupuncture can improve depression, anxiety, and stress.

For more information on how naturopathic medicine and acupuncture can help with anxiety, depression, and stress, please visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture or call Dr. Lee at 206-319-5322.

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Filed under Acupuncture, Chronic pain, Depression, Insomnia, Pain relief, stress, Uncategorized

Acupuncture and vitamin B12 injections can help alleviate postherpertic neuralgia pain

Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a syndrome characterized by pain persisting for more than 3 months following the resolution of shingles. Symptoms of PHN include central pain sensation, unpleasant sensation to touch, and itchiness along the distribution of the involved dermatome. Often times patients are prescribed with anti-viral medications at the initial outbreak of shingles and when the lesions resolved and PHN kicks in, many providers are left with prescribing more medications that may or may not be effective.

The conventional treatments for PHN, such as tricyclic antidepressants, antiepileptics, opioids, tramadol, lidocaine and capsaicin, which are probably effective to relieve some of the pain for a period of time. However, approximately 50% of patients may still not obtain satisfactory analgesia despite treatments with these medications.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture, which has a history of more than 2000 years in the prevention and treatment of diseases, plays an important role in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Different kinds of acupuncture methods such as needling, electroacupuncture, and cupping are in use for the treatment of PHN in hospitals in China. In the past 5 years, acupuncture for treating PHN has been used in more than 137 studies. The benefit of the treatment group was reported between 84.1% and 97.5%.1 The clinical trials indicate that acupuncture could reduce pain and discomfort among most patients and also remove pain and discomfort among some patients.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 has long known has a nerve food. In deprivation of vitamin B12, individuals can experience numbness and tingling. It is an excellent choice in alleviating symptoms of PHN. According to researches, the injection of methylcolbalamin (methyl vitamin B12) significantly reduced continuous pain, paroxysmal pain, and allodynia in the subacute herpetic neuralgia patients2. Thus, methyl B12 may be an alternative candidate for treating SHN.

Acupuncture and vitamin B12 and other naturopathic approaches should be considered at the onset of shingles to help minimize the occurrence or the severity of PHN.

  • Yan, Z. J. Acupunct. Tuina. Sci. (2004) 2: 39. doi:10.1007/BF02848360
  • Neural Plasticity. Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 424651, 6 pages

 

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Filed under Acupuncture, Back pain, Chronic pain, Headache, Uncategorized

How can acupuncture help with knee pain?

Acupuncture treats various types of pain. This includes mild pain through chronic pain. Acupuncture alleviates pain in areas such as the back, neck, joints, and knee. Acupuncture relieves pain through the release of neurochemicals. It is a process where thin needles are placed in specific areas throughout the body. These areas are acupuncture point which help stimulate the muscles. When these muscles are stimulated, it sends impulses to the spinal cord. The spinal cord then initiates the release of the neurochemicals to block the messages that are causing the pain.

This process is how one can treat knee pain. Acupuncture can help relieve all types of pain in the knee. For example, acupuncture can treat ligament injuries, knee arthritis, jumper’s knee, etc. In order to alleviate the root that is causing the knee pain, one will have the thin needles placed in certain acupuncture points all around the knee.

This will stimulate the muscles surrounding the knee area and send specific impulses to the spinal cord. The spinal cord will then respond with the initiation of neurochemicals. These neurochemicals will discontinue the pain transmitters that are being sent to the knee that is causing the chronic knee pain.

Knee pain can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication. However, acupuncture is an alternative solution that does not just treat the symptoms of knee pain. It goes to the root of the problem and blocks the pain messages from being sent to the knee instead of masking the pain temporarily.

If you are suffering from knee pain and are interested in trying acupuncture, please visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or call us at (206) 319 – 5322 to schedule an appointment.

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Filed under Allergies, Chronic pain, knee pain, osteoarthritis

How can acupuncture help with neck pain?

Neck pain is very common and can originate from various different causes. It can be caused by poor posture, muscle strain, stress, abnormalities in the joints, etc. Neck pain can range of an acute pain to a more chronic type of pain. There are many treatments for neck pain such as massage, pain relieving medication, physical therapy, etc. However, one very effective way to combat chronic neck pain is through acupuncture.

Acupuncture is type of healing technique that has been around for thousands of years. This technique promotes natural self-healing by stimulating certain points throughout the body. These points are referred to as acupuncture points. Thin needles are inserted through the skin various precise point throughout the body. Stimulating an acupuncture point will cause the body to respond to that area. This stimulation relieves chronic pain such as neck pain.

Acupuncture for neck pain is very successful because it uses the body’s self-healing response to combat the pain. The acupuncture points that are stimulated directly affect the area that is causing the pain in the neck. Acupuncture helps restore balance in the body and regulate physiological functions. Therefore, this method is very successful because it relieves pain without the use of pain medications. Pain medications just treat the symptoms for chronic neck pain; however, acupuncture confronts the root of the imbalance in the body that is causing the pain.

If you are experiencing neck pain and want to have acupuncture to help relieve the pain or want to know more about the benefits of acupuncture, please visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or call at (206) 319 – 5322 to make an appointment.

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Filed under Acupuncture, Chronic pain, Neck pain, Pain relief, Shoulder pain, TMJ

Pain Reduction through Acupuncture Following a Car Accident

Being in a car crash can be one of the most life changing events, and depending on the severity of crash can lead to a lifetime of chronic pain. Whiplash, also known as traumatic cervical syndrome, is one of the most common collision injuries and occurs when the neck is jolted in such a way that tweaks the delicate muscles, tendons and ligaments of the neck and spine.  Some of the physical symptoms experienced from whiplash include neck pain/ stiffness, headache dizziness, back pain, arm/shoulder pain, numbness and tingling, amongst other symptoms. The pain experienced as well as potential bruising and swelling after a car crash is the result of trauma to the tissues of the body that causes stagnation of blood and the body’s vital energy, Qi. 

Acupuncture is a passive yet effective way to activate and increase the body’s circulation of Qi and blood in order to restore damaged tissues. Acupuncture also causes the release of endorphins that block the transmission of pain signaling in the brain. After a car crash, passive treatment may be the best approach immediately following an accident in order to allow traumatized muscles and ligaments time to heal without further strain. Acupuncture is a holistic form of healing and can vastly improve your body’s innate ability to heal itself and therefore increase the rehabilitation and healing rate and reduce the risk of chronic pain long term following a car accident. 

Most auto accident injuries are covered by automobile insurance. We know exactly how to find out what coverage is available for you and how to bill for it. If you have any questions regarding to how acupuncture can help with pain from a car accident or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or call (206)319-5322. 

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Filed under Acupuncture, Back pain, Chronic pain, Cupping, Depression, Fatigue, Headache, Insomnia, Jaw pain, Neck pain, Pain relief, Shoulder pain

How acupuncture and natural antihistamines alleviate allergies?

A 28-year-old male patient came in with the complaint of chronic abdominal pain and environmental allergies. A recent outbreak of eczema after consuming a burrito was also a concern. His symptoms included a chronic cough, dryness of skin, hot face, rosacea and increased anxiety. Before coming in, he had been taking an over the counter antihistamine to alleviate the symptoms which slightly improved the environmental allergies, but the dull and tight abdominal pain along with constipation and bloating was exacerbated possibly due to the antihistamine. Two major changes were advised to the patient including excluding foods which may be a cause of his food allergy response including garlic, ginger, quinoa, avocado, carrots, dairy and wheat according to his food sensitivity panel. Next was to take a natural antihistamine, not an over the counter, which included nettle in a tea or a capsule form along with vitamin C. During this visit a blood panel was taken which showed increased levels of triglycerides caused by carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and high fat foods. His thyroid function was low and had low levels of vitamin D. To address the low functioning thyroid, it is recommended to increase iodine intake through eating seafood and seaweed.

 In his next appointment, a month later, he showed signs of allergy relief as well as improved digestion, but the abdominal pain lingered. We ordered an imaging ultrasound since the patient has a family history of gallbladder dysfunction, however, the patient showed normal results. Another month later, his allergies had resolved but the stomach pain continued so we started acupuncture monthly which seemed to help with stress and the pain. Fast forwarding 3 months from the original appointment, the patient ate a food item he knew he was intolerable to and the abdominal pain came back. Once we started regular weekly acupuncture on the patient, stress levels decreased, chronic and seasonal allergies subsided and the dryness of skin also went away.

For more information on acupuncture and food allergy testing, visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or call 206-319-5322

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Filed under Acupuncture, Allergies, Chronic pain, Digestive problems, Fatigue, Pain relief