What to know about Chronic Pain
Updated: Jul 28, 2019
Like a thief in the night, chronic pain steals our most valuable assets - our physical health and emotional well- being. Whether you suffer from headaches, back pain, severe menstrual cramps, or fibromyalgia, chronic pain slowly, subtly, but surely saps not only your energy, but also your ability to engage in activities of daily living and the joy of waking up to a new day.
Chronic pain doesn’t have to be a chronic diagnosis. Traditional Chinese Medicine has been treating pain for almost 5,000 years. The World Health Organization cites 43 conditions, including migraines, fibromyalgia, headaches, menstrual pain, migraines, shoulder pain, tennis elbow, trigeminal neuralgia, wrist pain, and generalized pain, that acupuncture treats successfully while minimizing side effects. For instance, a study published in June 2013, “Acupuncture versus valproic acid in the prophylaxis of migraine without aura: a prospective controlled study”, found that acupuncture helped patients reduce their migraine medications with no adverse effects. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23511357 )
Patients who suffer from recurring bouts of herpes can also find relief with acupuncture. “Acupuncture plus encircled needling ... are effective in the treatment of herpes zoster at the acute stage, being comparable to the medication in the clinical curative effect and improvement of blisters, and better than medication in pain relief.” (Comparison of therapeutic effects of different types of acupuncture interventions on herpes zoster in acute stage, Oct. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23342782 )
After taking a detailed history of your health, we can plan a course of treatment that includes acupuncture, herbal remedies, and homeopathics to address your specific pain issues. Because Chinese Medicine is tailored to each individual person, your acupuncture sessions may be completely different from your friend’s, even if you both have the same pain symptoms. That is to be expected because Traditional Chinese Medicine treats the individual’s pattern, not the symptoms. By getting to the underlying root cause of your pain, we can tailor your treatments to give you the best results.
Take control of your pain
If you’re living with chronic pain, you’ve already had to make negative lifestyle adjustments to accommodate reduced functioning. Why not put that energy into positive lifestyle changes that may reduce your symptoms?
1) Pay attention to food triggers.
With every substance you ingest, you are either fighting pain and disease, or causing it. Inflammation is a huge contributor to your body’s pain response. The first and most important food to eliminate is caffeine such as coffee and tea. Caffeine excites your pain receptors - do you really need that? There’s nothing like a great cup of joe, but nothing beats the feeling of being pain-free, either. Other inflammation-causing foods include alcohol, fast food, red meat, dairy products, artificial sugars, dyes and preservatives. Dr. Perricone has an anti-acne diet book, “The Perricone Prescription,” which outlines his anti-inflammatory diet to improve the skin. He stresses that what you eat on the inside will eventually show on the outside. So, reducing inflammation in the body through dietary changes will also show in your complexion. The skin, like your tongue, is an excellent barometer of what is going on inside you.
2) Increase your water intake.
Drink half your body weight in ounces each day. Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj M.D. writes in his book “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water” that pain can be aggravated by chronic dehydration. For example, if your body must ration water because your intake is low, your brain gets first dibs, then muscles and organs. What’s last? Your discs. Ouch.
3) Get some sleep.
Your body doesn’t heal when you’re awake. The sleep state is when your body does most of your repair work. Short yourself on sleep, and you short yourself on healing time.
Want to get rid of your pain but aren’t sure about the needle part? I have many tools at my disposal, including ear seeds and acupuncture, acupressure, and electrical stimulation.
Let’s have an honest dialogue to create a treatment plan that makes you comfortable. Why not give acupuncture a try? The only thing you have to lose is your pain!