Alleviate Your Migraine and Headache Pain

Are you plagued by chronic headaches? More than 45 million Americans (one in six) suffer from chronic headaches, and 20 million of them are women. The pain that headache and migraine sufferers endure can impact every aspect of their lives.

Scientific research shows that acupuncture can be more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches. Acupuncture is a formidable form of treatment for headaches, and it can offer powerful relief without the side effects that prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause. Headaches and migraines, as well as their underlying causes, have been treated successfully with acupuncture and Oriental medicine for thousands of years.

migraine headache

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine do not recognize migraines and chronic headaches as one particular syndrome. Instead, there are a number of factors and meridians involved. For instance, if headaches are concentrated on the frontal aspect of forehead right above the eyes, we suspect imbalance in the bladder and liver meridians.

If headaches and migraines seem to affect the entire head, the most plausible culprit is too much heat being trapped inside the head. We educate our patients with energetic exercises, breathing techniques, and even diet changes, in order to treat the specific symptoms unique to each individual. Therefore, your diagnosis and treatment will depend on a number of variables. In diagnosing your individual issues, you may be asked a series of questions, including:

  • Is the headache behind your eyes and temples, or is it located more on the top of your head?
  • When do your headaches occur (i.e. night, morning, after eating)?
  • Do you find that a cold compress or a darkened room can alleviate some of the pain?
  • Is the pain dull and throbbing, or sharp and piercing?
  • Do you have more migraines right before or during your menstrual period?

Acupuncture stimulates specific points located on or near the surface of the skin to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions that cause aches and pains or illness. The length, number, and frequency of treatments will vary. Some headaches, migraines, and related symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments.

Do you or someone you know suffer from headaches or migraines? Call today to find out how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!

Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

Low back pain is an extremely common concern, affecting anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of people at some point in their lives. Low back pain is second only to the common cold as a cause of lost days at work and is one of the most common reasons to seek medical care. In fact, one of the top reasons that people get acupuncture treatments is for low back pain.

In spite of the large number of pathological conditions that can give rise to low back pain, up to 85 percent of the cases are classified by physicians as ‘non-specific’. When low back pain is examined from an Oriental medicine perspective, it is seen as a disruption to the flow of Qi within the area and associated with a specific disharmony and is treated accordingly.

acupunctureforlowbackpain

The disruption of Qi that results in low back pain is usually associated with the following three disharmonies:

Weak Kidney Qi – In Oriental medicine, the lower back is referred to as the “dwelling of the kidneys”. The majority of chronic low back pain conditions are associated with kidney deficiency. Pain related to kidney deficiency is typically dull and erratic. It is usually aggravated by fatigue and improves with rest.

Stagnation of Qi and Blood – When the flow of Qi along the meridians that traverse the lumbar region becomes congested, it is referred to as the stagnation of Qi and blood. This presents with a severe stabbing pain that is worse with rest and better with movement, tender to touch, and can be accompanied by stiffness and tightness.

Invasion of Cold and Dampness – Cold, damp type pain is generally worse in the morning and when the weather is cold and damp. This type of pain improves with movement and the application of heat. Stiffness and contraction of back muscles that is aggravated by immobility indicates cold predominance. Swelling, numbness, and a heavy sensation are indicative of dampness.

Sciatica and Acupuncture

Do You Suffer From Sciatica? Try Acupuncture first before anything else!

We are proud to report that  at Allendale Acupuncture has close to a 100% success rate in relieving sciatica pain. Most patients experience a significant decrease of the amount of pain after the first visit. Typically, it requires 5-7 visits to achieve a long-lasting relief.

If you feel pain in your lower back or hip that radiates to the back of your thigh and into your leg, (and sometimes to your foot,) you may have “sciatica.”

sciatica

Sciatica may feel like a bad leg cramp or sharp knife-like pain at times. Pain gets worse when you move, sneeze, or cough. You may also experience weakness, “pins and needles” numbness, or a burning or tingling sensation down your leg.

The pain can range from slightly annoying to totally unbearable. Some people have pain in one part of the leg and numbness in another part of the same leg. In rare cases, you may have numbness or tingling in your groin or genital area and lose control of your bladder or bowel.

Sciatica is most commonly caused by a herniated disk. The gel-like center (nucleus) of a disk may protrude into or through the disk’s outer lining. This herniated disk may press directly on the nerve roots that become the sciatic nerve. Nerve roots may also get inflamed and irritated by chemicals from the disk’s nucleus.

sciatica

If you are one of those “unlucky” folks with sciatica, what are your options?

You may visit an orthopedist that is likely to prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs or muscle relaxants. If that doesn’t work, your doctor may inject your spinal area with a cortisone-like drug. The next stop is surgery to remove herniated disk to stop it from pressing your sciatic nerve.

It may come as a surprise to some, but try acupuncture first, if you experience sciatica. In fact, lower back pain and sciatica are two most common causes people knock on the door of the acupuncturist!

Acupuncture can help relieve pain, relax tight muscles, and help your body to heal itself without drugs or expensive and potentially risky surgery. In some cases we may recommend an MRI just to rule out anything serious (badly herniated disc, tumors, etc.), but for many patients acupuncture is all they need.

In our clinic, we open up a patient’s entire body first, before we tackle the specific sciatic nerve inflammation. Sometimes, just inserting a needle in the back of the head relieves the sciatica pain totally. Since most patients with sciatica have “imbalance” in their bladder and gallbladder meridians, we focus on treating the bladder and gallbladder pathways.

 

Managing Diabetes with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

It is estimated that 25.8 million people in the United States have diabetes, a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.

Untreated diabetes affects the whole body and can lead to other medical problems, including heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, peripheral neuropathy, digestive disorders and periodontal disease.

diabetes and acupuncture

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 4 people remain unaware that they live with diabetes. Sometimes the body will give warning signs that a person’s sugar metabolism is out of whack. Common signs of Type II(adult-onset) diabetes include:

  • Increased hunger (especially after eating)
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent urination or urinary infections
  • Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry)
  • Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches

Diabetes is Called “A Wasting Disease” in Oriental Medicine

Acupuncture and Oriental medicines have been used to treat diabetes for over 2000 years.

According to Oriental medicine, diabetes is called “a wasting disease” caused by an imbalance of the cyclical flow of Qi within the meridians and organ systems.

This particular imbalance produces heat that depletes the body’s fluids and Qi, causing symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lethargy, unexplained weight loss, excessive thirst, excessive urination, excessive eating, slow healing of cuts and wounds, infections, irritability, tingling or numbness in the extremities, and blurry vision—all of which are signs of a person being “wasted.”

The treatment for diabetes will focus on regulating the circulation of blood and Qi and balancing the organ systems to improve pancreatic function and address internal heat and the depletion of fluids.

diabetes and acupuncture2

In addition, acupuncture can treat peripheral neuropathy, one of the most devastating symptoms of diabetes.

Common signs of peripheral neuropathy include tingling, numbness, loss of sensation, muscle weakness and pain. For some people, it is experienced as the uncomfortable sensation of “pins and needles”, or burning pain (especially at night) of their hands or feet. Others may suffer even more extreme symptoms such as muscle atrophy, paralysis, or organ or gland dysfunction.

Oriental medicine teaches that peripheral neuropathy is due to dampness moving to the limbs, where it obstructs the flow of Qi (energy) and blood within them.

The treatment is twofold: to treat the underlying factor that is causing this dampness to accumulate, and to directly facilitate the circulation of Qi and blood in the affected area.

By improving circulation, the nerve tissues of the affected area can be nourished to repair function and reduce pain.

diabetis and acupuncture 4

Well-Known Procedures in Managing Diabetes

There are a number of well-publicized recommendations in managing diabetes.

1. Diet Changes

Anything too sweet must go. While a sweet taste delights our taste buds, overindulgence can cause or worsen digestive problems and upset our metabolic and emotional balance. In Oriental medicine, meats such as pork and chicken are considered sweet.

Vegetables such as yams, sweet potatoes, corn, snow peas, squash and even turnips are also considered sweet.

Anything heavily processed or too greasy must be abstained. Too much dairy, deep-fried foods or canned foods must be avoided. Even fruits are recommended only in moderate amounts due to their relatively high sugar content.

2. Adopt Healthy Life Habits

Healthy habits such as maintaining optimal weight, avoiding exposure to toxins, following a well-supervised exercise program, and limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption can reduce the physical and emotional effects of diabetes.

3. Boost Circulation with Massage (for neuropathy patients)

Massage can help boost circulation, which is generally poor and leaves these areas vulnerable to trauma. You can stimulate your feet, lower legs, hands and arms with gentle massage using light pressure.

4. Relax to Reduce External Triggers

Consider relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, self-hypnosis or biofeedback.

5. Soak for Pain Relief

A warm foot bath with Epsom salt may also help relieve pain. If there is loss of sensation in the hands or feet, you should avoid extreme temperatures, as you may not feel the damaging effects.