There are 100 million Americans experiencing chronic pain, of which 25 million have chronic pain syndrome. While pain is a perfectly normal reaction to certain events, when it persists for over 12 weeks and additional debilitating symptoms arise, the condition is pathological and treated as chronic.
Chronic pain syndrome is not just a longstanding battle with pain. Over time, the constant discomfort and progressive disability take a mental and emotional toll and may cause anxiety, depression, sleeping issues, guilt, fatigue, thoughts of suicide, or substance abuse.
Typically, pain starts after a traumatic event, injury, surgery, or during a chronic illness such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, cancer, or irritable bowel syndrome. Sometimes the cause of chronic pain is a mystery. The risk for developing chronic pain increases if you are a female over the age of 65, smoke, or already have a painful condition such as osteoarthritis.
According to acupuncture and Oriental medicine theory, pain is caused by the stagnation of Qi, blood, or both. When Qi, the most basic unit of energy found in all living beings, is dormant, pain moves around and can feel like a distending, dull or cramping sensation. Sluggish blood is more visible, such as when bruising occurs on the skin and the pain felt is fixed, sharp or stabbing.
Once the type and severity of pain are assessed, a treatment plan will be developed. Acupuncture coordinates the entire body to restore the balance between opposing forces on a physical, mental and emotional level. Even complex cases that include a combination of chronic headaches, insomnia, and mood swings are addressed in a single, eloquent treatment plan.
Reduce Pain, Improve Flexibility and Strengthen Joints
Your joints are the points in the body where two bones are attached. They are mostly composed of fibrous connective tissue and cartilage, and their purpose is to provide structure and allow for articulation.
Maintaining strength and suppleness in the joints is critical to preventing bursitis, sprains, tendonitis, dislocations, and other injuries.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine offer treatments and strategies that can help.
Tui na, roughly translated as ‘pinch and pull,’ is an excellent way to give a boost of power to ailing joints as well as the surrounding structures. It encompasses a wide range of therapeutic massage techniques.
Traditionally used as a tool to treat illness and injuries, words such as pulling, pinching, rolling, shaking, stretching, pressing, and kneading accurately describe the way a patient’s body is manipulated during a session.
There are many reasons why tui na is utilized for treating joint issues. It can reduce inflammation, control pain, help with the symmetry of movement, and relieve pressure on joints by applying its techniques to the muscles that support those joints.
As pain and inflammation reduce, proper articulation of the joint is attained. As joints strengthen, the body begins to move properly, ensuring no undue tension is placed in the wrong spots.
Increase your intake of healthy fats commonly found in fish, nuts, avocados, and olive oil to help your joints stay pliable and lubricated. Avoid or limit refined sugars and carbohydrates like pasta, pastries, bread, white sugar, and soda which are known to cause irritation and inflammation.
Make time for proper rest and relaxation. One of the foundations of Oriental medicine is meditation, a mindfulness technique that is ideally practiced daily. It comes in many different forms and not all of them involve sitting down with your eyes closed but, they do require a time of quiet contemplation and regeneration.
Any activity done with a conscious intention qualifies as meditation. Walking with deliberate steps, staring intently at an object, and noticing the flow of your breathing are all easy to perform. These meditations can be done for as little as 1 minute, or longer if it feels right.
Immediate effects from even the most modest of meditations can cause a lowering of the heart rate and a pleasing, relaxing sensation. Or, it could be, there is a physical or mental pain that had previously been suppressed but is now surfacing. This is normal. Disharmony or pain may arise in order to be dealt with.
Meditating shortly after a tui na treatment could prove advantageous to further amplify the healing energy generated for improving joint health.
If you find your activity is proving difficult on your joints, call us at 262-832-8888 today for a holistic treatment that benefits your body and mind.
Meta Study Confirms Acupuncture Effective for Chronic Pain
In May of 2018, The Journal of Pain published a study called “Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis.” This large-scale project analyzed 39 scientific trials with 20,827 study participants. Researchers narrowed their focus to the patient’s pain levels and their ability to physically function. They also put great importance on the effect of acupuncture to produce results after the conclusion of treatment.
Researchers discovered that real acupuncture treatments showed significant results in the reduction of chronic pain, when compared to sham acupuncture or no treatment at all. Additionally, these outstanding results lasted for 1 year after the therapy ended and could not be attributed to the placebo effect. There was only a 15% reduction in its ability to alleviate pain, leading researchers to conclude that acupuncture is a viable, effective therapy to treat different kinds of chronic pain including bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves and the head.
Source: Vickers AJ, Vertosick EA, Lewith G, MacPherson H, Foster NE, Sherman KJ, Irnich D, Witt CM, Linde K; Acupuncture Trialists’ Collaboration. (2018). Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis. Journal of Pain, 19(5):455-474. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2017.11.005. Epub 2017 Dec 2. Retrieved online at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29198932