Tag Archives: acupuncture for pain

Acupuncture For Sports Medicine and Injuries

  

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For professional and amateur athletes alike, it is important to get back to their peak performance as soon as possible after sustaining an injuryAcupuncture is extremely effective at treating sports injuries and chronic pain.  There is ample research demnstrating the efficacy of acupuncture for pain relief and sports injuries.   

 At your first visit your licensed acupuncturist will assess your condition and prescribe an acupuncture treatment protocol. Acute or new conditions can typically be resolved within three to six acupuncture treatments.  Chronic conditions may require more treatments over time: at each treatment your injury will be re-evaluated to ensure that your recovery is as expedient as possible.

 Many of my patients are amazed at the results they see with acupuncture: it has been used for thousands of years to cure martial-arts injuries in Asian countries.  Today it is used by athletes in virtually every professional sport to treat injuries and to optimize performance. 

Acupuncture Can Provide:

           Alleviation of pain

Reduction of swelling & inflammation

            Increased blood flow to the region

            Faster healing of the injury

 

Treatment Modalities Used for Injuries:

 

            Acupuncture

            Electric-stimulation acupuncture

            Massage with medicated liniment (i.e. Tiger Balm)

            Chinese Herbal prescription for trauma or pain

 

I have had the honor to have worked with a wide variety of athletes and artists including major league baseball players, soccer players, cyclists, marathoners, triathletes, Broadway singers & dancers, opera singers, professional ballet dancers, salsa dancers, swimmers, professional musicians, tango dancers, a javelin thrower and a professional curler.  I have also worked with many dedicated weight lifters: parents lifting their kids. 

 Click here for a comprehensive list of injuries acupuncture can treat.

For more information about sports injury treatment and Traditional Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture, please feel free to cotact me:  Monica Legatt, LAC

 

I Am Strong; I’m Invisible by Nisi Shawl

b24d5 002 I Am Strong; I’m Invisible by Nisi Shawl

I’m not who people see. None of us are, but I’m really, really not. I’m disabled, though looking at me you’d never think so. I have fibromyalgia, one of hundreds of “invisible” disabilities, and one that I and others are calling on acupuncture to address. Migraines, respiratory illness, multiple sclerosis, depression–the list of nonobvious medical conditions goes on and on. My mother taught me never to assume those I encounter are having an easy time of it; almost every day I’m thankful to have learned that lesson.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain and fatigue. Hard to see those. A counselor once asked me how friends would know I was in pain. “I would gasp, or moan, or yell,” I said. It had never occurred to me to simply tell people.

Invisible disabilities are isolating.

If I sit in the disabled folks area when I get on the bus I risk getting the stink-eye from those who presume I’m as healthy as they are. Or healthier. My doctor had no way to gauge my pain till I saw her for an ear infection. She examined me and got a visual point of reference for the scale of my suffering. Her sudden sympathy made me cry, though most of the time I’m able not to.

Most of the time I grit my teeth and go on.

5ed1b 006 I Am Strong; I’m Invisible by Nisi Shawl

Going on is easier lately because I have hope. Hope in something invisible. It’s hard–in fact, pretty much impossible–to see the meridians acupuncturists use to treat patients. Charts show lines with names such as “Triple Warmer” netting diagrams of bodies (usually male). On these lines are strung–like beads–points helpfully labeled “D-7” and “Gv-24” and so forth. Acupuncturists feel these lines and points. The charts are visualizations of a nonvisual phenomenon.

Maybe I should make a chart of what’s wrong with me. But it comes and goes. It changes. I’ve compared fibromyalgia to living an episode of “I Love Lucy.”  “I’ll stub my left toe,” I complained to a woman at the Y, “and 15 minutes later my right one hurts.” Pain is my default setting. Unlike some other invisible disabilities such as certain kinds of arthritis or neurological disorders, conventional medicine can find no firm basis for what I and my fellow sufferers go through.

Acupuncture diagnoses focus on energy imbalances revealed by symptoms. There’s an explanation for my invisible disability, and it’s rooted in understanding a model of an invisible system within my body. That makes sense to me.

END

 

Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

I treat low back pain with acupuncture many times every week, and sometimes many times in one day in my acupuncture office!   I can tell you unequivocally that acupuncture does work wonders for back pain as well as other kinds of pain including migraines, sports injuries, menstrual pain, and abdominal pain.  Acupuncture is without side effects and covered by insurance in Washington State: what have you got to lose by trying it?  This form of medicine has been in existence and flourishing for thousands of years.

Research shows that for chronic low back pain relief in the acupuncture groups was significantly more effective than sham treatment and with no additional treatment. 

If your low back pain is acute, meaning only a few days old at the most, you should have between one and three acupuncture treatments.  If your low back pain is chronic, you should have treatments once per week for a minimum of two months: maybe longer.  You may benefit from a Chinese herbal prescription as well, depending upon your personal circumstances.  

My recommendation in choosing a practitioner is that he or she has experience treating neuromuscular conditions and that he or she is board certified by the NCCAOM.  Acupuncturists who maintain their current diplomate standing with the NCCAOM uphold themselved to the highest standard of continuing education requirements.

Feel free to contact me with questions!  I can be reached at Downtown Seattle Acupuncture.  

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Acupuncture for Migraine Headaches

Migraines are a leading cause of misery and missed work for many people: they can be controlled by medication, but medication stops working for some of migraine sufferers.  When migraines are out of control, or when a patient is seeking a holistic and natural treatment, acupuncture is an ideal solution.  There is research supporting the efficacy of acupuncture for migraines.  Acupuncture cannot just reduce the frequency and intensity of your migraines: it can eradicate them completely with regular treatments.  Yes, that’s right: they can be cured if you follow your acupuncturist’s recommended treatment regimen in combination with the lifestyle and nutritional guidance that you are given.

  In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) migraine headaches fall into two categories: liver yang rising or liver fire.  There can be underlying conditions predisposing the patient toward these patterns including blood deficiency, blood stasis, qi stasis, or yin deficiency of the liver or kidneys.  Liver yang rising includes the following symptoms:

 

∙Blurred Vision

∙Dizziness

∙Nausea

∙Intense Pain

∙Vertigo

∙Emotional component of anger, frustration or resentment

∙Recurring headaches

∙Irritability and Restlessness

∙Insomnia

∙Visual symptoms: flashes or aura

 

The category of liver fire can include the symptoms of liver yang rising but may also include:

∙Sudden anger or emotional outbursts

∙Bitter taste in the mouth

∙Intense, throbbing quality to the pain

∙Strong thirst for cold drinks

∙Feeling hot, especially in the face

∙Dry, red tongue

∙Yellow urine & dry stools

 Acupuncture treatment for migraines should be performed 2 to 3 times in the first week for migraines occurring daily or for a migraine that has not abated for days.  If the migraines are periodic or occurring in conjunction with a woman’s menstrual period, one treatment weekly is suggested.  In difficult cases a patient may need to receive weekly acupuncture for 6 months to a year.  It is very common to have Chinese herbs prescribed in conjunction with acupuncture for best results.  An example of a Chinese herbal formula commonly used for liver fire type migraines is Long Dan Xie Gan Wan (Gentiana Drain the Liver Fire Decoction).  For liver yang rising the formula commonly prescribed is Tian Ma Gu Teng Yin (Gastrodia & Uncaria Decoction). 

 

 In TCM the liver system is always involved with migraine headaches; sour foods injure the liver meaning they aggravate migraines.  A migraine patient is advised to avoid foods like sauerkraut, pickles, yogurt, lemonade, grapefruit, vinegar and vinaigrettes.  In the case of liver fire, foods that aggravate heat symptoms are contraindicated such as spicy curries, hot chilies, cinnamon and horseradish.  For more nutritional advice based upon TCM I highly recommend the book Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford.

 

 We all know that stress makes headaches worse.  Stress and the emotions of frustration and anger in particular can stagnate the free flowing energy of the liver and gallbladder systems in TCM, resulting in migraines.  It is best if possible to eliminate the sources of aggravation in your life if you suffer from migraines.

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  There are other therapies that can help migraines beside acupuncture and herbs, especially cupping and massage therapy.  Cupping can alleviate chi and blood stasis, thereby treating many forms of migraines.  Massage therapy is excellent for alleviating stress and lowering liver yang rising, thereby helping to reduce migraine frequency and intensity.  Massage, cupping, and acupuncture all complement one another very well in the treatment of migraines.    A licensed acupuncturist has massage therapy and cupping as part of his or her scope of legal practice, so you can receive all of these modalities as part of your TCM treatment plan for migraines. 

 

 Even chronic and difficult cases of migraines respond great to acupuncture!  Consider the following testimonial from a patient who displayed symptoms of both liver yang rising and also liver fire:

 

 “Monica was highly recommended to me by a co-worker, and seeing her for acupuncture was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I’ve suffered from migraines for years, but 3 years ago they suddenly worsened. I was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, which causes dryness and chronic inflammation, increasing the frequency and intensity of my migraines. I wish I had started seeing Monica sooner! I improved dramatically, averaging 1 or 2 very mild migraines per month, instead of 3 or 4 intense ones. I got by with just taking over-the-counter pain medicine for a migraine instead of prescription medicine, which I’ve NEVER been able to do!! I’ve also cut my daily prescription migraine prevention medicine dose in half, and I’m still improving! I’m amazed, and excited to see how much better I’ll get! This treatment has been life changing for me. Monica also gave me food recommendations, which have helped with my migraines and dryness as well. She is very skilled and caring. I’m so glad she was recommended to me!”

 This patient is continuing to receive acupuncture treatments and continuing to improve at the time of this post. 

 

 Stay tuned for upcoming posts on other medical conditions that can benefit from acupuncture!  Feel free to contact me with suggested topics or questions.   

 

 

Acupuncture For Pain

In a recent article published by the Associated Press, “Acupuncture gets a thumbs-up for helping relieve pain from chronic headaches, back aches and arthritis in a review of more than two dozen studies . . . The results provide the most robust evidence to date that acupuncture is a reasonable referral option” wrote the authors.

 I love to see positive mention of acupuncture in the media!  There are many things about acupuncture and the treatment of pain that go unmentioned in the article, and that people untrained in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) do not realize. 

 Acupuncture can treat a wide variety of medical conditions that involve pain, including emotional pain.  Depression, anxiety, guilt, fear, insecurity and frustration: all of these emotions have a clear cause within the framework of TCM and can easily be treated with acupuncture and also Chinese herbs.

Acupuncture is not just a way to relieve the symptom of pain: it also helps to treat the root-cause of the disease or medical condition causing the pain.  By increasing the circulation of Chi or energy and also blood to the pathological or injured area of the body, it expedites the healing process, thereby helping to remove the cause of the pain, not just the pain itself.

 Acupuncture helps to eliminate the things that go along with pain: in particular, fatigue.  Acupuncture is extremely effective at improving fatigue.  Acupuncture reduces swelling, inflammation, and even depression from longstanding unresolved pain: all of these will improve along with the reduction of pain from regular acupuncture treatments.

 In upcoming posts I will be covering specific kinds of pain and their treatment with acupuncture and TCM, such as back pain, sciatica, menstrual pain, and also emotional patterns such as anxiety and depression.   

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