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Musculoskeletal Pain Acupuncture Model

Poor Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Pain

Musculoskeletal Pain Acupuncture ModelDealing with poor ergonomics (and prolonged sitting) is a challenge in many work environments and office spaces. A less-than-ideal workstation can compromise your posture and result in stressful repetitive movement and overuse of key muscle groups. If you develop musculoskeletal pain, the effects can carry over into the rest of your life and affect your ability to enjoy other physical or social activities. Many people seek relief through nerve block injections, physical therapy, or anti-inflammatory medications. Traditional Chinese Medicine can also help you manage musculoskeletal pain, especially if you want to avoid taking medication or if you have tried other treatment modalities without success.

Symptoms of Musculoskeletal Pain

Musculoskeletal pain refers to discomfort in the bones, muscles, tendons, joints or ligaments. In addition to specific areas of discomfort, it can manifest in any number of ways, including fatigue, stiffness, general aches, muscle spasms, and difficulty sleeping. If poor ergonomics are a factor, you might be experiencing low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, or muscle strain in the neck or shoulders. Eye strain and headaches are likely to be issues as well.

Treating Musculoskeletal Pain with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

One of the side benefits of utilizing TCM for treating musculoskeletal pain is that it not only relieves discomfort—it can also lower stress and help you to sleep better. Three options you may want to consider: Acupuncture, Tuina, or Qigong.

  • Acupuncture. Treatment of pain is one of its primary uses. Acupuncture stimulates the energy points of the body to encourage blood flow and healing of inflammation. It also encourages the production of cortisol (a natural steroid in the body) and the release of endorphins (the natural “pain killers” generated by the body). Because Acupuncture can quickly reduce pain and swelling, the time required for injured tissue to heal is also reduced. Acupuncture can be used to treat painful areas throughout the body; needles may be placed locally or involve a combination of acupuncture points.
  • Tuina. Like acupuncture, Tuina (pronounced twee-nah) also helps with energy and blood flow in the body. It is a form of body work/massage that is characterized by a variety of rolling hand movements (pushing, pressing, kneading, grasping, and stretching). It is similar to acupuncture in that it is used to stimulate different points on the body to encourage healing, but Tuina involves the fingers and acupressure rather than the use of needles. It can also be used in conjunction with acupuncture as a pain treatment for specific joints, tendons, and muscles in the body. It is especially helpful for treating carpel tunnel syndrome, neck pain, and lower back pain. NOTE: Because Tuina targets specific areas of pain and can include deep-tissue massage, initial treatment of those areas may be uncomfortable or cause minor bruising.
  • Qigong. Qigong (pronounced chee-GONG) is another component of Traditional Chinese Medicine that helps with the flow of energy (qi) in the body, as well as the flow of oxygen. It involves the practice of slow and repetitive movement, meditation, and breathing (the exercises are based on a mind-body connection; you move with your breath.) These body movements are both simple and low-impact, allowing you to gently stretch your muscles and gradually increase mobility in areas affected by pain and tension. Gentle stretching can resolve pain in the hips, thighs, low back, elbows, and knees. Developing a dedicated Qigong practice is beneficial on several levels—it can help ease the depression and anxiety that often accompanies long bouts of pain, while at the same time conditioning your muscles and preventing new aches and pains from occurring.

TCM Has Your Back

Don’t let poor ergonomics get you down—or keep you down. There are a variety of ways to treat musculoskeletal pain beyond the general recommendations associated with Western medicine. Acupuncture, Tuina, and Qigong are highly effective methods for addressing pain complaints. If these treatments are completely new to you, give them a go—you’ll probably wish you’d tried them sooner!

Resources:

Tips For Setting Up an Ergonomic Workspace

Learn More About Tuina

Learn More About Qigong

 

Electroacupuncture Explained

 

Electroacupuncture is the specialized version of traditional acupuncture that involves running a small electrical current through the pre-placed needles. This is done in hopes of stimulating blood flow and achieving balance throughout the body. Today, we’ll explore the many benefits and uses to this newer form of TCM.

 

Invented by Chinese doctor Tang She-Cheng in 1937, it has a much shorter history in relation to the nearly 2,500 years of manual acupuncture. As a result, the practice is less widely in utilization, but does have proven benefits.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

 

So, how does it work? While it can seem scary initially, the principles are actually quite simple, and in essence, similar to manual acupuncture. Traditionally, an acupuncturist would place one needle per meridian point, and then manually stimulate the body using that needle and their hands. However, in electroacupuncture, two needles are placed per meridian point and an electrical machine is connected to these needles which sends a current back and forth, and stimulates the meridian point between. 

In electroacupuncture, two needles are inserted per meridian point, unlike traditional Chinese acupuncture.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

Some people may be understandably wary about hooking their body up to an electrical current, so what is the point? According to multiple scientific studies, electroacupuncture has some pretty significant benefits, even when compared to the time-tested standard. Some specific benefits of this variation include increased efficacy in patients with arthritis and osteoarthritis. Likewise, chemo-therapy related nausea and other chronic stress issues have been found to be reduced by this method. Specifically nerve-related issues that benefit from electrical stimulation. 

 

For example, study done by researchers at Georgetown University found that the applied use of electroacupuncture can reduce physical symptoms of chronic stress quite dramatically. Furthermore, this method can lower production stress hormones, and can be an effective addition to treatments for various conditions.

In conclusion, there are many benefits to this variation of practice, certain groups are at a higher risk for complications. If you are elderly, pregnant, have a pacemaker, other heart-related issues, or experience seizures you should not attempt electroacupuncture.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

WOULD YOU TRY ELECTROACUPUNCTURE THERAPY?

Unfamiliar with traditional acupuncture benefits? Check some out here!

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3947586/

https://www.healthline.com/health/electroacupuncture#how-it-works

 

Acupuncture- Is it working for me? 

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I was talking to a patient the other day (she is being treated with acupuncture for fertility issues) and she said to me, “I know I am not pregnant yet, but I can tell the acupuncture is working.” She mentioned to me that she is sleeping better, her energy is up and she is more focused at work. I was so pleased to hear this. I thought to myself, “Yes! She gets it. She understands!”

Acupuncture works to guide the body back to its natural state of balance so it can heal itself. It is a process. Depending on the severity, nature and duration of time that the patient has had the condition it can take a while to become fully balanced.

I have had patients come in and tell me that they’ve had acupuncture before and it didn’t work. “I’ve had back pain for 30 years. I went to see an acupuncturist for one treatment and my back pain didn’t improve.”

We live in a fast paced society. We desire immediate results and want instant gratification. Unfortunately, most things don’t work that way and acupuncture is one of them. That is not to say that after one treatment someone won’t feel better, but especially if it is a chronic long standing issue it may take much longer.

Below is an article that talks about 6 signs that acupuncture is working for you. Be patient with the process. Your body has taken a while to become unbalanced it needs time to be able to reestablish that balance.

http://acutakehealth.com/how-to-know-when-acupuncture-is-working