chronic pain

Managing Your Pain Vs. A Cure

The American College of Physicians is now recommending that patients with low back pain try alternative methods to relieve low back pain before taking over the counter medication or prescribed opioids and other versions of painkillers. Nonpharmacological therapies are encouraged. 

Findings show that steroid and acetaminophens like Tylenol were not as helpful as expected, while other Non-steroidal Anit-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) pain relievers such as aspirin and naproxen provided some relief. The review suggests patients with low back pain try alternative therapies including acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga, and exercises including working with physical therapist to relieve pain.

When you visit an acupuncturist, make sure you relay the following information to the practitioner to ensure that you receive the best possible treatment:

  • How did it happen? Did your PCP order image study? What are the findings?
  • Nature (quality) of your pain - dull, ache, sharp, shooting pain, radiating.
  • Frequency - is it constant? does it come and go? with exertion? when resting?
  • Intensity (severity) - how bad can it get? what activity or position makes it better or worse
  • Location - Is it localized to a specific area? Or is it generalize to a larger area?
  • Weather - does certain weather condition make it better or worse? 
    Ever wonder why retirement communities are vast AZ and FL? (aside from cost of living)
  • Other associated conditions: do you also happen to have neck pain along with your low back pain? Knee pain act up similarly when low back pain is aggravated? Does consumption of certain foods worsen your pain level?

At Harvest Acupuncture, we tailor treatments according to the individual's needs and specific constitution. We also work closely with our physical therapy colleagues in order to produce optimal results for our patients. Contact us for more information and see if acupuncture is for you. 

Chronic Constipation

When you talk to your acupuncture practitioner, open up the discussion and include other seemingly unrelated symptoms that you've been experiencing along with difficult bowel movements and constipation. Diagnosis and treatment plans vary depending on pattern of disease that is specific to you. Etiologies of constipation are numerous and treatment plan in eastern medicine can be vastly different from one to another.

Chronic constipation is usually a deficient pattern in Traditional Chinese Medicine whereas acute constipation is more likely to be considered excess pattern. Deficient pattern means that a person's overall health constitution or certain biological system function (in this case, GI tract) has over time fatigued. Excess pattern usually involves pathogenic factors such as inflammation, bacterial infection, or lifestyle changes that causes mental-emotional and/ or physical stress.

In eastern medicine, a deficient constitution or a chronic condition, is a sign of weakening function. Instead of treating the patient's symptom, a skill practitioner will always educate his patient to first stop worsening the condition before treating. What good is a treatment if it will happen again? Some conventional therapies to alleviate chronic constipation include medicine, laxatives, dietary fiber, and nutritional supplementation (fibrous vegetables). Your acupuncturist will likely encourage you to keep eating your vegetables, but with one subtle important distinction. Cook or blanch your vegetables whenever you can instead of eating all your fresh vegetables in salads. But why?

A weakening GI function does not need more work than it can handle. By cooking vegetables (not excessively--like deep frying) and eating moderate portions, the body is better able to process fibrous vegetables and absorb nutrients efficiently. Marketing and juice companies have persuaded us to join the raw food movement, but this is not ideal for deficient patients. In fact, I would argue that it is not ideal for any person. Patients tend to benefit a great deal for such a small change in how they prepare their meals.

Your trusted acupuncture professional will keep track of your progress and help your body restore its functions. It is important to follow up and maintain as chronic issues tend to happen over time and usually require time, effort and patience to recover.