Chronic pain has become North America's most common health disorders, affecting nearly one out of three Americans and costing nearly $40 billion a year in medical bills and lost wages. Today, traditional Chinese medicines are available which have been proven to be effective at both reducing chronic pain symptoms and alleviating their causes. Recognizing the complexities of chronic pain, with its physical and psychological components, TCM practitioners employ a wide variety of treatment methods tailored specially the individual. These methods can include acupuncture, herbal therapy, hydrotherapy and health food therapy.
Acupuncture has been found to be highly effective in providing relief to chronic pain relief by acting in the following ways.
Stimulating the release of endorphins and enkephalins, the body natural pain-killing chemicals;
Blocking pain messages from getting through to the brain (the acupuncture needles trigger nerve reactions which travel along thicker and faster nerve channels than the pain sensations do effectively shutting the gate to the brain before the pain messages can even get there;
Influencing the production and distribution of a great many neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. This in turn, alters the perception of pain.
Reducing both the frequency and severity of muscle tension headache and migraines in one study of over 20,000 patients at the university of California at Los Angeles;
Relieving the anxiety and depression associated with chronic pain, as well as by helping people reduce their dependence on narcotics and other addictive drugs.
The most common cause of neuropathy is spondylosis, which is the degenerative narrowing of the space between the spinal vertebrae that occurs due to everyday wear and tear or overuse. Neuropathy causes the muscles to rest in a shortened state (contracture), which will cause increased compression of a joint and nerve. Compression further increases the degeneration effects of spondylosis, creating a painful cascading circle of events. Acupuncture can target specifically injured muscles that have contracted and become shortened from distress. Only experienced and skilled medical practitioners can recognize the physical signs of neuropathic pain. Its signs are not visible on X-rays, MRI tests, bone and CT scans.
An important causes of pain in myofascial pain comes from muscle shortening and contracture that mechanically stress muscle attachments. The abnormal pull on tendons can cause tendonosis. Shortening of muscles crossing a joint increases joint pressure and can cause pain such as "facet joint syndrome". This can cause further spondylosis(degeneration of the spine) and can eventually lead to osteoarthritis. Shortened back muscles will compress the disc and impinge on the nerve root, which causes further irritation of the nerve.
Herbal therapy has also been found to be a very successful treatment for pain relief by:
Reducing the inflammation associated with pain;
Regenerating new connective tissues that have been weakened or destroyed with inflammation such as cut, broken bone and muscle sprain;
Eliminating swelling and thereby avoiding the adhesion of connective tissues to nerves; and by
Increasing blood levels of endorphins
Hydrotherapy including compresses and various contrast (hot and cold) techniques, offer a simple and efficient way of treating a variety of factors which contribute to chronic pain.
Heating compress can relieve pain by:
Easing congestion and swelling caused by a buildup of fluid and muscle stiffness
Improving blood circulation and avoiding poor oxygenation of tissue and accumulation of acidic substance.
Cold application are helpful in relieving pain by:
Reducing the sensitivity of the nerve endings which signal pain sensations
· Rheumatoid arthritis
Foot and Ankle Disorders
· Calcaneal Spur Syndrome (Plantar fasciitis)
· Epiphysitis of the calcaneus (sever's disease)
· Posterior Achilles tendon bursitis (haglund's deformity)
· Fracture of the posterolateral talar tubercle
· Bursitis (retromalleolar bursitis, anterior achilles tendon bursitis)
· Posterior tibial nerve neuralgia
· Overuse syndrome (in Athletes)
· Tight heel cord secondary to abnormal foot structure and function
Disorder associated with metatarsalgia
· Interdigital Nerve Pain
· Metatarsophalangeal articulation pain
· Mallet Finger
· Boutonniere deformity (Bottonhole deformity)
· Erosive osteoarthritis (DIP joint, PIP joint)
· Dupuytren's contracture (Palmar Fibromatosis: contracture of the palmar fascial bands)
· Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (compression of the median nerve)
· Cubital Tunnel syndrome (ulnar neuropathy)
· Radial Tunnel Syndrome (posterior Interosseous Nerve Syndrome)
· Kienbock's diseases (Vascular necrosis of the lunate bone
· Ganglia (Ganglion cysts)
· Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (shoulder-hand syndrome)
· Gamekeeper Thumb (disruption of the ulnar collateral ligament of thumb)
· Scapholunate ligament rupture
· Lunate and Perilunate dislocation
· Metacarpophalangeal joint dislocations
· Proximal interphalangeal joint injuries
· Infections caused by bites
· Felon (Infection of the pulp space of a phalanx)
· Digital Tendinitis and Tenosynovitis (inflammation of tendon and tendon sheaths of the hand)
· De Quervain's syndrome (washerwoman's sprain)