Acupuncture For Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

February 13, 2017
43-year-old Linda had been suffering from a pain in her left shoulder and chest for a month. The pain was excruciating and radiating down into her left arm. It had come on gradually over a few days without any clear incident associated with symptoms. Linda could only think of a fall about 10 days before the pain started, in which she fell on her left wrist. The doctor gave her pain killers which hadn't help at all. Then she tried a few sessions of sports massage but couldn't get any relief. The pain was still so bad that could make her cry. After some close examination, her well-trained and knowledgeable masseur suspected the condition was thoracic outlet syndrome and suggested she seek more specialist diagnosis and treatment. Couldn't wait any longer for doctors appointment, she followed a friend's advice, came to see me for acupuncture.    

What the masseur had suspected did make a lot of sense to me. Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a group of disorders that occur when there is compression, injury, or irritation of the nerves and/or blood vessels (arteries and veins) in the lower neck and upper chest area. TOS is named for the space (the thoracic outlet) between the lower neck and upper chest where this grouping of nerves and blood vessels is found. Common causes of TOS include physical trauma from a car accident, repetitive injuries from job or sports-related activities and certain anatomical defects (such as having an extra rib). Sometimes doctors can't determine the cause of TOS.

On examination, I found some tense and sensitive points in Linda's neck, shoulder and arm, then applied acupuncture and moxabastion followed by cupping. After the treatment I asked her how she was feeling. She looked tearful and said there wasn't much difference. She came back a week later for the second session and told me that, strangely, she was very emotional and teary after last treatment, but two days later the pain suddenly got much less. Now it was a milder, manageable ache with a tingle in her arm and fingers. I gave her another check and used four points which are different from what I used last time. A few days later, I had a phone call from Linda to cancel her third appointment with me because no one could help her looking after the kids on that day. She said her pain actually had almost gone. A few weeks later I saw her friend who sent her to see me. She told me that Linda has been fine.


Acupuncture for Headaches (Occipital Neuralgia)

January 20, 2017
68-year-old Patricia has had headaches for a week. The pain begins in the left side of her upper neck and back of the head and sometimes radiates forward toward the left eye. It is an intense stabbing pain, and the bouts of pain are quite frequent. Since she had benefited a lot from my acupuncture treatments in the past, Patricia decided to see me again for this problem. According to the character of the pain, I believed this condition was occipital neuralgia, which is caused by damage to the...

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Battlefield acupuncture: Opening the door for acupuncture in Department of Defense/Veteran's Administration health care

January 6, 2017
Nurs Outlook. 2016 Sep-Oct;64(5):491-8.
By Walker PH 

Battlefield acupuncture is a unique auricular acupuncture procedure which is being used in a number of military medical facilities throughout the Department of Defense (DoD). It has been used with anecdotal published positive impact with warriors experiencing polytrauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury. It has also been effectively used to treat warriors with mu...

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Electroacupuncture For Patients With Diarrhea-predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Functional Diarrhea: A Randomized Controlled Trial

October 27, 2016
Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Jun; 95(24):e3884.
By Zheng H


Diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) and functional diarrhea (FD) are highly prevalent, and the effectiveness of acupuncture for managing IBS-D and FD is still unknown. The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of electro-acupuncture with loperamide. It was a prospective, randomized, parallel group controlled trial. A total of 448 participants were randomly a...

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Acupuncture for Cluster Headaches

September 29, 2016
David started having headaches 25 years ago. Although he just suffers from them every 3-4 years, the headaches are severe and normally linger for 2-3 months. The attacks start from the inside corner spread to the back of his right eye. They can come at anytime and last 10 minutes to 3 hours. The pain can be so strong that it makes him want to bang his head. After  trying various medications for 10 years without any effect, David was sent to see a consultant, who believed the headaches was cau...

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Cupping: it's not just for Olympians

August 10, 2016
“Athletes train extremely hard for years, so they are not going to waste time on something that doesn’t work or may harm them,”

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