How Acupuncture Treats Neck Pain
TCM views all health problems holistically. We can not only treat the symptoms of neck pain and stiffness, often providing relief of sore neck and muscle spasm in neck, but will carefully consider the whole picture of symptoms and lifestyle habits that are contributing factors. We will look for the root cause of neck pain and address that, so that the pain does not return again and again. An acute condition that involves neck strain and soft tissue injury will be treated differently than a chronic condition related to the vertebrae and discs.
Patients who are new to acupuncture may be surprised when their practitioner begins inserting needles, and none of them are going into the area that hurts–in this case, the neck. But acupuncture often does not work in such a direct way. To treat neck pain, a qualified acupuncturist might be working on points in the abdomen that reduce inflammation throughout the body while strengthening Qi and Yang energy.
Acupuncture treatment is sometimes enhanced by the additional use of electrical stimulation. Wide-ranging studies have shown that many people feel an immediate improvement after the very first session, with even more significant positive effects on pain and mobility accumulating after several treatments. At SFIM we are trained in other modalities that can also be incorporated into the treatment regimen, especially forms of therapeutic massage, Kineso-taping, Dry Needling, and Graston Technique
Acupuncture is safe, natural and has no such side effects—unlike many of the medications often used to treat pain.
TCM Herbs for Chronic Neck Pain
Chronic neck pain conditions involving radicular (radiating pain) symptoms can be alleviated by the use of specific Chinese herbal formulas. Chinese herbs, both in oral and topical formulations, have been shown to be better at relieving neck pain stemming from degenerative disc disorders or cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerves or nerve damage) than NSAID type medications. Topical pain relievers such as liniment (woodlock, or Huo Luo oil) or analgesic patches can be very effective for pain relief, with no side effects.
Top 5 Tips for Neck Pain Relief
Besides acupuncture treatment, you can also get some stiff neck relief by improving your posture, sleeping position and by practicing neck pain exercises. Here are some of the best neck pain remedies you can achieve through self care at home.
ACUPUNCTURE AND IMMUNITY
Can acupuncture boost your immune system? The answer is not surprising: yes, it can! In some cases, especially in China, acupuncture therapy is prescribed for immune deficiency disorders such as allergies, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue, psoriasis, and cancer. Since inflammation is the natural pathological progress of many diseases, many argue that the strength of acupuncture in boosting immune function lies in its ability to reduce inflammation. Studies have also shown that acupuncture can affect a rise in immune interferon levels. Interferons are the chemical messengers used by the immune system to communicate between cells.
The acupuncture point named Stomach 36 (ST36) is well known for its immune-boosting effects. Stimulation of this point (located just below the kneecap on the outer part of the leg) is believed to regulate the activation of Natural Killer cells (NK cells) known for their ability to attack and kill cancer cells.
The human immune system consists of the white blood cells produced by bone marrow; antibodies made in the thymus and tonsils; and the spleen and the lymphatic system, which removes dead cells and materials from the system. These systems interact and communicate to coordinate the body’s defense system. First, white blood cells detect foreign particles in the body. In response, the body launches a defense in the form of fighter cells and antibodies. It keeps a record of infections, so future immune reactions are faster and more effective. If any of these aspects are weakened due to illness or bad lifestyle choices, our immune system is compromised.
Research and scientific evidence from clinical trials show that acupuncture can regulate immunity and promote anti-inflammatory effects. In one study, early stimulation of acupuncture point ST36 resulted in an increased concentration of the antibody SIgA, as well as T-lymphocytes in the intestinal mucosa. It resulted in lowered mortality due to sepsis.
In conjunction with moxibustion, acupuncture helped restore the balance between immune cell subsets during treatment of Crohn’s disease patients (Liang et al. 2015).
Additionally, prevention and early treatment of disease is a big part of TCM. Acupuncture is often used before the onset of an illness to boost immunity, thereby potentially bypassing disease altogether.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT
Your first treatment with an acupuncturist may last for up to an hour. We will carefully evaluate your particular case and decide on the correct combination of acupuncture points to stimulate and the duration of the treatment. A total of 361 acupuncture points are located all over the human body, including the hands, feet, and ears, where points are more concentrated. Follow-up treatments tend to be shorter, typically between 20-30 minutes, and may be necessary depending on the specific case.
The skin is disinfected with alcohol before a very thin sterilized needle or disposable needle in inserted precisely at each specific acupuncture point. Once inserted, the acupuncturist may adjust the position of the needles, heat them, or even electrically energize them for an enhanced effect. Treatment is not painful or uncomfortable, although a slight prick may be felt on insertion, followed by tingling or warming around the site.
photo credit - genengnews.com
We want to share with you below what we are doing to help maintain a healthy and safe environment, in addition to following guidelines from the CDC and regional public health agencies.
COVID-19 and Traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine has played a role in fighting viruses and pandemics in its long history. SARS, H1N1 and more recently, COVID-19. Hospitals in China have integrated the use of Chinese medical herbology with Western medicine in its fight of COVID-19. Chinese herbal medicine helps to strengthen the immune system and it not only assists in mild cases, but more severe cases as well.
Click Here to watch a short video
Thank you for all that you’re doing to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We recognize the immense personal sacrifices that everyone has made during this time to respond to the pandemic. We miss seeing our team in the office each day, we miss seeing you, and we miss the opportunity to share in the highs (and lows) of supporting your wellness journey.
Fortunately, in the Bay Area it seems that we are winning in our goal to flatten the curve. We greatly appreciate the support we received from so many of you regarding our decision to pause in office treatments, and today, we are happy to share that we will tentatively begin seeing patients in office on a limited basis starting MAY 5TH.
We plan to start slowly and will be prioritizing the acute cases first. We are passionate about providing the highest caliber of care, and we look forward to continuing our mission to partner with patients to achieve their goals, safely and responsibly.
How has the situation changed?
We faced tremendous uncertainty around how the rate of infection would progress in the Bay Area. Fortunately, early actions have proven effective at managing community transmission, and our hospitals and critical care centers are not under stress.
Acupuncture is defined as essential by the state of California and as a standalone private practice (not part of a larger hospital or clinic), we can operate without diverting needed resources like personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, or skilled staff from the pandemic response at a larger hospital system.
What does this mean for me?
We greatly appreciate your continued support and patience as we make every effort to resume clinic operations as safely and as seamlessly as possible. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we are also updating our precautionary measures to help keep our patients, providers, and staff healthy and safe.
We are doing everything in our power to keep both our patients and staff healthy, safe, and advancing towards their goals. Nothing that we do would be possible without the immense trust that you place in us, and we look forward to continuing to partner with you.
Elanita and Jennifer
There are two main reasons we appreciate NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week – April 20 - 25):
Chinese medicine isn’t just about acupuncture and Chinese herbs, it is lifestyle medicine. How you live affects your health and these are aspects of your health we can work on. We are here to help you with the physical aspects of the medicine (the herbs, the acupuncture) but also be that much needed cheerleader when you begin making these healthier choices because change can be hard and when you have support, anything is possible.
Infertility is so common and the struggles are shared by many. If you have a story to tell, feel free to send it and we can post it (with or without your name), to give hope or at least to let people know that they aren’t alone.
Let’s shine a light on infertility and support those struggling during this week and every week.
5 Quick Tips for Picking A Prenatal
1. Observe Daily Serving Size
This means how many pills you'll be taking per day. Servings can range from one to even up to six pills daily. Confirm that the daily number of pills listed is realistic for you.
2. Avoid a Gummy Option
Gummy vitamins may be easier (and more fun) for some but ,many essential nutrients are either missing or they are provided at a lower than recommended dose. Iron is not at all found in a gummy vitamin. In addition, key prenatal nutrients like DHA, iodine, zinc and others are also not adequate in a gummy.
3. Consider your personal preferences and/or medical needs, ie. cultural, religious, or medical. Options are available. For example: Does the prenatal need to be vegan/vegetarian, kosher, gluten free, allergen-free?
4. Compare Cost
Keep in mind that some bottles will only cover one month or many times 2-6 months. Sometimes what appears to be a higher cost is actually the best deal!
5. Look for the following key nutrients on the label:
In addition to folate, growing research is supporting the importance of many essential vitamins and minerals in pregnancy. See more below!
Prenatal vitamins are very beneficial taken daily prior to fertility treatment, pregnancy, and preferably 3 months (or more) before conception. If you’re actively trying to conceive, start the prenatal regimen now.
STILL NEED HELP?
CONTACT US TO FIND OUT WHICH PRENATAL IS BEST FOR YOUR GOALS AND LIFESTYLE
Here are a few tools we are offering via a tele-medicine (phone or zoom) appointment. We are able to offer assistance with:
Economic hardship: we obviously recognize that many people are undergoing economic hardships and uncertainty. Please be in touch if you are needing sliding scale consideration.
What to expect:
Curbside Pick up
We are also doing curbside pick up of herbs/supplements on Ellis St on Mondays and Fridays if there is anything you need. For online orders we're using Wellevate
1. Practice self-compassion. Know that your feelings are normal and valid, and that it’s OK to feel whatever you’re feeling. Remind yourself that what’s going on is temporary and try to find comfort in knowing that we are all going through these tough times of uncertainty together.
2. Lovingly renegotiate your personal space. At this time, you may be spending your entire day in a home with your partner, children, or multiple roommates. This is a time to discuss boundaries and needs within the spaces we share. When we are proactive about re-negotiating our space, there’s an opportunity to get on the same page and mitigate conflict.
3. Stay connected. In times of high stress, staying connected with our loved ones and our communities is crucial. Just because we are physically isolated, doesn’t mean we have to be socially isolated. Fortunately, we live in a time where there are many ways to stay connected via technology. Take advantage of them!
4. Maintain routine. Routines keep us steady. These actions seem small, but a little peace and comfort can go a long way. In times like these it can be easy to throw your routine out the window, but routine is what keeps us level-headed when things are shifting around us. As best you can, keep your same wake-up and bed times, brew your favorite drink in the morning, put on new clothes, do an at-home workout, and read a chapter in your favorite book at night. The key is to find the balance of keeping a regular routine and over scheduling yourself.
5. Limit your media exposure. While most of us want to stay informed, the constant talk about the virus in the news and on social media can be overwhelming and can feed into our fears and anxiety. Limit the amount of information you consume by intentionally setting boundaries around what you watch and read.
We've been using Diagnostic Solutions as our go to lab for comprehensive gut evaluation. We were so excited to see that they just rolled out a COVID19 testing option for providers.
Read below to get the most up to date information on this testing option.
We are now ordering these tests for patients that meet the criteria - click here to book a phone or video consultation with us.
*Patients who present with nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting are more likely to accurately test positive or negative
Ten percent of patients presented with diarrhea and nausea one to two days before they developed fever and respiratory symptoms. And in some cases, digestive symptoms were the primary symptom of COVID-19. Further, GI symptoms with COVID-19 may indicate a more severe course of illness. For example, abdominal pain was reported more frequently in patients admitted to the intensive care unit. SARS-CoV-2 can also be detected in fecal specimens of asymptomatic patients.
While this has been a difficult decision, I feel wholeheartedly that it is the right one. Out of an abundance of caution SFIM will be temporarily closing our physical practice starting tomorrow, March 17th, 2020.
We will take this in 2 week increments as we all learn more. Just like you, we am hoping this blows over quickly and we are trying to control as much as we personally can at this point.
In order to ensure that happens, now is the time for leadership and setting an example in our personal and professional lives. The work we do is in close proximity with others and involves multiple patients coming in and out of the same room. While as much as we don’t know about this virus we DO KNOW that any of us can be asymptomatic and still be shedding virus. While we have always maintained a sterile, well ventilated, sanitized and clean office, we are simply not set up for infectious disease containment on this level.
While the work we do is important, it is time for all of us to do a hard ego check. I am following the lead of most other non-essential medical offices. The time is NOW for us all to do our part to flatten the curve before it is too late.
This will have major financial implications for most. In light of that I am offering complimentary or pay by donation/what you can no questions asked herbal or phone consultations. We can do this over the phone or skype/facetime.
Chinese Medicine excels at immune strengthening and even treatment of onset of symptoms as an adjunct in this case to your work with your medical doctor. We can also do corrective exercise instruction for those of you experiencing musculoskeletal pain. Further, if the whole social distancing thing is starting to wear on you, if you’re lonely, afraid or even just need to chat we are here for you anytime.
***If the situation is more acute, please contact us as well, we are seeing a limited amount of patients in the office who are in need***.
Click here to book an online appointment
In good health,
Elanita and Jennifer