Acupuncture!

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that has been practiced for centuries.  It is based on the theory that energy, called chi, flows through and around your body along pathways called meridians.  Acupuncturists believe that illness happens when something blocks or unbalnces your chi.  They state that it is a way to unblock or influence chi and help it flow back into balance.  Acupuncture is done by sticking very thin needles into the skin at certain points on the body.  This is done to influence the energy flow.  Ocassionaly, heat, pressure, or mild electrical current is used along with needles.  I have never personally received acupuncture, but have witnessed my mom receiving it before.  I am hoping with this blog to tell you what happens during acupuncture and hopefully teach you something new about this interesting treatment.

Receiving acupuncture usually starts out with an exam and the provider will ask questions about your pain and how well you are functioning. He or she will also ask about your overall health.  Then your provider will look for the places (called points) on your body to access the chi that is blocked or not flowing right. Each of the points relates to certain health problems or body functions. Your provider will look for landmarks on your body-using certain muscles or bones, for example-to find the points so that he or she can place the needles. After the provider finds the points, he or she will quickly tap very thin needles into your skin. He or she will probably place several needles. Some may be placed deeper than others, depending on what the provider believes is needed to restore the flow of chi.

            You may feel slight pressure when a needle goes in. Most people find that it doesn’t hurt. The area may tingle, feel numb, itch, or be a little sore. Providers believe that this is a sign that the energy flow, or chi, has been accessed.  After the needle is placed, your provider may roll the needle slightly back and forth. Or he or she may use heat or electrical current on the needle. 
            People use acupuncture to relieve pain and treat certain health conditions. You can use it by itself or as part of a treatment program. Studies have found promising results for the use of acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting related to pregnancy, chemotherapy, and postsurgery pain. Acupuncture also may be useful for:
  • Stroke rehabilitation, which involves relearning skills that a person lost because of brain damage from a stroke.
  • Headache. A study shows that adding acupuncture to standard treatment leads to significant, long-lasting relief from chronic headaches, especially migraines
  • Menstrual cramps.
  • Tennis elbow.
  • Fibromyalgia, or widespread pain and tenderness of muscle and soft tissue.
  • Myofascial pain, caused by spasm in the muscles.

Baby Got Crack

Wait a minute, why would I want to go to a “doctor” that just cracks my back what is the value in that? For years Chiropractic has been viewed as not having real medical value, but in recent years it has become a widely used and accepted practice for improving health the natural way.

Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on the relationship between the body’s structure—mainly the spine—and its functioning. Although practitioners may use a variety of treatment approaches, they primarily perform adjustments (manipulations) to the spine or other parts of the body with the goal of correcting alignment problems, alleviating pain, improving function, and supporting the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Spinal Manipulationis the application of controlled force to a joint, moving it beyond the normal range of motion in an effort to aid in restoring health. Manipulation may be performed as a part of other therapies or whole medical systems, including chiropractic medicine, massage, and naturopathy.

The term “chiropractic” combines the Greek words cheir (hand) and praxis (practice) to describe a treatment done by hand. Hands-on therapy—especially adjustment of the spine—is central to chiropractic care. Chiropractic is based on the notion that the relationship between the body’s structure (primarily that of the spine) and its function (as coordinated by the nervous system) affects health.  Spinal adjustment/manipulation is a core treatment in chiropractic care, but it is not synonymous with chiropractic. Chiropractors commonly use other treatments in addition to spinal manipulation, and other health care providers (e.g., physical therapists or some osteopathic physicians) may use spinal manipulation.

Researchers have studied spinal manipulation for a number of conditions ranging from back, neck, and shoulder pain to asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and headaches. Much of the research has focused on low-back pain, and has shown that spinal manipulation appears to benefit some people with this condition.  A 2010 review of scientific evidence on manual therapies for a range of conditions concluded that spinal manipulation/mobilization may be helpful for several conditions in addition to back pain, including migraine and cervicogenic (neck-related) headaches, neck pain, upper- and lower-extremity joint conditions, and whiplash-associated disorders. The review also identified a number of conditions for which spinal manipulation/mobilization appears not to be helpful (including asthma, hypertension, and menstrual pain) or the evidence is inconclusive (e.g., fibromyalgia, mid-back pain, premenstrual syndrome, sciatica, and temporomandibular joint disorders).
Don’t mistake chiropractic care for medical treatment. Chiropractors are not intended to replace medical physicians. At first glance, it may seem trivial… but there’s a stark contrast between the two.  The medical objective is: “We don’t want you to be sick.”  The Chiropractic objective is: “We want you to be healthy.”  Not being sick is very different than actually being healthy. The intent behind your chiropractic care is to enhance your health, not simply treat sickness.