Muscle Tension & Pain
The most common area for people to carry stress is in the shoulders, neck and upper back.
Acupuncture can be a very effective solution when treating most neck and shoulder problems.
Neck and shoulder muscle tension and stiffness are very common concerns, especially of people who work in an office. Sitting in front of a computer and typing for extensive periods of time causes a lack of circulation in the tissue and fatigue of the muscles involved. As a result, tightness at the top of the neck can influence autonomic nervous functioning and prolonged period of tension can cause a various symptoms such as headache, lack of concentration, poor memory, insomnia or irritability.
In an acupuncture treatment we look for and identify patterns of muscular tension, as well as patterns that correspond to acupuncture channel theory. By identifying these patterns in an individual, we are able to treat that person most effectively for specific pain(s). When we identify a muscular tension pattern, we use the acupuncture needles to release those areas of tension. We call these tight tender points "ashi" points or trigger points. In addition, we treat the "root" condition. A pattern of illness or pain is usually associated with a larger pattern in the body. We treat the "root" by using acupuncture points located on the arms and legs.
Neck stiffness can be also aggravated by other common reasons such as accidents, arthritis, and poor posture. Many of the patterns underlying these problems can be effectively treated with acupuncture.
Whiplash injury is the most common injury suffered from a motor vehicle accident. Whiplash is an injury to the soft tissue of the neck, also referred to as neck sprain or neck strain. It is often caused by a sudden forceful movement of the neck, but with no direct contact to the neck. It may include injury to the joints, discs, ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerve roots. Acupuncture is one possible treatment for this type of injury.
Hyperextension of the neck upon impact results in a number of capillaries and tissue fibres being broken, which, if left alone, can cause scar tissue development. In many cases, abnormalities can not be viewed upon x-ray and there is no visible injury. As a result, the seriousness of an injury is often initially overlooked.
In addition to the use of IMS (intramuscular stimulation), which can aid in releasing sore and tight trigger points which have restricted your range of motion, the application of traditional acupuncture can be beneficial in resorting circulation, eliminating inflammation and speed the healing process - shortening your recovery time and reducing your pain.
Treatment according to TCM:
As with any injury type disorder, treatment expands past the 'main meridians' and utilizes other aspects of the meridians, namely the musculo-tendino meridians. Specific muscle groups correspond the specific meridians and then to specific points which control these areas of the body. Using these zones, the body is divided into six distinct segments - 3 of these zones are on the head, neck, back, and upper shoulders (yangming, shaoyang, and taiyang). Symptoms manifest in specific ways when there are lesions or injury to a musculo-tendinous meridian zone. Yangming Type (Unable to turn the neck), Shaoyang type (Uncomfortably holding the neck with pulling sensation when turning the neck) and Taiyang type (tightness and spasm of the muscles in the neck) which is very important for choosing acupoints during the treatment.
Acupuncture treatment related to differentiation of patterns
a. Qi Stagnation Type
Manifestations: Moving pain around neck, shoulder and upper back; soreness and heaviness in the upper extremities, aggravated from cold and alleviated from the heat; neck rigidity and muscle in tension; limited range of motion; feelings of by anxiety and panic. Patients usually present a slight purple tongue with wiry pulse.
Acupoints selection: Corresponding cervical Jiaji (especially on C 5-6 and C 6-7 Jiaji because of whiplash pivoting at the C5 to C6 level during accident), Fengchi (GB 20), Tianzhu (BL 10), Bingfeng (SI 12), Jianwaishu (SI 14), Jianzhongshu (SI 15), Hegu (LI 4), Lieque (LU 7). After needle insertion with Qi arrival, hold an ignited moxa stick toward needle's tail for 1 minute each or apply the TDP lamp. Add Yingtang (Ex.) and Shenmen (HT 7) for anxiety and panic, and Wangu (GB 12) for dizziness.
b. Blood Stasis Type
Manifestations: Stabbing and burning pain in the neck and upper extremity; pain in a fixed location, aggravated at night, intense pain upon pressure; numbness or tingling sensation in the fingers; headache and vertigo. Patients usually present a dark and purple tongue with blue ecchymosis at the side, with a wiry or choppy pulse.
Acupoints selection: Corresponding Cervical Jiaji (especially C 5-6, C 6-7 Jiaji), Fengchi (GB 20), Tianzhu (BL 10), Dazhui (GV 14), Jianjin (GB 21), Geshu (BL 17), Hegu (LI 4), Houxi (SI 3), Baxie (Ex.). For the patient with severe pain, use Tui Na manipulation for few minutes in advance or apply correspondent auricular points first. After acupuncture treatment, we can also apply seven-star needles plus cupping in the local area.
a. Turbid Phlegm Blockage Type
Manifestations: History of whiplash injury, nape and neck stiffness and pulling sensation, accompanied by upper extremity heaviness; numbness in the finger tips; limited range of motion in the neck, aggravated with humidity and raining days, dizziness and nausea. Patients usually present a thick and sticky coating on the tongue with a slippery pulse.
Acupoint selections: Corresponding cervical Jiaji, Jianyu (LI 15), Shousanli (LI 10), Hegu (LI 4), Neiguan (PC 6), Zhongwan (CV 12), Pishu (BL 20), Sanjiaoshu (BL 22), Fenglong (ST 40), Sanyijiao (SP 6) plus local moving cupping after needling treatment.
b. Liver & Kidney Insufficiency Type
Manifestations: History of whiplash injury; soreness and weakness in the neck; tinnitus, vertigo, blurring vision; hot flashing, dry throat, insomnia, dream-disturbed sleeping, irritability, inability to sit or stand for long time; soreness in the waist and in the knee joint; finger numbness; and spasm and tightness in the extremities. Patients usually present a small tongue that is red or crimson proper, less coating; and a wiry and thready or wiry and rapid pulse.
Acupoints selection: Corresponding cervical Jiaji (Ex.), Jianjin (GB 21), Tianzong (SI 11), Sidu (SJ 9), Zhigou (SJ 6), Baxie (Ex.), Geshu (BL 17), Ganshu (BL 18), Shenshu (BL 23), Shenmai (BL 62), Xuanzhong (GB 39), Sanyinjiao (SP 6). Add Sishencong (Ex.) for vertigo and Yanglingquan (GB 34) for spasm and tightness of extremities.
c. Qi & Blood Deficiency Type
Manifestations: History of whiplash injury; soreness and achiness in the neck region, lingering for long time, accompanied by tiredness and fatigue; pale complexion; soft or inaudible speech; poor appetite; loose stool. Patients usually present a pale tongue color with thin coating, and a deep and thready pulse.
Acupoints selection: Corresponding Cervical Jiaji (Ex.), Jianyu (LI 15), Jianliao (SJ 14), Quchi (LI 11), Shousanli (LI 10), Hegu (LI 4), Guanyuan (CV 4), Qihai (CV 6), Zusanli (ST 36), Sanyinjiao (SP 6) with moxibustion.
3) Acupuncture treatment related to local symptoms
a. Neck pain:
• Pain of the lateral part of vertebra: Tianzhu (BL 10)
• Pain due to the injuries of the supraspinous and interspnous ligament: Shuigou (GV 26) or Houxi (SI 3) (usually combined with patient passive movement while applying needle techniques on these points)
• Pain due to spasm of levator scapular: Jianwaishu (SI 15) and Quyuan (SI 13)
• Pain due to spasm of the trapezes: Jianjin (GB 21), Tianliao (SJ 15) and Xinshu (BL 15)
• Pain due to spasm of SCM: Fengchi (GB 20), Futu (LI 18) and Hegu (LI 4)
• Resistance to cervical extension/flexion: Dazhu (BL 11) and Houxi (SI 3)
• General stiffness: Fengchi (GB 20) and Jianwaishu (SI 15)
b. Shoulder pain:
• Referred pain in the scapular area: Jugu (LI 16)
• Pain in the anterior part: Jianyu (LI 15)
• Pain in the lateral part: Jianliao (SJ 14)
• Pain in the posterior part: Naoshu (SI 10)
• Difficulty in raising the arm: Binao (LI 14)
• Occipital headache: Select Yuzhen (BL 9), Kunlun (BL 60)
• Temporal or migraine headache: Shuigu (GB 8), Zulinqi (GB 41)
• Frontal headache: Yangbai (GB 14), Hegu (LI 4)
d. TMJ: If a patient complains uncomforted or pain around the temporo-mandibular joint, Xiaguan (ST 7) and Ermen (SJ 21) should be added.
Frozen shoulder, otherwise known as adhesive capsulitis, occurs mainly in people who have recently injured their shoulder but can occur without any specific cause. Initially, the patient would feel his shoulder to feel very sore and is easily aggravated with sudden movements. Eventually, pain will reduce and the shoulder will increasingly begin to 'freeze' or hard to move. Acupuncture can effectively eliminate shoulder pain and help restore proper range of motion. According to studies, using acupuncture and range of motion exercises increase shoulder movement by 40-90%.
Sarah Jenkins, R.Ac, Dip.TCM - Acupuncture in Kelowna -www.acupunctureinkelowna.com
1100 Lawrence Ave. Kelowna, BC V1Y6X2250-860-6295