Articles in Category: General Health

Acupuncture

Written by Richard McMahon, BSc (Acupunture), Dip Remedial Massage on Monday, 03 July 2017. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture

Acupuncture

By Richard McMahon

BHSc (Acupuncture), Dip Remedial Massage

 

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a therapy that has been an integral part of the Chinese Medical Tradition for over 2500 years making its way to the west in the early 70's. Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine, single use needles into specific points in the body with the aim of increasing the natural healing capacity of the body and reducing pain.

 

Do the Needles Hurt?

Patients’ sensitivity is extremely varied but most people do not find Acupuncture to be especially painful. Once the needles are in place most patients find they feel deeply relaxed and calm. However, these treatments are not weak, and in order for a sense of pain relief to occur post treatment, some sensation will be felt. Sometimes treatments are uncomfortable but the idea is to get a good outcome, rather than being specifically gentle and potentially not get a specific result.

 

Are there any Side Effects to Acupuncture?

The most common side effects of Acupuncture are deep relaxation and drowsiness. However small amounts of bruising can occur occasionally, aching around a tight muscle that has been treated is common in sensitive patients, similar to a deep remedial massage which can last for up to 24 hours, and extremely rarely a patient may feel faint and light headed if they are sensitive and haven't eaten anything that day.

 

Can I Benefit from Acupuncture Even If I Don't Have Reason to Get Medical Treatment?

Acupuncture has a strong regulating effect on the body and nervous system and can be useful in reducing stress and encouraging better rest and recuperation. Overall, Acupuncture has the potential to create a positive outcome for different conditions.

 

How Long Will It Take to Recover?

Most patients are very relaxed and sleepy after treatment so intense activity shouldn't be scheduled immediately following treatment. If treatment was for specific injuries or strong muscle tension, it is best to rest after treatment and the area can be achy for up to 24 hours in sensitive people. The patient should expect to be sore the day after treatment however relief should be felt the following day. The acupuncturist is interested in the response the patient is feeling a couple of days after treatment rather than the immediate 24 hour response, often if the acupuncturist is interacting with the problem then a reaction is most likely going to occur, if a patient has a more reactive system they may be sore for a couple of days, but if that means that in a week the patient is on the road to recovery then that's a good outcome from treatment. All of these effects are temporary and usually not perceived as an issue for patients.

 

How Many Visits Will I Need?

It totally depends on the patient and is adjusted case by case. This relies heavily on how much a patient is willing to do as homework e.g. stretching, diet and sleep and how much stress they have in their lives.  

 

Do You Use Herbs?

It is preferable to combine Chinese herbal therapy with Acupuncture when treating internal conditions such as digestive issues, sleep disturbance, menstrual irregularities etc. Herbal treatment aids in healing of injuries but usually external herbal formulas such as liniments or soaks are used in the West.

 

Do You Use the Heat Moxibustion?

Moxibustion is a fantastic therapy but due to smell/smoke I only use it when really necessary such as conditions of strong fatigue or when the patient has strong sensitivity to cold or strong pain that is worse in cold or damp weather.

 

Is It Similar to Getting an Injection?

Acupuncture needles are extremely thin so are usually much more comfortable than the larger needles used for injections.

 

Do You Use the Electrical Devices?

Electrical stimulation can be used to enhance treatment especially if the condition involves swelling e.g. chronic knee injuries or bursitis of the hip.

 

What Are the Known Conditions Treated by Acupuncture?

Musculoskeletal conditions treated include; lower back ache, knee pain, bursitis, tendonitis, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, muscle tension, arthritis, sciatic, joint pain, sporting injuries.

Digestive conditions treated include; heartburn, diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal bloating or pain and ulcers.

The respiratory system can have beneficial effects from Acupuncture; these include the common cold, asthma, sinusitis, bronchitis, chronic cough, low immune system.

Acupuncture can also help with women suffering from menstrual cramps/pain, irregularity, abnormal bleeding and menopausal symptoms.

Cardiovascular problems can also be treated by the use of Acupuncture; these include patients with high or low blood pressure, fluid retention, chest pain poor circulation, muscle cramps, stress, insomnia, withdrawal from medication or drugs, headaches, migraines, facial and inter-costal neuralgia, some paralysis conditions, post stroke recovery, fatigue, chronic pain, post-op recovery.

What Should I Expect on My First Acupuncture Visit?

When you first attend our clinic for treatment you will be asked to fill out a detailed form about your general health and the history of the complaint that you would like treated. It is important that you fill out the whole form even if you feel the questions don't relate specifically to the condition you would like worked on. This questionnaire assists in understanding the unique state of your body so that we can address any underlying imbalances that may be contributing to your condition.

 

Your therapist will then ask a series of questions to further understand your unique constitutional make up. Your pulse will be taken and your therapist may need to perform some abdominal palpation to obtain further details about the state of the body.

 

Sports medicine assessment techniques will now be utilized if you are attending the clinic for a musculoskeletal complaint.

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

on Thursday, 03 March 2016. Posted in General Health

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)

By Jakob van Vlijmen

M Chiro, DC

 

Most of us have been troubled by a tingling sensation in our hands when we wake up, usually it’s caused by lying awkwardly and can be easily fixed by shaking the hand. However when you have carpal tunnel, you'll be plagued by the tingling much more frequently during all sort of activities. The tingling sensation can even be accompanied with loss of strength in the hands making it tremendously difficult to hold objects.

 

De Carpal Tunnel is situated on the inside of the wrist where the hand transitions into the forearm. The tunnel is made up of 8 carpal bones in a U shape. On top of which the fascial band is transversely strung across. Through this tunnel multiple arteries, tendons and a single nerve run into the hand.  

 

In CTS this nerve has become compressed because the space in the tunnel has diminished. Due to this compression the blood supply to the nerve is compromised impairing normal function. There are many different things that can cause the space to be diminished such as the following:

Ø  Overuse of the wrist

Ø  Broken carpal bones

Ø  Hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause

Ø  Fluid retention

Ø  Osteoarthritis

Ø  Rheumatoid Arthritis

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms are comparable to those of a ''sleeping foot'' which is also caused by a compressed nerve. The most common symptoms are:

Ø  Pain, tingling or a numbness in the hand

Ø  Being woken at night by these tingling sensations, which are then relieved by shaking the hand

Ø  Loss of strength in the hand

Ø  Morning stiffness and clumsiness of the hands

Ø  Use of the hands usually increases the symptoms

Ø  Pain in the neck, shoulder, elbows, forearm or wrist.

 

The nerve that eventually travels through the carpal tunnel starts off in the neck and runs through the shoulder, upper arm, elbow, and fore arm in to the hand. It is possible for the nerve to be compressed at multiple levels. Because of a possible compression higher up in the body, the nerve function is diminished after which becomes more susceptible to injury further down the track. So a relatively small compression at the Carpal Tunnel might very quickly give the fore mentioned symptoms.

 

The Chiropractor will therefore need to assess the whole length of the nerve to make sure it is not compromised at any other levels. This way the root of the problem will be tackled and recovery can be swift and complete.

 

Tips

Bad posture can lead to a compressed nerve. Together with the chiropractor you can address possible postural faults and diminish the change of CTS.

Degenerative Low Back Pain

Written by Don Williams BSc, MChiro, ICSSD. on Wednesday, 23 September 2015. Posted in General Health, Ergonomics

Degenerative Low Back Pain

   By Don Williams

B.Sc., M.Chiro., ICSSD., PG Dip. NMS Rehabilitation,

Cert. DNS. Memb: CAA. FICS, CEA.

 

Low back pain is an extremely common problem impacting on a huge proportion of our population.

Statistics suggest that 80% of society will suffer back pain in their lives and in any given year, almost 60% of the working population will miss at least 1 day of work due to back pain.

 

But what causes back pain and how do we address it?

 

There are many different structures within our back, neck and body which can cause pain, including; the intervertebral disc, muscles, ligaments and facet (or zygopophyseal) joints. These are simply the basic musculoskeletal structures, however, sometimes back pain can be referred from internal organs, some common culprits are; uterine fibroids in females, bowel obstructions, kidney infections, aortic aneurysms, gall stones, stomach ulcers and malignancies or cancers.

 

Obviously, it is important when you have back pain to have it thoroughly assessed to identify whether it is a musculoskeletal complaint or whether it is a referred problem or something more sinister.

 

If the problem is musculoskeletal then there may be a range of treatment options available; Including Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Remedial Massage, Exercise or Physiotherapy. Some people will find heat or ice may help and some people will respond to pharmaceuticals. In fact, if you believe some of the advertisements on Television (with celebrity swimmers posing as experts) you could be forgiven for thinking that drugs will in fact cure that back pain, rather than the reality of which they will mask the pain until the body has recovered.

 

Certain presentations or complaints seem to respond well to different intervention strategies.

What works for one person will not always work for the next person. Good practitioners should have a range of available strategies to apply based on the response of the patient.

 

We sometimes have patients present to our clinic who have been told that they have “Arthritis”, or a “Degenerative Back” and they will have to live with it, however rarely is back pain this simple. We know that in clinical presentations, the amount or level of degeneration is not well correlated with the amount of back pain people experience. This simply means, sometimes people have awful degeneration and no pain and sometimes people have great xrays with no degeneration and lots of pain. If you have been given a diagnosis of, “it is arthritis and you will have to live with it”, then seek a second opinion. You may be able to have treatment which will significantly reduce or even eliminate your pain.

 

 Degenerative Spine         Healthy Spine

                            Degenerative Spine                                                            Healthy Spine

 

There are a number of different types of arthritis which can influence or affect the spine, broadly categorised into inflammatory arthritis (such as Rheumatoid Arthritis) and Degenerative arthritis.

Inflammatory arthritis can be quite problematic. Although the disease process is not directly treatable my musculoskeletal practitioners, the normal mechanical pain and dysfunction can still be treated.

Degenerative arthritis is the process in which wear and tear over a period of time causes the joints to degenerate. This can result in stiffness or a reduction in the range of motion.  This will often respond quite well to treatment. The biggest question generally surrounds the issue of whether the degeneration has actually been there for a period of time and the pain is as a result of an overload or injury which has triggered the reaction or whether the body has hit a tipping point in which the degeneration has built up to a degree that the body is not going to tolerate it anymore.

 

Everyone starts to degenerate when they reach adulthood. Essentially there is an age correlated expectation for the amount of degeneration that we have. Issue may arise when we degenerate more quickly than expected, or when this degenerative change starts to impact on the nerve and spinal cord. The interesting thing about degenerative compression of the nerves is that the signs and symptoms are somewhat different than those we see from an abrupt episode of compression or a disc injury. This is thought to be as a result of the body’s innate ability to adapt to change and degeneration.

 

Generally speaking, the more degeneration is present, the more conservative treatment is. Just because you have advanced degenerative change does not mean you cannot have conservative treatment. Skilled practitioners will always assess your presentation and will apply treatment that takes your history and presentation into account.  People with significant degeneration may be contraindicated for certain treatment methods, which will normally be discussed at the time of treatment.

The unfortunate circumstance is that people who don’t respond well or not at all often face quite aggressive intervention and surgery, which is of course a last resort when all else has failed.

 

If you have been told that you have “arthritis”, or “spinal degeneration”, then all is not necessarily lost, they may still be conservative strategies that work for you.