Chronic pain, whether from a pinched nerve, sciatica, arthritis or other conditions can be very frustrating for the sufferer. It is often difficult to treat nerve pain with traditional medications as nerve pain does not respond well to prescription pain relievers, including narcotics.
Here at One Essence Healing. we treat a range of pain-related conditions, including:
- Arthritis & Joint Pain
- Back Pain
- Bursitis & Tendonitis
- Facial (Bell’s) Palsy, first 3-6 months
- Headaches & Migraine
- Intercostal Neuralgia
- Meniere’s Disease
- Neck Pain
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Shoulder Pain, Frozen Shoulder
- Sports Injuries, Tennis Elbow
- Stroke & Paralysis
- TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder)
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
Any time there is pain in the body, you have sensory nerves which are firing and you might or might not have a structural problem causing the sensory dysfunction. In most cases chronic pain has no structural cause. The problem with most doctors who are not well versed in the field of neurology is their immediate assumption that if you have pain, there must be a structural reason for the pain. In other words, there must be some form of structure, either bone, soft tissue, disc or some object actually pushing on the sensory nerve, causing it to continuously fire. This assumption is not true.
Actually, in most cases of chronic pain, there are no structural reasons for the pain at all. Yes, your back can look like a corkscrew, but the neural impingement that your doctor is telling you about is inferred from a radiology report. An MRI or X-ray cannot see a nerve. Consequently the medical profession is assuming, based on their idealized knowledge of anatomy, that your pain has to have a structural cause. However, in most cases the sensory nerves are swollen and firing on their own with nothing pushing on them.
In order for the brain to register pain, there has to be two types of neural signals hitting the brain at about the same time. The first signal is from the sensory nerve or nerves themselves. The second is from the proprioceptive nerves which are also firing right next to the sensory nerves. The proprioceptive nerves tell the brain where your pain is emanating from. If everything is working properly, the brain will release a torrent of what are called enkephalins. These chemicals are the body’s natural pain killers, and they plug up the pain receptor sites in the brain, all along the spine, and on the the capillary beds where you feel the pain. They stop the chronic pain and allow the body to return to normal function.
Obviously, with those patients who suffer from chronic discomfort, this mechanism is no longer working. There are many reasons the body’s natural pain-relieving mechanism is not working. However, the number one cause appears to be a chronic signal strength problem in the proprioceptive neural tissue. If the neural threshold level (signal strength) is too low, the brain will not know exactly where to release the enkaphalins and thus the pain continues. Acupuncture will raise the signal strength on the proprioceptive pathway and the result is a sudden and dramatic relief from pain. For this reason, we can treat an incredibly wide variety of pain problems (see the list above).
This technique does have its own problems when a patient’s pain is caused by a structural problem. In this case, there is actual tissue pushing directly on a sensory nerve or group of nerves. Jumping the signal strength on the proprioceptive pathway alone will not solve this type of problem. These patients usually need more invasive procedures, such as surgery.
Back Pain and/or Sciatica
Back pain, whether caused by chronic sciatica, a bulging disc, or arthritis is very painful and can be disabling. A person suffering from sciatica has an inflamed sciatic nerve. This nerve starts roughly at the base of the spine, travels down the back of the leg and then stops in your foot. Sciatic pain is difficult to treat because nerve pain does not respond well to painkillers. Sciatica can cause severe, stabbing pain and can make the patient cry out when sudden movements are made.
Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system and allowing for the body to regain balance. There are many scientific studies on acupuncture and the results are conclusive, that acupuncture is effective in relieving certain kinds of pain.
There are also other ways to relieve back pain without medication. These include physical therapy, and a progressive exercise program that uses both stretching and balance techniques. Back pain may not be completely relieved by exercise or physical therapy alone and that is when alternative treatments become useful. Strengthening the stomach muscles through exercise is a specific way to increase back strength and improve the overall functioning of the low back.
Shoulder pain is another difficult to treat illness because of the complexity of the shoulder joint. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint, attached together by ligaments and protected by cartilage. If there is ligament damage or the cartilage has worn down, the joint will hurt when it is used. There is no significant way to stop shoulder pain that is caused by worn cartilage without surgery. Acupuncture may help you keep pain at bay while you wait for a surgical procedure.
Arthritis pain can be felt anywhere in the body where there is a joint, therefore, arthritis pain can be anywhere in the body. Arthritis can be widespread or it can be concentrated in a knee, low back, or shoulder. Arthritis is a very common health ailment for the general public and with early management, arthritis pain does not have to be disabling. You can live with arthritis for a long time without pain if you make changes in your lifestyle that include alternative therapies.
Those that suffer from arthritis will likely find relief from acupuncture treatments because acupuncture treats the whole body and promotes overall wellness. Arthritis sufferers likely have arthritis in more than one place and analgesics only help for so long.
Chronic, low grade pain can lead to a decrease in activity and a lack of enjoyment in activities because the pain is just too much to deal with. People that suffer from chronic pain are more prone to depression because they are no longer able to do things that they once enjoyed. They may suffer loneliness and feel that they are suffering alone.