Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Q's for Dr. Duckworth: Aches and Pains


How would acupuncture treat a specific ache or pain? For example, I've developed a sore shoulder and upper back recently, from doing some repetitive work one afternoon. Is acupuncture as effective or useful as chiropractic or a massage in knocking down the pain level from this minor, quick "injury" of sorts. Thanks much!



Dear Franklin,

Excuse my long-windedness but your question requires such a response. First, in answering, I am speaking from the point of view of the health care provided at Natural Life Therapy Clinic. I seldom address genertic acupuncture questions because....to start, as you know, every medical doctor has a MD license. The physician may be a peditrician, dermatologist, ob/gyn, internist, psychiatrist, surgeon, oncologist but they all have the same license. They may have gone to a great school or not so great, they might have graduated at the head of their class...maybe not but the license is the same. For similiar reasons, I am unable to address the capacity of acupuncture practitioners across the board.

In Japanese Meridian Therapy, we treat Hyo-ji ho (symptom condition) and Hon-ji ho (energetic/causative condition) but our focus is causative factors. For example, your sore back and shoulder "from doing some repetitive work one afternoon" is a symptom but since many people do some repetitive work without developing problems, my interest as a physician is understanding from an energetic point of view what imbalance allowed this problem to arise. Therefore, I will treat the whole body dynamic so that healing can take place regardless of the symptom. Yes, I treat symptoms also but I want the issue to go away and not come back. Oriental Medicine has a 3,000 clinical history so there has developed quite a repertoire of point usage and point combinations that are used for all types of symptoms (even treating back/shoulder pain on the legs!), so there is much that can be done.

Tight muscles could benefit from a good massage; if nothing else, massage is relaxing and that's always helpful. And if you are a basically healthy person with a little muscular dysfunction from one time over-use, massage may be all you need. Chiropractic is useful if you have an acute traumatic verebrae misalignment but chiropractic is a bio-medical based therapy and only (like modern medcine) addresses symptoms. Repetitive motion is a muscular issue, not a skeletal issue. What is needed is to guide the body away from tension and contractions - heat and meridian therapy/acupuncture.

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