Pain is the human sensation which informs us that an injury to the bodily system has occurred. It can be acute or chronic and vary in degrees of frequency and severity. The reasons for pain are innumerable but back pain, sports injuries, and repetitive movements are some of the most common. Emotional pain and physical pain can aggravate one another, so one shouldn’t overlook his or her level of stress or emotional health when it comes to addressing any types of pain. Nutrition is an essential factor in the recovering from pain. Some foods can help and others can make pain and inflammation much worse. Tao of Wellness uses the tools of Traditional Chinese Medicine to help relieve pain, including acupuncture, tuina bodywork, Chinese herbal medicine, nutritional therapy, and mind body exercise. Pain is one of the primary reasons people seek out medical help and these natural therapies have proven to be effective for many of our patients through the years.
How We Successfully Treat Pain
The pain receptors in our body are stimulated by chemical changes, inflammatory responses, and structural factors. From these pain receptors, pain signals are sent to the brain. The brain is truly where pain exists. Acupuncture is one of the safest and most effective ways to address pain via the brain-body connection and many will find their pain is diminished often after their first treatment. Pain-relieving endorphins released during acupuncture rival the strongest prescription analgesic drugs but without the side effects. After an acupuncture treatment these naturally-occurring chemicals are released and then block those pain receptors, allowing the brain to experience less pain as a result.
Back pain is one of the most common types of pain that we suffer from and it is frequently the top reason people go to the doctor or ask for sick leave from work. Four out of five people will experience back pain at least once in their lives. Sports injury is also a common cause. Other causes include poor posture, repetitive movement, and physical weakness due to lack of exercise and poor diet.
The doctors at Tao of Wellness would be happy to help you with your unique pain experience. During your initial consultation and evaluation we consider previous diagnoses given by other healthcare professionals. Our licensed practitioners study the history of your pain condition and the relieving and aggravating factors. We also review diagnostic imaging reports (X-Ray, MRI, CT, etc.) or reports of previous physical examinations. We talk to you, observe your body, palpate the painful areas, and determine the root cause of your pain. This allows us to design an individualized treatment protocol that reduces pain symptoms while addressing any underlying causes. Treatment modalities may include acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, nutritional therapy, tuina bodywork, mind body exercise, far infrared heat therapy, and others.
Our Customized Treatments for Overcoming Pain
Acupuncture points on the body are where nerves and blood vessels intersect. Stimulating these areas with acupuncture allows the body the opportunity to heal itself. Acupuncture sends signals that starts at the skin and then communicates to your brain through your network of nerves. The brain then releases powerful pain relieving neurochemicals such as endorphins, as well as stimulates an immune response to the area being treated. Pain is reduced, blood flow is improved, inflammation is reduced, and the body’s self-healing is therefore optimized. Learn more about acupuncture.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbs are prescribed in combination to construct a formula specific for the treatment of your pain. According to the patient’s specific pain type, different herbs are used that perform various functions synergistically with little or no side effects. Examples include corydalis and angelica, herbs that improve blood flow and block pain; and frankincense and myrrh, which reduce swelling and help heal tissue from inflammation and injury. Learn more about Chinese herbal medicine.
Tuina is a body therapy unique to Chinese medicine that utilizes acupressure, stretching, and gentle manipulation to quicken the body’s healing time, thus reducing pain. Tuina allows the practitioner to use much more of the body’s tissues to direct blood flow, and the pain-relieving substances within it, to the area needing help. Learn more about tuina.
Every patient receives nutritional guidance but when you receive a Nutritional Consultation dedicated to your specific needs our licensed practitioners guide you through a custom eating plan that reduces inflammation and nourishes the body for optimum healing. This is complete with meals and snacks based on your current eating habits but which also takes into consideration the specifics needed for pain reduction.
Different pain types require different supplementation. We have an array of tools to choose from including those to reduce inflammation and promote circulation such as fish oil, papain, bromelain, and turmeric. For joint pain, we might recommend the use of glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and type II collagen as therapeutic agents. Learn more about Nutritional Therapy.
Mind Body Exercise
Tao of Wellness has the expertise to guide our patients through meditative, rehabilitative exercises for pain reduction. This style of exercise cultivates balance, deep breathing and stress release, all of which aid in the healing process. These postures and movements are adaptable and accessible to all fitness levels. Learn more about tai chi and chi gong.
Chronic Pain Patient Success Stories
Back to Regular Hiking with Strong Legs
Bruce is 64 years old and complained of chronic knee and thigh pain. When not at his desk job, Bruce enjoys hiking and nature photography. However his pains have kept him from doing his exercise. Since starting his acupuncture regimen his pain has reduced substantially, his strength has increased, and his range of motion in his legs has improved. He’s also been instructed on proper posture when working at his desk and how to care for his legs before, during, and after each hike. Each time he goes for a strenuous hike he comes back for more treatment, responding well each time.
Overcoming Disk Degeneration in the Office and the Garden
Garett is 35 years old and came to us with sharp, burning pain starting in his back and radiating down his leg. It had flared up for a few weeks but had been with him for a couple years by this point. His MRI showed an intervertebral disc in his low back was degenerating and herniating or pinching the spinal cord, causing his pain. Garett was used to being active, doing lots of heavy lifting at work, and working in his garden. With the pain, his physical activities were compromised. We discussed and showed him methods of safe lifting and optimum body mechanics when doing physical work. His treatment plan consisted of 6 acupuncture treatments, twice per week for the first two weeks and once per week for the following two weeks. His treatment plan also consisted of herbal therapy, nutritional counseling, and the use of herbal topical on the affected areas. At the conclusion of his course of treatment Garett was very satisfied with his improvements. He had minimal discomfort, felt stronger, and became more productive at work and was back at his garden on the weekends.
Less Muscle Spasm Helped with Graduate School
Rachel is a 40-year-old woman who had chronic muscle spasm and pain in her neck, shoulders, and back regions. This was made worse by her recent increase in studying for an entrance exam to graduate school. She had been receiving physical therapy but was getting only temporary relief. Her orthopedist referred Rachel to our offices for treatment. Rachel completed 8 weeks of acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy designed to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and promote healing. Rachel reported consistent relief that was cumulative each week with each acupuncture treatment. With her pain level much improved, Rachel expressed that she was much more effective in her study and preparations.
Recovery from a Life of Spinal Stenosis
Tricia is 63 years old and has had severe pain in her neck, upper back, and lower back for a good deal of her life. The MRI confirmed Tricia had spinal stenosis which is a narrowing of her spinal canal, constricting her spinal cord. In addition, her intervertebral disks were bulging and compressing the spinal nerve roots. These and other factors likely developed over decades of working as a dentist with poor posture. Besides instructing her on ways to maintain better posture and improved ergonomics we also referred her to a physical therapist to help her strengthen her abdominal core and other muscles to further support her weak back. Tricia initially received acupuncture three times weekly for 3 months in her first course of treatment. This greatly reduced the severity and frequency of her pain, making her daily life much more manageable. For the second course of three months of treatment, Tricia came in once weekly and stabilized to the point where she could work and live with minimal discomfort. Now Tricia comes periodically for maintenance and preventative care.
Showing with Her Dog Despite Degenerative Arthritis
“I have severe degenerative arthritis. One leg is two inches shorter than the other and I have chronic severe pain. I’ve used acupuncture, and tuina bodywork with cupping. The treatments have enabled me to [run and] compete with my dog in the show ring which I never in a million years thought I’d be able to do with my chronic condition.”
— Laurie M.
Stephanie Sweat Out All Her Pain
Several years ago, Stephanie came into our office with acute pain in her neck, shoulders, elbows, knees, and back. At the outset she felt she had caught the flu with the usual accompanying body aches but instead of gradually fading away, her pain only grew as time went on. She felt increasing pain in her neck that would shift locations in the mornings to include her elbow or her knees. Stephanie saw her internist who initially advised pain relievers like Motrin and Advil. And when the pain got worse, he switched her to a prescription anti-inflammatory medication. Her pain did not get better and continued to shift from one joint to another. She struggled to cope with the pain for three weeks without any relief before she came to Tao of Wellness. After examining her we determined that Stephanie’s pain was caused by a pathogen that needed to be expelled. Her treatment plan consisted of acupuncture and cupping, along with vigorous tuina bodywork to stimulate energy, increase blood flow, and induce sweating to expel toxins. We also sent her home with a customized herbal formula to help support her immunity and fight off the invading pathogen that was the trigger of her arthritic pain. We asked her to take a hot bath with tonic oil. That night after the bath she sweated profusely, and per our instructions, she drank plenty of water to keep herself adequately hydrated. The very next morning her pain became drastically decreased. She returned for a follow-up treatment three days later and woke up the next morning with her pains completely subsided. It has not returned since.
Natural Healthcare for Pain
Tao of Wellness was established in 1976 as a resource to address pain conditions. We strive to support you in mind and body, and invite you to make an appointment for your health and wellbeing. It would be our pleasure to serve you.