In the interview above, I talk with Stephanie Stephens from Mind Your Body about ways to control pain while avoiding surgery and pills. If you’re wondering what viscosupplementation is, or how radio frequency ablation works you’ll find the video helpful. Additional topics include: epidurals, TENS unit, pain pumps, and nerve/facet blocks.
As I’ve mentioned several times in my blog and in my videos before, acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and withstood the test of time, but the traditional medicine community turns a blind eye towards the eastern approach to acupuncture. In this article written by BeckerSorthopedicAndSpine.com, author Abby Callard quotes me along with Christian Nix, an acupuncturist in Chicago, about the utility of acupuncture. Christian Nix explains how many aren’t educated in philosophy and practice of acupuncture and its place in the medical industry. I always recommend acupuncture to my patients due to its effectiveness, its low cost, and practicality. Below is an excerpt from the article:
Moshe Lewis, MD, SpineCare Medical Group, Daly City, Calif., and Pain Management and Rehabilitation, Redwood City, Calif., is an interventional pain management physician who employs acupuncture to help his chronic pain patients. He agrees that acupuncture has a place complementing interventional pain management procedures.
“Everything that we do in medicine is based on experience, data and clinical presentation,” he says. “I don’t want to say that acupuncture is going to work for everyone. However, on the flip side, I think that it has an important place in medicine and can be an effective treatment for several conditions.”
Acupuncture can be helpful with acute conditions such as epicondylitis, and it can also treat chronic conditions such as repetitive stress syndrome well, Dr. Moshe says. “Anyone who sits at a computer long enough is likely to encounter symptoms of repetitive stress syndrome or tendinitis,” he says.
This disorder generally presents with pain in the wrists and hands, and can cause achy muscles and even myofacial pain. Dr. Moshe says acupuncture works better with muscle disorders than bone disorders because the treatment can help to relax the muscles. Bones, discs and cartilage disorders are much harder to treat definitively. For example, an 80-year-old woman who has arthritis and is no longer walking straight will not be likely to improve her posture with acupuncture. It might alleviate the pain, but it won’t actually treat the problem, Dr. Moshe says. Therefore, acupuncture should always be customized for the appropriate patient and diagnosis where it is likely to be of benefit.
However, it’s the low cost of the treatment that has some insurance companies realizing the benefits of acupuncture, Dr. Moshe says. The cost is low, and patients want it. Insurance companies are beginning to cover it for some providers.
Podcast Interview length: 51 minutes
Yoga Journal estimates that Americans spend over $5 billion a year on yoga classes and products. And this should come as no surprise – yoga is credited with lifting moods, revitalizing sex and reducing stress. But a recent New York Times Magazine article focused on how yoga can also cause serious injury. We discuss the safe practice of yoga.
Relatively clear evidence emerged to suggest that t'ai chi is effective for fall prevention and improving psychological health and was associated with general health benefits for older people. t'ai chi is a practice that combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movements and is based on the Confucian and Buddhist belief that health is controlled by 2 opposing life forces, yin and yang. This is based on a recent extensive review of the literature by Myeong Soo Lee as reported in the May 16th British Journal of Sports Medicine.
However, t'ai chi seems to be ineffective for the symptomatic treatment of cancer and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Interestingly, a separate paper that was presented at the Royal College of Nursing’s research conference within the same week has found that T’ai Chi sessions may “help those with rheumatoid arthritis to gain increased self-efficacy and confidence through greater control over their mobility and condition within a supportive environment.”
It is also important to note that Tai Chi is only one form of Qi Gong. The various aspects of Qi Gong exercises can be even more beneficial for your health. T’ai Chi was developed hundreds of years ago in China as a series of graceful physical movements combined with deep breathing, and is now thought to be practiced by at least 2.5 million people around the world.
Osteopaths use a broad range of gentle hands-on techniques including soft tissue stretching, deep tactile pressure, and mobilization or manipulation of joints.
The philosophy of Osteopathy is what sets it apart from other medical disciplines. The key principles are based on all parts of the body functioning together in an integrated manner. If one part of the body is restricted, then the rest of the body must adapt and compensate for this, eventually leading to inflammation, pain, stiffness and other health conditions. When the body is free of restrictions in movement, Osteopathic treatment assists the body with pain minimization, reduced stress and greater mobility providing the body with the opportunity to heal itself.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine states that overall, studies have shown that spinal manipulation can provide mild-to-moderate relief from low-back pain and appears to be as effective as conventional medical treatments. In 2007 guidelines, the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society include spinal manipulation as one of several treatment options for practitioners to consider using when pain does not improve with self-care. Recent research into spinal manipulation for low-back pain has begun to look at the effects of different forms of manipulation, as well as treatment duration and frequency. Studies have found that spinal manipulation provides relief from low-back pain at least over the short term (i.e., up to 3 months), and that pain-relieving effects may continue for up to 1 year. Spinal manipulation is generally a safe treatment for low-back pain. Serious complications are very rare.
The best way to find a good osteopath is by asking for referrals from friends, doctors, or other health experts. Health food and supplement stores will often have advertising material from osteopaths and other holistic health practitioners, but the best way to locate a really good osteopathic doctor is by finding somebody who experienced great results with osteopathy – and finding out who she or he saw. On the web start with the American Osteopathic Association here, www.osteopathic.org
Meditation has long been touted as a holistic approach to pain relief. And studies show that long-time meditators can tolerate quite a bit of pain.
Now researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have found you don't have to be a lifelong Buddhist monk to pull it off. Novices were able to tame pain after just a few training sessions.
Sounds a bit mystical, we know, but researchers using a special type of brain imaging were also able to see changes in the brain activity of newbies. Their conclusion? "A little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation," Fadel Zeidan, a neuroscientist and the study's lead author, tells Shots. That finding's a first, Zeidan says.
By Moshe Lewis
Co-written by Mikel Davenport LAc
In Chinese medicine, there is a saying: where there is blockage there is pain, but where there is no blockage there is no pain. We know this to be true in western medicine, as well. When we are hurt, inflammation effectively blocks and redirects our body’s healing resources to the site of an injury or infection.
As a result, we often manipulate inflammation as a tool to bring about healing. For example, the orthopedic technique of prolotherapy requires injection of an irritant such as a sugar solution into a weak joint. This irritant induces inflammation, thus increasing the healing of nearby tendons and ligaments.
The traditional Chinese practice of acupuncture works in much the same way: it creates minute traumas along the skin’s surface to bring a beneficial inflammatory response. Acupuncture does more than simply irritate local tissue, though. By directing inflammation to areas that stimulate orthopedic trigger points and our neural pain sensors, the effect of each needle can bring widespread and lasting relief. In my own practice I’ve found acupuncture to be a boon to chronic pain sufferers.
My colleague and friend Dr Perry is offering is stress reduction classes again at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. It's an intensive 8-week course that helps people cope with physical and mental stress, and to reduce suffering from the conditions arising from stress. Read his statement below:
I am again offering a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class at Rainbow Medical in Palo Alto.
Curious? Maybe interested? Come to a free introductory class at my office on Saturday morning, February 5, 2011 from 9:30 until noon.
The class will begin the following Saturday, February 12, 2011, and will meet for 8 Saturdays from 9:30 until noon until April 9, 2011 (no class on March 12, 2011). The fee of $300 includes all materials (2 CD’s and a book).
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. developed MBSR in the 1980’s as a way to introduce the mindfulness concept, practices designed to cultivate mindfulness, and applications of mindfulness in reducing suffering. In his 1994 book, Wherever You Go There You Are, he gave a simple definition: “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
Since then, the teaching of MBSR has spread world wide, and hundreds if not thousands of research reports have revealed the power of these practices in relieving the suffering of those of us with all kinds of stress, including in particular chronic pain, anxiety, depression, autoimmune diseases, etc. Does anyone out there not have stress?
After studying with Renee Burgard, MFT and Bob Stahl, Ph.D., I began offering MBSR classes in my office several years ago. Our classes have been small, and the participants have been enthusiastic in describing the benefits.
(Read more at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation website)