For over two thousands years Chinese medicine was primarily an agrarian medicine that helped farmers, laborers and soldiers with their day-to-day problems. Many of these problems involved injuries. While no one in ancient China spent nine hours a day typing at a computer, many spent that amount of time or more bent over working their crops and picking up heavy loads. Many soldiers had injuries from their military training and warfare, while a great deal of farmers and tradesmen had injuries from working with dangerous equipment or animals.Today, close to half of the patients that come to see me do so because of pain and injuries, some of whom are in very serious pain. In the fall and winter of 2017 alone I had three separate cases of patients who came to me after going to the emergency room for back pain. Some patients come because of old problems that flared back up, while others come because they are dealing with very new injuries. In all of these cases I was able to take the experience and skills developed through Chinese medicine over the centuries to help them.
Acupuncture and bodywork are the fastest and most remarkable approaches to injuries and pain that I have at my disposal. In all three cases I mentioned above where patients came to see me after going to the emergency room for unbearable back pain I was able to significantly reduce their discomfort using just one needle. The keys to being able to do this are knowledge and precision. Chinese medicine gives us the knowledge of the nature of pain and injuries. It shows us where to look beyond the place that hurts. You can think of it like a road map to how your body moves and where blockages can occur to cause pain. I often use I-495 and Route 270 as a metaphor: If there is an accident blocking part of the road on 270, we might experience the backup deep into 495 as traffic builds up. We could feel the “pain” waiting in our car on 495, but the problem is the accident on Route 270. By removing the accident and blockage on 270 we free the traffic and remove the pain on the Beltway. While modern medicine typically would only address the backup on 495, Chinese medicine gives us the knowledge of where to look for the real problem. Combining this knowledge with the precision I have developed from skill and experience, pain and injuries can be healed at surprising rates.
Chinese herbs are an integral part to healing quickly from injuries and reducing pain and can be used in a variety of ways. There are herbs that are more effective for neck pain and herbs to address lower back and leg pain; there are herbs for dull, aching pain and herbs for sharp and stabbing pain. In Chinese herbalism the nature of the injury is also taken into account as well as the person. An older 235-pound man with achy knee pain that worsens when it rains wouldn’t be treated the same as an athletic young woman with chronic neck pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. Each patient receives a customized herbal formula that is targeted and directed to their specific needs.