Advanced Needle Techniques
No one has more experience in therapeutic needling of the human body than the Chinese. Others have tried their hand at it, but no one has caught up to their multi-millennial advantage. The experts reside in the Orient. If you want to excel in this art, train with them.
This is not to say that impressive needling therapies have not been developed outside the Orient. To the contrary, a handful of little known therapies developed by 20th century Western doctors are brilliant contributions to advanced health care. Nonetheless, the two best known of these — prolotherapy and trigger point injections — are unrecognized and rarely practiced in mainstream conventional medicine.
Prolotherapy (also known as Regenerative Injection Therapy and Proliferative Injection Therapy) is a remarkably effective injection technique which initiates new growth and strengthening of connective tissue (tendons and ligaments), as well as articular cartilage. Many pain syndromes are the result of weakness or overly lax connections in joints or muscle attachments to bones. But no amount of strength training makes an improvement in connective tissue strength, so prolotherapy is of vital importance in the treatment of such painful conditions.
Likewise, it often provides a far better option than knee or hip replacement by regenerating and repairing articular cartilage — even when your orthopedic surgeon pulls his ace card and declares the joint “bone on bone”.
Trigger point injections provide rapid relief from pain which originates from a strand of muscle which is continually in spasm. The ‘heart’ of this spasm is a ‘trigger point’. When the trigger point is released through injection, the muscle strand relaxes, and the pain can be resolved very rapidly. I can’t tell you how often a client comes to me with ‘joint’ pain and a diagnosis of ‘arthritis’. My diagnosis is invariably different, and pain is resolved through the elimination of trigger points.
Many times, when a client has overly lax connective tissue — a job thought suitable for prolotherapy — the actual pain is being produced by muscles in spasm from attempting to do the job that connective tissue is no longer capable of doing — maintaining the joint’s integrity. So trigger point therapy must be done alongside prolotherapy for the best effect to be achieved.
Ironically, although both of these techniques were advanced in 20th century America, principles of both of these modalities have been contained within Oriental Medicine for millennia, but the advent of hollow needles to inject therapeutic substances into precise targets magnifies the technique’s efficacy considerably.
Incidentally, cortisone does not qualify as one of those therapeutic substances — it’s a bandaid solution of short duration with long term drawbacks.
Getting to the Heart of the Problem
Even more importantly, Oriental Medicine excels at diagnosing and correcting the dietary and lifestyle choices which underly and facilitate the evolution of such conditions. For instance, sugar and other simple carbohydrates are murder on connective tissue. To expect prolotherapy to work its wonders, when a client refuses to give up health suppressing habits, is unrealistic.
Acupuncture, prolotherapy, and trigger point injections each play their ideal role in the treatment of pain. The two modern techniques offer fast track options, but there are many times when acupuncture is more appropriate, if it is correctly administered. These nuances must be understood by your physician.
Finding Competent Guidance
& An Accurate Diagnosis
Medical misinformation, both intentional and unintentional, is frighteningly rampant on the web. This is especially alarming since so many individuals seek medical guidance on the web and base important decisions on what they find there.
Nowhere have I seen this so thoroughly revealed as in a search for the term “prolotherapy”. Even Wikipedia’s discourse on the subject is full of errors, poorly written, and bounces back and forth from one bias to another. Web pages of practitioners of the technique were similarly scary.
So, when seeking relief from pain, consider the advantages of a doctor who is fluent in all the heavy hitters of pain management: acupuncture, trigger point injections, and prolotherapy. Such a practitioner will most likely be proficient at…
- Making an accurate diagnosis of the pain mechanism;
- Choosing the appropriate modality or a combination of modalities to achieve the most satisfactory results;
- Easily flowing from one modality to another as required by changes during treatment;
- Utilizing the needle skills of a two thousand year old tradition;
- Providing a broad range of clinical experience, rather than relying on conventional practices. For instance, I find that prolotherapy’s effects progress much more quickly when administered weekly, rather than every four to six weeks, as studies suggest.
Additionally, choose someone whose practice is focused on accurate diagnosis and correction of the origin of these problems:
- Why have you developed lax connective tissue?
- Does your body reflect other indications of poor immune function?
- Could your sacroiliac joint pain be complicated by lax connective tissue at the pubic symphysis?
- What is behind the development of all these trigger points?
- Are trigger points the only sign of systemic inflammation in your body?
- Is your problem really a result of old age? Old age doesn’t create pain. Poor choices create pain.
Most often, pain syndromes are only the signs and symptoms of imbalances which, if left untreated, will cause bigger problems down the road. And direct treatment of the pain is unlikely be as successful if these issues are left ignored.
Revisiting Earlier Contemplations
[Lately I’ve had the unexpected pleasure of being shown articles, such as the one above, which I had completely forgotten were ever written. This one was discovered buried in the depths of my web site, FutureMedicineNow.com, and it inspired me to share it here as a worthwhile contemplation for those seeking relief from unresolved and unexplained pain.
I’ve recognized for some time the unfortunate separation between the Contemplations at this site and my web site. Reconciling this unintended phenomenon is on my list. A completely new web site will embody both, as an integrated whole. But probably not before the publication of Breakfast Like an Emperor.
Life is exceedingly short, isn’t it?]
Most Recent Contemplation: Izanami Redux
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