Tag: chronic

Managing chronic pain with acupuncture – Kara’s story

Kara contacted me 10 days before she was about to start a new job, after 8 months of not working due to some serious and complex health conditions. Neurological pain is particularly difficult to treat and utterly debilitating.  In Kara’s case, her pain levels were pretty much off the charts and despite heavy medication, life was a real struggle. This inevitably affected her emotional health as well.

Kara has a chronic condition that needs regular management so that she can lead a fulfilling life; work, socialise, travel and have fun. So Kara comes every week, without fail, and is treated with acupuncture, TuiNa massage and cupping. Treatments significantly reduce her pain, keep her feeling balanced and support her general wellbeing. It is an investment in both time and money but she is committed to staying well. So much so that she hasn’t taken one day off work for illness.

 

Kara’s story:

I had a fully herniated disc (between C6 and C7) that caused paralysis of my right arm for 4 months when the disc crushed the nerve; this had to be surgically replaced with a disc implant.  6 weeks after recovering from that major spinal surgery, I developed an extremely rare form of shingles called Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which then took a turn for the worse when it spread to my spinal cord, entire central nervous system, and brain (this is typically fatal).  As my inner ear was affected by the shingles, in addition to excruciating pain I also experienced severe vertigo. In addition to this, I was offered my dream job, and was suffering from stress and anxiety about trying to start work when my body was going through so much and my pain levels were so high.

Choosing Peachy Acupuncture was the luckiest piece of fate I have ever been dealt by the Gods of Google; I rang Rita to see if there was any chance she could fit me in the following day for an emergency appointment, and was supremely impressed by her medical knowledge and very clear expertise during our conversation. Despite having multiple conditions that needed treatment, she knew so much about each and everything I brought up, it made it clear that she is exceptionally skilled.  I have seen other acupuncturists in the past, but have never felt as comfortable and confident in the person I was seeing as when I spoke with Rita.  And the first treatment did not disappoint – with wanting to sound like I am embellishing or exaggerating the effects of my treatment, it was genuinely life-changing.

I am genuinely at a loss as to how to express the life changing difference that Rita has made.  Before my first session with her, I was barely able to walk due to severe vertigo, and pain had crippled me.  I rarely left my bed, and was not able to work or socialise at all.  Tasks as simple as washing a dish or bathing were things that I truly struggled with every day due to my high pain levels, and I was sceptical that she would be able to help but thought ‘What have I got to lose?’  I had been to countless specialists on the NHS as well as privately, and had been on every form of medication to try and help with nerve pain, but nothing was working. I sat up at the end of the first session and my vertigo was gone; I have no idea how one session was able to do that, but I went home and genuinely cried tears of joy.

When cupping and tuina are combined with Rita’s acupuncture, I feel like I leave as a new person.  My pain is gone, my neck and back are free, I can move easily, and I cannot stress how much relief I feel from having my chronic, daily pain evaporate in just one short hour.  I have been put on every form of medication under the sun to try and help me with acute nerve pain and various medical complications, but this is the only thing that truly works.

Since then, I see Rita once a week for additional treatments and it is the only thing that keeps me going.  Despite starting a new job with so many physical ailments, she has made me feel a level of serene peace that I have never previously experienced; after a treatment, I feel connected to the world and like I can manage my life.  But the biggest improvement has been my pain levels.  Although I still experience pain, she has given me my life back.  I can leave my house, work, socialise, and actually enjoy being alive – I no longer live in blinding pain.

Rita’s clinic is such a wonderfully soothing place, I feel like I am visiting a spa run by a member of my family every time I stop by.

The best thing about Rita is that she does not believe in treating a condition, she treats the person.  She will meet with you, talk to you about your body, your life, your mental health, and then decide on the appropriate treatment(s) for you.  She really works against the idea that there is a ‘one-size-cures-all’ approach.  I appreciate this so much because it means that she truly listens to me and my body, and does what is in my best interest.

 

Kara Webster, Crouch End

Volunteer acupuncture clinic in Gujarat, India

Charpada acupuncture clinic – November 2016

Thanks to donations from friends, family and clients I was able to volunteer with World Medicine as an acupuncturist in rural Gujarat, India. Over a period of two weeks, I worked with four other acupuncturists and did 960 treatments in a multi-bed clinic environment.

Our patients were impoverished farm workers predominantly suffering from musculo-skeletal pain – neck, shoulder, back and knee problems were severe due to the heavy manual labour they did every day.

It was a fantastic experience and one I hope to repeat.

Read my blog here:

http://www.worldmedicine.org.uk/index.php/news-events/blog

Prolapsed discs, back pain and sciatica – Steve and Jacki’s stories

Steve’s Story

Early in 2016, Steve suffered a second prolapsed disc in his lower spine and decided to look for an alternative to medication and potential surgery (which he’d had the first time around) and to subdue the resulting sciatica.

He had a lot of pain in his lower back, nerve pain in the right buttock and severe cramp like feeling in his right calf. Sitting for any period of time was very uncomfortable as was walking any distance. He was advised by his GP to refrain from surgery as long as possible whilst remaining on very strong medication. Although he persisted with medication (some with risk of addiction) he did not want to rely on them so sought an alternative solution.

Steve found me by reading Jacki’s testimonial (below) so contacted me to arrange treatment.

 

Read about Steve’s experience:

One of the side effects of herniated discs are that the back muscles go into spasm. Treatment with Rita helped alleviate these spasms which had the added benefit of a more positive mental outlook too as it was the beginning of ‘winning’ against the pain. The actual sciatica was finally reduced to the point it no longer really affects me at all.

An intense batch of treatments certainly helped and for me the acupuncture and tuina were initially the most effective. I have also subsequently found that cupping is effective at keeping the muscle tension under control.

From the outset Rita made me fell very comfortable and relaxed. She has an extremely friendly personality and is very knowledgable about her practices and has a very interesting career story to where she is now. The treatment clinic is very comfortable, clean and airy. The equipment Rita uses is in excellent condition.

I was lucky enough to have found Rita’s practice lived up to the testimonial that I read that persuaded me to give it a chance. In a relatively short period, considering the condition, I am in a position of activity and movement I was prior to my disc herniating.

I would definitely recommend Rita to others. In fact recently I passed her details on to a friend at mine from my Tai Chi class.

 

Jacki’s Story

When I first heard from Jacki, she was concerned she wouldn’t be able to walk from her home to my clinic (a matter of a less than quarter of a mile). She was hunched over and in considerable pain. She had two prolapsed discs which meant she had severe back pain and sciatica which also travelled down the side of her leg. Like many clients with similar conditions, she was very concerned about getting the right treatment as the condition can easily be aggravated.

Conditions such as this often go through cycles of crises and then bearable, but still chronic pain. Treating Jacki involved managing the current crisis then finding the right balance of therapeutic modalities to support her recovery. In these cases, practitioners can’t ‘cure’ a prolapsed disc, but we can reduce pain and disability so that clients can function and enjoy life without invasive surgery.

Electro acupuncture, TuiNa massage, cupping and TokSen were all appropriate treatments and her recovery has been stable and long lasting. She continues to come for maintenance once a month to ensure her back is kept healthy.

 

Read about Jacki’s experience:

I contacted Rita because I wanted to avoid major back surgery for as long as possible, and she had a good local reputation. I had severe lower back pain and sciatica caused by prolapsed discs for some years which had been unresponsive to a number of other therapies.

Rita resolved the sciatica within two sessions and my back pain is very much improved. I’ve responded well to all the therapies Rita uses, each chosen for individual and current problems. She’s very professional and I’m delighted with the results.

I can now enjoy playing and looking after my two small grandsons which would have been impossible before Rita worked her magic! I would definitely recommend her.

 

Read more about sciatica:

http://peachyacupuncture.com/2015/01/28/sciatica-a-right-pain-in-ae/

Living With Chronic Pain – Steph’s Story

When I first met Steph she told me that she was suffering with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome-Hypermobility type, a painful and chronic condition I had never heard of. She also had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia, digestive issues & depression which appeared to be connected to the main condition. Although as acupuncturists we treat what we see, and diagnose according to traditional Chinese medicine, I did do some research about the condition and discovered that there was very little information about it, never mind treatments.

Steph was taking anywhere between 4 and 10 ibuprofen tablets every day. Her muscles and tendons were always inflamed and tight. Nevertheless she did a busy, full time job and by restricting her diet would manage her condition, both physical and emotional, as best she could.

Her first treatment was very difficult for her, as it is for many chronic patients. When you’re in pain, even a light touch hurts so she was particularly brave to seek treatment. However, her rapid improvement surprised us both.

Read about what Steph had to say:

The treatment  made all the difference, not only with treating specific trouble areas such as shoulder or lower back pain but in a general sense of wellbeing. I came to treatment in advance of a very busy & stressful time at work in the hope that I would be able to avoid a serious decline in my health during it. I could never have expected such quick and almost miraculous results. I have gone from taking 4-10 ibuprofen tablets a day to taking maybe 4 a week at most. I have even started running; something I didn’t think would be possible I also feel a lot calmer emotionally & mentally and more able to deal with stress.

Rita tailors each session to how I’m feeling that day and what kind of problems I’ve had during the week. She uses tuina, acupuncture and cupping (my favourite) depending on my needs. I feel totally safe with her and never worry that I’ll get hurt, which is something that has happened with massage before.

I’m a very anxious person but Rita makes you instantly comfortable & at ease. I can’t believe how much I laugh during our sessions and how much I look forward to my appointment each week. Seriously, thank you Rita, I cannot thank you enough for how much you have changed my life in the last 4 months! I’m almost unrecognisable.

Stephanie, Walthamstow

UPDATE

I heard from Steph recently, some 4 months after she finished treatment with me. She’s pretty much pain killer free!

I just did a 1 hour 80s aerobics class! I kept up with all of it and although I feel stretched out I am not in worrying pain!!! I couldn’t even have thought about this without you doing your magic at the beginning of the year! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frozen Shoulder – Justine’s Story

Justine came to my clinic after suffering from frozen shoulder on and off for four years. She finally sought help when she was unable to put her clothes on unaided. The pain in her shoulder meant she couldn’t sleep, raise her arm or take on basic tasks. It was totally disabling. She had been told it could take up to 2 years to treat with physiotherapy.

My treatment plan for Justine consisted of acupuncture, TuiNa medical massage and cupping. Acupuncture and Tuina massage are well established for treating musculo-skeletal conditions, but cupping is definitely something that I believe makes the difference. I’ve seen it work on even the most chronic shoulder problems in my clinic.

Acupuncturists use fire cupping (the application of a glass cup that creates local suction on the skin); which mobilizes blood flow and moves lymph in order to promote healing. We use cupping most often when there is ‘stagnation’ which is experienced as sharp, biting pain, in this case around the shoulder although it is also used as a form of massage. People who have had cupping will often have round red marks on the skin which look like bruising but do not hurt. The greater the stagnation, the stronger the colour. In very serious cases the colour can turn to a very dark purple or black. But the results can be quite dramatic in reducing pain in the area.

The combination worked well and she regained full movement in her shoulder and arm, completely pain free within 6 treatments. A year later and there’s been no recurrence of symptoms.

 Read about Justine’s experience:

When I had to ask my husband for help for the third time in a week to take my jumper off over my head I knew I had to find a proper fix for my shoulder. Enough was enough!

I’d suffered from frozen shoulder pain and reduced movement, on and off for around four years. Despite trying a variety of treatments over that time, steroid injections from the GP, painkillers, visits to the physio and osteopath included, I’d never managed to find the right kind of treatment to tip me over into the ‘thawing’ phase or full recovery. Until I found Rita.

After just two visits to Rita’s calm and welcoming clinic space, I had a significant reduction in everyday pain and my mobility and range of movement were vastly improved. Using a combination of acupuncture, cupping and TuiNa deep tissue massage, Rita managed to leave me essentially symptom free within five or six treatments. The relief of not having to live with everyday pain is not to be underestimated.

Rita combines her knowledge with a relaxing, easy manner and I’ve continued to see her on a regular basis for a ‘tune-up’ and to maintain a sense of well-being. I’d heartily recommend her to anyone, and have done so to a couple of friends who are now also happy clients.

 Justine, Crouch End

Find out more about frozen shoulder and treatment options:

http://peachyacupuncture.com/2014/10/22/treating-frozen-shoulder-the-acupuncturists-box-of-tricks/