A 54 year-old corporate lawyer, male, came in with neck pain that had come on gradually. The pain was a dull, constant ache and strong: he felt an 8-out-of-10 on the pain scale. With the pain came a decreased range of motion (ROM).
Another symptom he experienced was numbness and tingling down his left arm to his fingers when he moved that arm and head into certain positions.
The MD diagnosis for this patient was mild cervical disc degeneration with some disc bulging on the left side, at the levels of C5 and C6.
After 4 treatments including acupuncture, massage, craniosacral therapy, and medical qi gong exercises, the numbness and tingling down the arm were gone and he regained 40% ROM.
After 6 sessions his neck pain decreased from its original 8/10 to 5/10 on the pain scale, with a marked increase in ROM of 85%. He continued to do the recommended qigong exercises to strengthen and lengthen the muscles in his neck.
After 10 treatments his pain level went down to 2/10 and his ROM restored 100%, and he continued to exercise, which stabilized the area and brought long-term relief. The pain was not 100% gone but it was manageable.
This illustrates that not every condition can get complete relief. When working with a mechanical deficit such as disc and bone degeneration, a common byproduct of aging, we work on the soft tissue surrounding it. Dr. Helen Langevin’s continuing research on acupuncture’s effects in the soft tissue reveals the force of the needle in the local area signals the body to make more fibroblasts (new cells) of the soft tissue that acts as a scaffold. This is one of acupuncture’s unique properties to help damaged or injuried areas.
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