What You Need to Know About Your Pain Before Getting TCM Acupuncture
What you Need to Know about Your Pain Before Getting TCM Acupuncture
TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) acupuncture is a very common style of acupuncture practiced in the United States. It developed during the 1950s-70s as combining the best of Ancient Chinese and modern Western medicine. It is commonly known for addressing one of the most common ailments experienced in the United States… pain.
As a practitioner of TCM Acupuncture, we need to understand the patient’s clinical situation from the ancient Chinese “energetic” perspective in addition to the Western physical perspective. This includes the “Four Exams”- looking, listening, touching, and smelling. Western diagnosis and reports are helpful but not necessary to develop a TCM diagnosis.
What You Need to Know Before Getting Acupuncture
Location of Pain
This is fairly obvious but is necessary to say. There are those who say “everything hurts”. To an acupuncturist and any medical practitioner “everything” is vague. Does it mean head, neck pain, back, ankle, skin, muscle, bone, tooth, toenail, abdominal and hemorrhoid pain? As a medical practitioner, “everything" means all that and more.
It is best to identify pain areas as specifically as possible and point to it with one finger if possible. Pointing to the back of the head to show a headache already is aiding diagnosis.
Saying “neck pain” to an acupuncturist is like saying “coffee” to a Starbucks barista or “beer” to a bartender. The quality of pain reveals a great deal of information to the practitioner regarding the patient’s ailment.
For example there is: dull, achy, burning, electric pain; each one means something different diagnostically. One may have different qualities simultaneously at the same or different places.
What makes the pain worse? Does rest or activity aggravate the pain? Does bending, lying face up or face down aggravate? Does the cold or damp weather make it worse? Eating sweet, greasy food or dairy? Does stress aggravate? Maybe there are times of day as morning, evening, 2-5 pm when pain is noticeably worse. This information has much bearing upon a TCM diagnosis.
This is equally informative as aggravating factors. There are many relieving factors including rest, activity, massage, not aggravating the pain, over-the-counter medications and even simply time.
Pain at the time of treatment
Pain at the time of treatment may influence the treatment. Duration, point selection and treatment position are influenced by the presence or absence of pain. Absence of pain does not disqualify from treatment.
What You Need to Know for Successful Acupuncture Treatment
Pay attention, speak as honestly and accurately as possible
Patients are often unaware of their body. It is not uncommon for patients to say they have a “constant 11 out of 0-10” pain scale which is “aggravated by activity” and “nothing relieves the pain”. The practitioner then sees the patient walk to and from the treatment room unassisted. Some contradictions are obvious.
Sometimes patients are so accustomed experiencing pain and telling others of their discomfort that they do not notice when their pain is absent. This may require some personal reflection.
Practitioners are there to help and accurate information is vital to determine accurate assessment and treatment.
Have realistic treatment goals
Some seek acupuncture for relaxation, some for ailment relief and even others for self improvement (Yes, we do that too.) However, seeking acupuncture to lose 10 lbs of body fat, “fixing” 3 herniated discs and lowering blood pressure from one treatment is unrealistic. If a medical doctor- a “real doctor” to some- can’t make that promise then how can we?
Willingness to change harmful habits
This means obtaining regular treatment and following the directions of the practitioner. Directions may include changes in diet, exercise, attitude, activity to name a few. This notion applies to any health care profession one seeks treatment and guidance including TCM (acupuncture, herbs, body work and physical arts).
If one is unable or unwilling to change harmful habits if necessary, then treatment becomes palliative care and “maintenance”. This is sometimes necessary in some cases (ex. professional athletes, bus drivers, chefs etc.) but the patient should understand that treatment will be long term and probably not lead to a “cure”.
Willingness to get regular treatment
For one to obtain the most benefits from acupuncture or any other modality, one needs to commit themself to regular treatment.
Treatment is to help bring one back to a “healthy path” and once achieved, the patient continues on their own using they learned from treatment.
However, based on nearly 2 decades of clinical experience in pain treatment I can say the following regarding treatment frequency: chronic and severe pain require longer and more frequent treatment than minor, acute ailments and preventative care.
Conclusion- Willingness to Invest in Yourself
Acupuncture treatment as any other health care modality is part of that investment in oneself. What you sow monetarily you reap in good times and better quality of life. We believe you are worth it. Do you?
If You Are Willing To Invest in Yourself, then Call or Text us to make an appointment.
(631) 433- 2184
250 West Main Street
Bay Shore, New York, 11706