Below are two successful patient cases with neck stenosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia. The intention of sharing these cases is to increase awareness within the local community about the benefits of acupuncture.
Case #12: female, age 58
Chief complaint: Cervical stenosis
Complaints: Cervical stenosis, a narrowing of spinal tunnel in the neck, from C3 to C7 level. It caused headache, upper back and neck stiffness, limited neck flexibility and numbness in hands. She often wakes up at night with headaches. It was difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position for her. She also had minor impingement in left shoulder.
Treatment process: The patient had a total of 19 treatments, twice a week. With the first treatment, the patient found that the numbness in her hands overnight was less than usual. She noticed less intense headaches after the second treatment. The third treatment relieved neck tension and increased range of motion. Continued treatments relieved additional symptoms in intensity, duration, and frequency. Since the 15th visit, the pains had diminished by at least 90% and the neck range of motion is almost back to normal. The left should pain is gone. She is continuing treatments to ensure stability of the improved state.
Discussion: Often, it is easy to perceive acupuncture for only pain relief, especially when an anatomical issue is evident. Acupuncture is used to recover from the problem as much as possible. The response varies but acupuncture is worth a try when there seems to be no other alternative.
Case #13: female, age 48
Chief complaint: Rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia
Complaints: Daily symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, especially worse in mornings and rainy days. The strong side effect of abdominal discomfort from medications prompted her to try acupuncture for two months before resuming treatments with her primary physician. MRI showed inflammation of hands. Rheumatoid factor and CRP (C-reactive protein), which detects inflammation in the body, have been high for 7 years. She was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 16 years ago. Stress made irritable bowel syndrome of abdominal bloating and diarrhea worse. She had severe headache and neck pain every 4-6 weeks with vomiting.
Treatment process: The patient came in for acupuncture twice a week in the first two months and then once a week since two months ago. Along with body type diet regimen, she was given an instruction on self-treatment using acumagnet therapy, which she used most evenings. All symptoms improved slowly and incrementally. The most recent blood test showed rheumatoid factor down by more than half and C-Reactive protein was down from 12-19 mg/L to 3.4 mg/L. The subjective improvements are as follows. She can do physical exercises at gym without causing increased pains or inflammation. Her rheumatoid symptoms of stiffness in joints are much less in the mornings. Frequency and intensity of headaches are less. Her energy and stamina are better maintained throughout the day. High family stress is not aggravating pains and irritable bowel syndrome. Fibromyalgia mental fog and pains are less.
Discussion: Acupuncture is not a replacement for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is necessary for some who need improvement in addition to medication regimen or whose body responds with severe side effect from medications. It is encouraging to confirm improvement using an objective blood data that reflects subjective relief.
Disclaimer: Acupuncture results may vary since each individual case is different.
Ph.D. in Oriental Medicine
166 N. Moorpark Road, #201
Thousand Oaks, CA