Article written by Mairead Fahy which appeared in ECHO newspaper February 2007
Lets face it…. We all abuse our bodies abysmally! We eat and drink to excesses we cannot sustain, we heave and haul in the garden and in the house, and still assume that everything will go on working as normal…just because it always has!
>What was normal behaviour for us in our twenties, we assume will still be functioning behaviour for us twenty years later. Unfortunately… and the reality is, -our bodies are getting older! The scaffolding is getting rusty from lack of maintenance, and instead of firing on all cylinders – the internal engine is starting to backfire!
In essence, we take our hard working, uncomplaining bodies for granted … so much so that we ignore the warning signals it gives us, and suddenly…. PAIN Strikes!
You can hardly get out of bed with back pain…. You can barely put on your clothes because of shoulder / arm pain…. You’re crippled due to pains in your knees or the nerve pain travelling down your leg… You can barely use your hand because of the numbness and tingling caused by “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome”… and worse than anything else… your golf swing is affected because of “Tennis Elbow” or “Golfers Elbow”!
Red Alert! Action Stations! Sure… you felt a slight “twinge” when you lifted that piano on your own… or you felt a “niggle” when you were reaching for that goody on the top shelf! But you thought it would go away… after all – it always did before!
But … the symptoms persist, and your first port of call must always be your GP who will advocate the most appropriate treatment. More often than not, this entails medication of the anti – inflammatory type, and sometimes something to relax the muscle spasm.… and quite often this will do the trick.
But sometimes – the symptoms merit still more aggressive investigation. and your GP will refer you for the most appropriate therapy for you.
If, however, despite medication, and despite the intensive conventional medical route, you are still suffering pain… its time to think Alternatively – and more specifically, … the Chinese Medicine route, which has Acupuncture as one of its branches.
Acupuncture is part of the ancient system of medicine called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which has been in existence for over 3000 years. It is based on the theory that our bodies are made up of Meridians or Channels of energy or “Qi” (pronounced Chee), and when disease or injury occurs, these channels become blocked.
In Chinese Medicine terms –“ Qi and blood stagnation” occurs – and hence we get pain!
Imagine you have a stream at the bottom of your garden, and there’s a mudslide straight into it – the stream can’t flow as efficiently as it used to! Complicate this with dead leaves and rubbish -. and the stream stops flowing completely. The stream wants to proceed as normal but it can’t -. and trouble starts!
This is the same for the blockage of “Qi” within the body. Due to accident or injury – the stream can’t flow freely, and Pain results! By inserting sterile disposable small needles in points along this “stream”, the channel is freed, and the flow is restored!
In effect, just like you unblock a stream with a spade, your Acupuncturist is unblocking the Channel with needles. And no… the needles don’t hurt!
In Chinese Medicine, this blockage may often be complicated by “Damp”, “Cold” or “Heat”… you will often hear these terms in the Acupuncture clinic. and your treatment will be modified according to these findings.
Acupuncture can treat all types of pain, but the most common musculoskeletal pains it can treat include:
- neck pain and related headaches,
- shoulder pain including Frozen shoulder,
- lower back pain and related nerve pain, (often called sciatica),
- hip pain,
- knee pain,
- ankle injury,
- tennis elbow,
- golfers elbow,
- carpal tunnel syndrome,
- all sports injuries,
- and many many more pains and aches.
So – the moral of the story is … maintain the scaffolding, or you may have to visit your Acupuncturist!