Healing Chronic Pain and Emotional Stress
I’m an acupuncturist specializing in chronic pain and it’s relationship with emotional stress. I combine Traditional Chinese Medicine with a focused anatomical perspective, utilizing careful palpation and trigger point releases. My approach is influenced by Japanese meridian balancing and the principles of fascial tensegrity or the whole body matrix of connective tissues derived from Anatomy Trains.
Releasing Muscular Tension
I emphasize releasing muscular tension and restrictions that are often the consequence of chronic pain, soft tissue compensations for issues that may not necessarily be muscular in origin (eg skeletal, organic or functional issues). Many of the chronic pain patients who come to see me for help haven’t been physically examined in years and often have only a generalized bodily/somatic sense of what’s hurting. Every client does a pain drawing as part of their initial intake.
Post-Surgical Hip Replacement Pain and Sciatica
For example, I see many senior patients who’ve had hip replacement surgery but are still experiencing severe pain. They’ve been dismissed by their surgeons who say there is nothing wrong with the implanted device and are relegated to pharmaceutical pain management. Sometimes something is wrong with the implanted device. What is far more usual is that chronic residual pain following hip replacement is muscular or myofascial. This is a scenario I see often and and responds very well to an acupuncture/trigger point approach:
Most hip replacement patients delay surgery as long as possible, often to the point where they are experiencing intolerable pain. Along the way they developed gait changes and compensations.
Quadratus lumborum and Chronic Hip and Pain
One of the most prevalent muscles involved is the QL, quadratus lumborum, which is a low back muscle that elevates the ilium and is over compensated when the hip loses mobility. It’s chronic contraction causes trigger points that refer to the hip and can mimic sciatica. The QL is not specifically addressed during hip replacement rehab. When chronically aggravated the QL causes post surgical pain that orthopedic surgeons do not consider when reevaluating the integrity of an implant or site healing. I examine these patients, check range of motion, muscle test and palpate for tight and tender areas. If the QL is involved (it usually is) I treat them lying on their side supported with bolsters.
“Oh that’s it !”
As I start probing around their waists with my fingers, some clients remind me it’s their hip that hurts, not their backs. When I locate the provoking tender point, needle and release it, that patient experiences a deep sense of “oh that’s it !” This profound trigger point release initiates healing. Skillful acupuncture enhances circulation, clears inflammation and restores mobility. The changes are immediate and continue to improve in the days following treatment. Chronic pain issues that may have lingered for years start recovering immediately.
Whole Body Acupuncture
This whole body approach addresses compensation patterns. Like following ripples from a stone tossed into still water. A painful hip may lead spirally to the opposite shoulder. Foot pain may contribute jaw pain and TMJ. Utilizing muscle testing and palpation along functional pathways (Anatomy Trains) guides my selection of supplemental acupuncture treatment areas. I believe it is this precise localization of the sources of chronic pain within a context of whole body patterns that is first step essential to healing.
Mark Shprintz is a Tennessee Licensed Acupuncturist and a Nationally Certified Practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine. His practice, Nashville Healing Arts Acupuncture, is located in East Nashville. For information about scheduling an Acupuncture Appointment please call (615) 830-4700.