What to expect on your first chiropractic or acupuncture visit

Acupuncturist Chapel Hill, NC

What should a patient expect on their first visit to a chiropractor or acupuncturist? You may wonder what to expect in the office of an alternative medicine practitioner after you make the first appointment. Will it be similar to what you expect to happen at your medical doctor’s office? Will it be different? The answer to each of these questions is `yes’.

Once you decide to pursue so-called `alternative medicine’, your healthcare journey will be similar to standard medical care in many ways, but will also be significantly different. And, don’t worry- you can always change your mind and `go back` to standard medical care, or, better yet, combine them. `Complimentary medical care` is another name for alternative medicine- chiropractic and acupuncture, etc. support healing on many levels and do not exclude the healing opportunities offered by medicine. Many chiropractic doctors or acupuncturists share referrals with medical doctors and other healthcare practitioners, share online `Patient Portal` links and insurance billing information to make it easier to provide healthcare. This facilitates healthcare delivery and can reduce paperwork.

During your initial visit to a chiropractor or acupuncturist Chapel Hill, NC chooses, like Acupractic Natural Healing Center, you will complete health intake forms and provide insurance information prior to your visit with the doctor/practitioner.  Your chiropractor or acupuncturist will need to know your health history: surgeries, medications, health issues and concerns, family history, etc. In addition, you will be asked about areas of current pain, digestion, sleep, activities of daily life; your spine, posture, and extremities will be assessed and palpated, touched and evaluated.

The chiropractor or acupuncturist will watch and assess your posture and the way you walk or carry yourself in order to see how posture affects your health. They will check your pulses on the wrists, look at your tongue, and your eyes to gain important information related to health  They will palpate regions related to pain or other concerns in order to gain more information about those areas and to determine range of motion, imbalances to temperature and sensation. Your practitioner may use orthopedic and neurological tests such as: Valsalva or Phalens to determine nervous system functioning and cause of pain.  If additional information is needed your acupuncturist or chiropractor will ask for test results from other sources and practitioners; x-rays or blood work can provide valuable health clues.

Following the exam, your practitioner may provide therapeutic treatment to offer some relief that first visit. Not all offices do this however; be sure to check when you make an appointment because many offices prefer to start treatment on the next visit along with a `Report of Findings` where information obtained in the exam is explained and a treatment plan created.

At the front desk after the initial exam, an office assistant will collect payment and schedule your next appointment. He/she will explain what your insurance benefits cover and what you can expect to pay at each visit. They will give you office materials to take home and explain other office policies such as how to schedule or change appointments, how to visit the website or how to contact the office after hours. If you have questions, please ask.

The Connection Between Pain, Inflammation and Depression

Acupuncture Chapel Hill, NC

Stress from pain or mental distress creates inflammation which exacerbates pain and depression- a link recognized by Chinese for millennia but only recently acknowledged by western medicine. The stress-pain-inflammation connection is real; but, diagnosis and treatment frequently do not reflect this critical fact. People who have high levels of stress or pain or inflammation can get confused and have trouble thinking clearly or sleeping well or coping with life. Acknowledging that stress and physical pain can cause depression is an essential first step to get patients the help they need.

From a Chinese medicine 5 Element perspective, injury or mental stress consumes water channel yin resulting in excess fire consuming heart yin. Increased pain and inflammation extinguish joy. Recent medical research shows that body inflammation crosses the blood-brain barrier causing brain inflammation resulting in a neuronal conflagration, confusion, and withdrawal, all hallmarks of depression. Some people with higher levels of chronic pain withdraw into alcohol or pain medications or other drugs in an attempt to reduce their symptoms. These can create a downward spiral as they increase inflammation and decrease the person’s ability to deal with problems, sleep soundly or make good choices.

This new understanding of the broader cause of depression from stress and injury can help practitioners and family and friends improve their patients, and loved ones recover more fully. Recognize that sleep and rest are necessary to heal. Reliance on pain medications that mask pain may be helpful to allow sleep, but long term use causes dependence can result as well as increased risk of injury to already destabilized body regions.

Some anti-inflammatory medications have demonstrated effectiveness in reducing both pain and depression. Inflammation lowering products can reduce heat volatility in the body as well as in the brain, affecting the cause of both anxiety and depression in those people. For instance, NSAIDs have been shown to reduce pain and improve the antidepression effects of medications in some people who have pain and are also taking antidepressive medications. So-called COX2 inhibitor drugs have been shown to reduce both — anxiety and depression in certain types of patients. The connection between anti-inflammatory usage is increasingly recognized.

Unfortunately, not every prescribed remedy has this beneficial dual effect, and some anti-inflammatory products have their side effects and can’t be used continuously. For instance, corticosteroids are used primarily to reduce inflammation, but they also inhibit the immune system, negatively affect calcium absorption, and can increase blood sugar. NSAIDS and COX2 inhibitors increase the risk of infections and cardiovascular events.  One needs to assess the risk-benefit of any treatment at all times.

Dietary and lifestyle steps to reduce inflammation can work to reduce pain and depression and should be used whenever possible benefit the patient without side effects. Patients are advised to take all steps possible to get restorative sleep and eat a regular healthy diet to reduce stress. Other measures to consider include: walk in nature, eat small meals, soak in lavender scented Epsom salts, avoid confrontations and other stressful life events including loud noise and distressing television; and take time to meditate, read supportive literature or reflect on life. Herbal concoctions such as ashwagandha or rosemary have been clinically shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol.

It is possible to reduce pain and inflammation and stress causing depression. If you aren’t able to achieve these goals on your own, contact a professional for help.

Contact Acupractic Natural Healing Center for more information on how to reduce pain, inflammation, and depression.

Chiropractic Care for Sciatica

Hip Pain Doctor Chapel Hill, NC

Sciatica is the term used to describe the symptoms that result from compression of the long sciatic nerve extending from the low back to the leg. Generally affecting one side of the body at a time, sciatica symptoms can be disabling and affect one’s ability to walk, sit and sleep. Numbness and muscle weakness of the leg and hip can accompany the nerve pain. Sciatica can reach all the way down to the feet and affect the hip, knees, and feet as well. Over time, untreated sciatica can affect gait and create postural deviations that can be hard to overcome. Alternative medicine treatments for sciatica such as chiropractic are increasingly used to help many people.

People of all ages can get sciatica. although it is very rare in toddlers and children, and much more common in adults in their fourth decade of life and older. About 40% of people experience sciatica at some point in their lives, making it one of the most common ailments. Sciatica pain can come on suddenly with no warning and is usually caused by performing repetitive activities such as lifting or twisting and pulling. Many people suffering from sciatica visit their chiropractor to get help.

The main cause of damage is compression injury to the sciatic nerve – a nerve bundle arising from the lower lumbar spine segments L3,4, and 5. The nerve bundle travels through the hip under the piriformis muscle, then branches out again in the thigh and leg. Nerve compression can originate in the back at the nerve origin or in the hip under the piriformis. Causes can be herniated disc in the low back putting pressure on the lower lumber nerves as they exit the spine, or vertebral or hip misalignment and inflammation affecting nerve pathway. Piriformis syndrome (compression of the sciatic nerve under the piriformis hip muscle) can mimic sciatica and treatment can be similar.  A thorough physical exam as performed by your chiropractic physician or medical doctor can help determine the cause and extent of your back and leg pain. Xrays, CT scans and MRI exams may be used, but are no replacement for a good physical exam and are sometimes inconclusive.

Treatment for this condition depends on the cause. If there is nerve damage or loss of muscle control, this can indicate a surgical emergency. Otherwise, the medical treatment of sciatica frequently involves relaxing involved muscles and controlling pain with medications. Physical therapy may be added when appropriate to improve posture and strengthen and balance weak and tight muscles. Chiropractic care focuses on finding and resolving vertebral irritation and kinetic chain imbalance in order to resolve pain at the source. Treatment involves chiropractic adjustments or acupuncture to the lumbar spine and hips to improve nerve flow, with muscle therapy to the paraspinal muscles, hips, legs, and other involved areas. Treatment can be very effective with most sufferers becoming pain-free in as short as a few weeks.

Chiropractic care for sciatica can be an effective and long-lasting choice. Call a hip pain doctor Chapel Hill, NC trusts today to schedule an appointment and get the help you need.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Acupractic Natural Healing Center for their insight into acupuncture and sciatica.

 

Alternative Medicines to Compliment Stem Cell Therapy for Physical Injuries

Acupuncture

Suffering pain from either an ailment or injury can impact nearly every tier of a person’s life. The ability to function normally may be significantly limited. Struggling to complete daily tasks can become frustrating, especially when an injury does not improve with rest and time. Treatments such as stem cell therapy, acupuncture, and physical therapy have the ability to help mitigate pain and repair injuries experienced.

The following briefly outlines these treatments and how they may be beneficial in healing common injuries people face, including:

  • Knee Injuries
  • Tendon Injuries
  • Fractures
  • Torn Ligaments

Many traditional forms of treatment utilize treatments including:

  • Rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE)
  • NSAIDS
  • Immobilization
  • Corticosteroids
  • Surgery

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy uses stem cells by extracting them from the body and injecting them directly into the injured area. Stem cells are powerful in that they do not have a designated function. As a result, they have the capacity to differentiate into specific cells within the body. For example, a stem cell that is injected into a damaged tendon, has the ability to develop into a healthy tendon cell. Stem cells are usually harvested from specified areas of the body. Many treatments utilized mesenchymal stem cells to treat specific injuries. Mesenchymal stem cells are often taken from bone marrow, adipose tissue (often extracted from the pelvic region), and blood. Once extracted, these cells take the form of injections that are administered to the injured region. To ensure accuracy, many providers utilize an ultrasound during the procedure. Stem cell therapy is meant to help manage pain, develop new cells, encourage healing and prevent injuries from worsening.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that seeks to restore the body’s natural harmony. Treatment is administered to help heal injuries by placing acupuncture needles on meridians. Meridians are energy pathways that can improve the flow of energy throughout the body and ultimately have the ability to repair and restore injured areas within the body. Specific types of acupuncture treatment can be administered to patients who are suffering from physical injuries. The techniques can help to alleviate pain experienced by patients and assist in the recovery process.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is key to assisting the body in the healing process. Following an injury, physical therapy can help to rebuild strength within the body, to the injured area, help to rebuild muscles and improve range of motion. When an injury is sustained, it’s not uncommon to put strain on other areas of the body to compensate. Physical therapy can also help to strengthen other areas of the body that may have been impacted as a result. Not only can this form of treatment help in the recovery process, physical therapists can equip patients with exercises that can help to address and reduce problems. Prior to treatment, a physical therapist Rockville, MD offers will first assess the injury to develop the most effective course of action.

When alternative treatments combine forces, they may have the ability to yield powerful results. Such treatments can complement each other in helping to repair injured areas of the body, encourage healing, increase mobility, build strength and manage pain. Prior to seeking treatments always speak with your care provider to ensure that you are a candidate for these alternative forms of treatment.

 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at the Pain Arthritis Relief Center for their insight into stem cell therapy.

How Naturopathic Medicine Can Help With Your Allergies

Acupuncture

Allergy sufferers everywhere know the symptoms well. You might start out with a mild, throbbing headache, wake up one morning with itchy, red eyes, or maybe your throat gets itchy after eating food. These can all be signs and symptoms that you have allergies to something, but many people shrug it off with some over-the-counter medication to cover up and hide the symptoms. It might seem obvious where your allergy stems from. It might be seasonal, or it might come on when you come into contact with mold spores or your favorite dairy-filled cheesecake. Naturopathic doctors look past these as the only source of your allergies though. Instead, they want to look at your body holistically: what might have weakened your immune or adrenal systems? What is wrong with the way your digestion functions?

Common Symptoms of Allergies

Depending on your allergy, you might have mild to severe (even life-threatening) symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:

Mild

  • Itchy, red eyes
  • A Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Itchy throat
  • A Runny nose

Severe

  • Wheezing
  • Hives
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Death

Additionally, while you might think you only suffer from seasonal allergies, often time these are tied to certain food allergies that weaken your immune system and make your seasonal allergies significantly worse. Properly identifying different things you are allergic to can help reduce your symptoms at the start.

Naturopathic Remedies For Allergies

There are a few ways that a naturopathic doctor can help reduce your allergies. These are:

  • Supplements and Vitamins
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Diet and Nutrition
  • Acupuncture

Supplements And Vitamins. There are many supplements and vitamins that your naturopathic doctor can recommend that are safe to consume while allowing you to continue on without interrupting your day-to-day activities. Some of these are probiotics for your gut help, bioflavonoids—a natural antihistamine—used to combat allergies, and different vitamins like A, C, E, and zinc.

Herbal Medicine. When using high-quality herbal medication, many of your allergy symptoms can be treated. Yarrow tea can help reduce congestion, red clover can help build up a resistance to allergies, milk thistle can help to reduce inflammation and support your liver. On the other hand, many use dong quai for its antihistamine properties.

Diet and Nutrition. Many naturopathic doctors will examine your diet in detail to ensure you are getting the proper nutrients and eliminating the bad food. For example, foods like dark, leafy greens, carrots, beets, onions, ginger, garlic, and nettles can help support your immune system. On the other hand, alcohol, red meat, wheat, and sugar can lower your immune system and leave you more susceptible to allergies.

Acupuncture. Many people have also seen relief in many of their allergy symptoms through the use of trained acupuncturists. Though you can see an improvement in your symptoms after one treatment, acupuncture is often ongoing and can be multiple session a week depending on the severity of your allergies.

Who To Reach Out To

Finding relief for your allergies can mean the difference between staying in bed all day and getting up and going to work or enjoying your favorite activities. Conventional medication is not always the best solutions for your allergies, and a naturopathic doctor can help you determine the best course of treatment.

 

Resources:

Wikipedia, Naturopathic Medicine for Allergies

Black & Kletz Allergy, Allergist Falls Church, VA

Are There Alternatives to Knee Surgery?

Acupuncturist

If you have obtained a knee injury, it’s important that you take the time to investigate options that may be available alternatives to knee surgery. In most cases, when a patient experiences a knee injury, there are no quick fixes. A knee doctor Gaithersburg, MD relies on may be able to provide you with options that can help you to avoid surgery altogether. Depending upon your knee injury, there are some alternatives to more invasive treatments like surgery, such as:

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist can assess your injuries and develop a treatment plan that helps to manage a knee injury. PT can offer great benefits, including a reduction in pain and improved range of motion.

Cortisone Shots

When it comes to pain management, there can be a few options available to patients. Pain medication or cortisone shots may help to reduce pain experienced by patients until their body is able to heal from the injury. A cortisone shot, also known as a steroid shot, is usually injected to the problem area to help reduce knee pain experienced by patients.

Acupuncture

An acupuncturist can administer needles to targeted points of the body designed to help maintain the flow of energy throughout the body. Having the ability to access acupuncture can offer patients with a variety of health benefits. Not only can an acupuncturist help to target the pain a person may be experiencing, they may be able to reduce pain occurrences altogether.

Weight Loss and Exercise

In some cases, a knee doctor may recommend that you begin engaging in physical activity and making efforts towards weight loss. Although in many cases, hearing this type of recommendation can be hard to hear, in the long run, taking such steps can help significantly. The knee must bear a significant amount of weight, especially when a person is engaged in a high impact activity. Losing weight can play a key role in mitigating knee problems experienced by patients.

Can Surgery be Avoided?

Whether or not you will be able to avoid surgery is probably one of the most prevalent concerns you have. Consulting with a knee doctor will be key prior to making any decisions regarding your knee injury. Although alternatives may not be a quick fix to your knee injury, it may ultimately help you to treat your knee injury with less invasive options. Allow for us to help guide you through your treatment options in a way that you feel comfortable with. In some cases, treatment options may require vigilance on your part. However, as a patient, you have the ability to reap the benefits.

Are you suffering from knee pain? Do you have concern that you will forever be experiencing the physical repercussions of your injury? Although it can be easy to set your signs on the options that will provide you with the fastest way to a full recovery, in most cases, the options available to you can all take time.

 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at the Pain Arthritis Relief Center for their insight into knee pain and treatment options.

How Clutter Affects Your Health

Clutter can affect health in many ways. When we are surrounded by excess possessions we don’t function well as excess energy is spent dealing and creating the mess.  People who have trouble with sprawling, excessive possessions experience mental imbalance. Defined as `a collection of things lying about in an untidy mass’, clutter designates a mass of things that aren’t organized, probably aren’t needed and that seem to be in the way of normal activity. Also known as `anything that is kept not being needed or wanted’, clutter relates to physical things, as well as virtual things (think emails) or relationships, even activities and emotional issues. Ownership of overwhelming possessions can be an addiction and is a growing problem. Unfortunately, the advent of online shopping and free and easy delivery of things may have worsened the situation for many.

Many people collect things- books, clothing, shoes, music… Problems occur when the collections become unmanageable, unusable. The addiction to possession obsession resulting in clutter can affect anyone- men, women, people of all ages, races and socioeconomic levels. Like many addictions, it is considered to be a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder and is frequently attended by other disorders such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse. Sufferers can seek help for their problem from social workers and psychologists who have training in this field; professional organizers can also help. Freeing oneself from excessive possessions can be healing for that person, family members, friends, and even pets who have to live in a chaotic environment.

 People with an addiction to collecting unneeded things frequently feel ashamed at their behavior and the untidy nature of their surroundings; they may avoid entertaining guests because of this resulting in social isolation. Although the addicted individual feels that acquiring something will make them feel better, this is frequently not the case and sadness can deepen with that realization. Also, some people who collect things needlessly are anxious about wasting the earth’s resources and feel guilty about the things they own and don’t need. The cost of purchasing these items can be phenomenal, and the storage of unneeded things consumes vast resources for many people as well.

The growth of the storage industry has ballooned over the past 20 years- we now store more excess personal tangible goods like books and clothes than ever before. Additionally, we use our computers, iphones, even our watches to store things- ideas, sounds, pictures; which, while virtual still consumes energy-with ever-increasing storage capacity. Our houses, and our cars, are bigger than ever- and loaded with things we don’t need or at least can’t pay attention to in any meaningful way. Each of us suffers from clutter addiction to an extent and it is up to each of us to reduce, reuse and eliminate things that don’t help us fulfill our lives.

As we start the new year, be aware of the clutter in your life and how it affects you and your health and your relationships.

Tips for Snow Shoveling to Avoid Injury

Shoveling snow can result in back injuries or worse. We all need to get out of the house eventually following a huge snowfall like the one we just experienced here in Durham, NC. Keep a few things in mind, however, prior to going outside to shovel that snow. Back injuries and heart attacks due to snow shoveling are all too common and can be avoided. When shoveling snow, take a moment to assess the situation and realize the job may take more time than you think. Don’t rush the process—hurrying will add to the possibility of falling as well as increase the stress of the situation. Get your warm high traction boots on, suit up, grab your shovel, and head outside once you’ve taken a few moments to consider how to best approach the task. Wet snow is going to be very heavy. When you dig your shovel down into the snow, assess how heavy each shovel full is before trying to lift it, especially if you plan to twist around and pile that shovel full to the side.Twisting with the added weight of snow can injure your back quickly; doing that repetitively can cause spinal joint irritation or even a herniated disc. You may not feel the effects of injury immediately due to the numbing effects of cold so be sure to take breaks periodically. Be aware of the amount of cardiac exercise involved in moving snow, as well. Crouching, digging, lifting and twisting heavy loads repeatedly in the cold puts a lot of strain on your heart, especially if you are stressed in a hurry. Stay safe out there!

Cupping for Colds and Flu

Cupping is an ancient Chinese therapy that many people have heard of in conjunction with the Olympics as a treatment for muscle aches. Were you also aware that cupping can be an effective treatment for cold and flu symptoms? That’s because cupping relieves congestion in the body and stimulates movement of energy to restore and heal. Cupping deep tissue massage improves blood flow and helps to detoxify the area cupped and connected regions.
What is cupping?
Cupping utilizes silicon or glass shaped `cups` under which vacuum is created via suction or oxygen consumption. When placed on the skin and slid across trigger points and knots, cupping is an unparalleled example of transverse friction massage combined with skin lifting technique. Common areas of application for persons suffering from congestion, colds and flu include the midback between the shoulder blades, the upper back and shoulders, and lower back just below the ribs around the diaphragm. Stimulation of these areas with cupping reduces muscle spasm and helps with respiration and lymph flow. Following cupping you ill experience redness and warming to the area cupped as blood flow is increased and the skin and underlying muscles are rubbed with friction.
Essential oils and ointments can be applied on the skin surface prior to cupping. Oils such as eucalyptus, lavender and frankincense are anti-inflammatory, warming and pain relieving. These and other oils aid in circulation and naturally support the immune system. Other oil choices can include: oregano, rosemary, tea tree, lemon, lemongrass, peppermint, cinnamon, clove bud, grapefruit, sandalwood, basil, juniper berry, thyme, sage, ginger, cypress, and pine. A few drops of each essential oil can be added to a carrier neutral oil and massaged into the skin. Cupping performs gentle exfoliation and blood flow stimulation which helps the oil absorb while also helping to `exteriorize` toxins and reduce stagnation in general.
Persistent cupping marks that stay on the body post-cupping can be unsightly and undesirable to some. These can be avoided by moving the cups around and reducing the amount of time the cup is left in one place. Discuss this and other treatment goals with your practitioner prior to treatment. Also, some people may be concerned with the use of hot glass cups and the potential for burning of the skin. Many practitioners use unheated silicon cups today to avoid that concern.
You may receive cupping therapy as part of a holistic treatment regimen for cold and flu that also includes acupuncture treatment or the chiropractic adjustment, or all three together. These alternative medicine remedies for cold and flu are very effective for improving overall health and the body’s ability to heal itself naturally. Acupuncture meridian therapy improves metal yin (lung) and water yin (kidney) energy flow to heal the lungs and reduce stress in the body overall. Chiropractic adjustments to the neck and back improve nerve flow to vital organs such as the lungs and heart, and increase respiratory motion under the ribs and reduce congestion in the chest. Cupping works well with these treatments.
Following cupping therapy for colds and flu, keep the cupped area covered for 24 hours to avoid cold and wind exposure of the cupped area. If possible, try to retain warmth and rest for several hours to allow the treatment to take its full effect.
When you aren’t feeling well, contact your acupuncture and chiropractor provider to see if cupping can help you. It can improve your health and well-being on many levels.

Acupuncture for Back Pain- How Does it Work?

Acupuncture stimulates the brain’s DMN to heal the body mind.
Acupuncture for chronic back pain—how does it work?
Acupuncture has been shown to be an effective treatment for various types of back pain, yet scientists have struggled for many years to understand how it works. Recent research in the BMJ Journal (https://aim.bmj.com/content/32/2/102) demonstrates a potential mechanism that has eluded researchers. This creates an understanding of how acupuncture treatment can affect many conditions including: chronic back pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, and diabetic neuropathy.
The research utilized functional MRI brain scans of healthy and chronic back pain sufferers. These scans demonstrate altered and reduced connectivity in an important brain pathway called DMN (default mode network) in the chronic back pain sufferers. DMN represents our brain’s default mode when we are awake but restful, as in meditation or daydreaming. Reduced connectivity in this important pain modulation pathway may indicate that some people may not be able to fully access the relaxation and healing response the DMN is thought to provide. Thirty minutes of acupuncture with intermittent de qi needle stimulation was shown to increase DMN connectivity in parts of the brain associated with pain modulation. This suggests a possible mechanism of action for chronic back pain sufferers who experience pain relief using acupuncture. The connection between what helps us relax and what helps us heal is very real and this new research helps us understand that connection a bit more.
This research is exciting because it helps us understand and explain how a drugless, nonsurgical treatment such as acupuncture can help reduce suffering for so many people.
Call our office today to see how acupuncture can help you reduce back pain or migraine pain.
(919) 929-1400 schedule@acudocnc.com 24- hour online scheduling www.acudocnc.com
Acupractic Natural Healing Center, 800 Eastowne Dr. Suite 103, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
The acupuncture and chiropractic offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay

Serving the communities of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham, Hillsborough, and the rest of the NC Triangle

800 Eastowne Drive #103 Chapel Hill, NC 27514 | (919) 929-1400

Powered by Matador Solutions