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.

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


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)
  • 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 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


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:


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


  • 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.



Wikipedia, Naturopathic Medicine for Allergies

Black & Kletz Allergy, Allergist Falls Church, VA

Are There Alternatives to Knee Surgery?


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.


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.

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

Burn fat, not sugar to improve your health and lose weight

Each of us has the ability to burn fat and sugar for energy–we need each capacity.  When we were infants, we burned fat very efficiently–this helped develop our brains, muscles, organs, skeletal, and nervous systems. According to the educational series “The Metabolic Factor” by Jonny Boden, PhD many of us have become extremely out of balance in our bodies’ abilities to burn fat. Instead we turn to using sugar as our primary energy source. As a result, we end up storing fat on our bodies and wreaking havoc on our digestive, endocrine, and healing systems.

In his highly readable book, the author explains that there are 5 major reasons why our metabolisms change from burning fat to burning sugar and storing fat.  These causes are:

1) diet: a diet high in sugar/processed carbs stimulates a metabolic cascade

2) mental stress: stress increases the hormone cortisol that inhibits the body’s ability to recognize other beneficial hormonal influences while at the same time causing us to store fat

3) movement: too much of the wrong type of exercise coupled with too little daytime movement can be harmful

4) sleep: inadequate and/or poor quality sleep negatively affects the thyroid and other hormones associated with health

5) toxins–toxins in the environment and our foods affect our cells’ abilities to recognize cellular messaging

Good health consists of many factors.  When a person is healthy, they look and feel good, are motivated and able to do the things that support their health. Nonetheless, we get mixed messages when it comes to how we should live our lives regarding food, exercise, stress, appearance, etc.  Sometimes we think there is a quick diet or easy life change we can make that will fix our health, our appearance, or our mental state. Most times we are disappointed.

By paying attention to the five categories listed above, you can start to make great improvements in your health and well-being. A few things you could try would be a low glycemic diet, a relaxation method such as meditation, walk a bit more throughout the day, get 8 hours of restful sleep a night, and try an epsom salt bath soak. You might just lose weight, improve your health and look and feel better with this approach.

If you have any questions, contact our office. Thanks!

Chiropractic care is holistic care.

Most patients coming into a chiropractic office do so to reduce musculo-skeletal pain. Pain is a great motivator and educator; but the chiropractic adjustment does more than just reduce pain; used correctly, the spinal adjustment will improve health on many levels.  Since our nervous system  controls every aspect of the body- from muscles to organs to balance to mentation- the chiropractic adjustment has the potential to improve health, not just reduce pain.

A spinal adjustment is designed to mobilize subluxated spinal segments using specifically applied hands-on or mechanical means. The spine is an extension of the nervous system- bony vertebra protect the spinal cord while serving as attachments to muscles and ligaments to support the body. The healthy spine and nervous system support posture and daily activities without derangement- we normally don’t think about it much until something goes wrong.

The chiropractic examination involves the following procedures:  History, Inspection, Vitals, Palpation, Range of Motion active and passive, Orthopedic testing, Neurological exam, and Imaging. This complete exam provides insight into the condition of the spine- just like when you go to the dentist and have your teeth examined or go to the GP and have blood work performed, an annual chiropractic exam can alert you to the presence of spinal derangement early.  When a subluxation is detected, specific mobilization to that segment can be applied to correct it, thus reducing the local symptoms as well as the far-reaching implications of impaired nerve input to internal organs, muscles and ligaments.

When your spine and spinal cord are healthy, you are able to stand tall with improved strength and awareness. Schedule your annual exam today to take the next steps toward a healthier you- inside and out.

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

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