3 03, 2012

Soleus and Achilles Tendon

I would like to thank you for the relief you have given me. I suffered a calf, Soleus and Achilles tendon injury as a result of my training for the Half Iron. One of my training partners said that he had experienced the same injury and it took him a year to recover.

When I came to see you I expected that I would have a long and arduous road back to training. Truthfully, I thought that I could scrap my aspirations of a June Half Iron.

Well, with two treatments and a few for good measure I can tell you I am back in the race and feeling confident that I will compete (might be participate). It is a tremendous relief from a pain and emotional point of view.

I can’t thank you enough for your support.

-Desmond Regier

Trade Exchange Canada

Kelowna, BC


14 10, 2010

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway bound by bones and ligaments located on the inside of your wrist. It protects the main nerve to your hand and the tendons that bend your fingers. When there is pressure placed on the nerve, it produces numbness, tingling, pain and over time, loss of strength in the hand, a condition that is known as carpal tunnel syndrome. Pressure on the nerve can stem from anything that reduces the space for it in the carpal tunnel, such as overusing the hand in work, sports and daily activities particularly through repetitive motions, injury to the area, or other health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, certain hormonal disorders, or fluid retention during pregnancy. In many cases, carpal tunnel symptoms may actually be caused by a nerve compression in the neck rather than by a narrowing of the carpal tunnel. Bad posture, for example, can cause compression of the nerves that run down the arm and eventually pass through the carpal tunnel.

In Western medicine, carpal tunnel syndrome is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids to reduce swelling, with physiotherapy to stretch the ligaments and maintain mobility and muscle strength, with massage for relaxation and – as a last resort – with surgery, to cut the ligament in order to create more space for the confined structures in the carpal tunnel.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there are many different reasons why a person develops symptoms like those of CTS. There are two organs that are commonly involved in many bone and muscle/sinew problems, the kidney and liver. The kidneys are said to produce marrow and control the strength of the bones. Therefore if the kidneys are strong and healthy, the bones will be also, whereas if the kidneys are weak the bones may also be weak and/or brittle. The liver controls the state of the sinews (muscle and tendons), so if the liver is strong and functioning properly, the sinews will be properly lubricated and nourished to have the capacity to contract and relax in a healthy manner.

When a problem arises in a joint, whether due to injury or overuse, the body is normally able to recover and heal the tissues. However, with injuries, what can commonly happen at the initial stage is that the qi-energy and blood get stuck and no longer circulate through the joint properly, causing pain. If the quality of blood is generally poor, which is common in a liver yin deficiency, the injured site will of course take longer to heal or even fail to heal completely, because the blood doesn’t provide the proper nourishment to heal the weakened area. When injury occurs in the case of overuse of a joint, the kidneys and liver are also involved, because the joint may sustain damage if it isn’t receiving a sufficient quality of nourishment and moistening of qi-energy and blood. 

With acupuncture we can reinforce the energy of kidneys and liver in order to strengthen the bones, muscles and tendons to allow them to heal properly and prevent future injury. We can also encourage circulation of the stuck energy and blood in order to break up the blockages in the injured area and promote healing. Acupuncture provides relief from pain and inflammation, but also encourages healing to the area and a healthier state of functioning, so that the carpal tunnel area is more able to withstand injury and sustain health during frequent use.

James Kaufman is a Registered Acupuncturist at Okanagan Acupuncture Centre, 1625 Ellis St, Kelowna, BC.

14 10, 2010

Golfer’s Elbow

Golfer's elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is similar to tennis elbow except that it occurs on the inside, rather than the outside, of the elbow. Golfer’s elbow involves pain and inflammation on the inner side of the elbow, where the tendons of the forearm muscles attach to the bony bump on the inside of the elbow. Symptoms include pain and tenderness on the inner side of the elbow (which may spread into the forearm and wrist), stiffness in the elbow, weakness in the hands and wrists, and numbness or tingling in one or more fingers (usually the ring and little fingers). The pain may get worse when swinging a club or racket, squeezing or pitching a ball, shaking hands, turning a doorknob, flexing the wrist towards the forearm, or picking something up with the palm facing down.

Golfer's elbow is caused by damage to the muscles and tendons that control the wrist and fingers. The damage is typically caused by excess or repetitive stress, particularly forceful wrist and finger motions, but it can also be caused by a sudden force or blow to the elbow or wrist. Golfer's elbow is not limited to golfers- many activities can lead to golfer’s elbow including racket sports, throwing sports, weight training, and any activity that uses repetitive wrist, hand or arm movement such as typing, painting, or hammering.

Rest is the best medicine for golfer’s elbow. But golfer’s elbow that has not been allowed to heal properly or using the arm too strenuously before it has properly healed can lead to chronic elbow pain, a limited range or motion, or a lasting, fixed bend in the elbow. Analyzing what motions are causing the problem can help you to change your habits to reduce stress on the elbow. Exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles of the forearm can also help recovery and prevent re-injury.

Acupuncture can be a great option for dealing with golfer’s elbow and promoting proper healing. With golfer’s elbow, and all types of musculo-skeletal injuries, pain is caused by stagnation of qi-energy and blood. Acupuncture treatment focuses on removing the blockage and helping the energy and blood to flow again in order to remove pain and resolve the symptoms of an injury such as golfer’s elbow.

In addition, we look at what underlying factors have influenced the body’s health and weakened the elbow or made it vulnerable to injury. In Chinese medicine (TCM), almost every musculo-skeletal disorder also has some relevant underlying imbalance or contributing lifestyle factor, whether it be our occupation, the exercise or sports we choose, our nutrition and diet, or our genes. Understanding a person’s general health gives an acupuncturist insight into the internal imbalances that can further contribute to an injury. By also treating these underlying factors, we are actually strengthening the injured area and improving health, with the goal of preventing future reoccurrence.

In this way, acupuncture not only relieves symptoms of golfer’s elbow, but goes further to address the heart of the problem and promote proper healing, unlike other treatments which may serve only to relieve symptoms. Indeed, acupuncture can help you get back on the course and into the swing of things.

James Kaufman is a Registered Acupuncturist at Okanagan Acupuncture Centre, 1625 Ellis St, downtown Kelowna, BC.