Acupuncture, Herbs, Reiki
Degeneration of the inter-vertebral disc, often called "degenerative disc disease" of the spine, is a condition that can be painful and can greatly affect the person's quality of life. Disc degeneration is considered a normal part of aging and for most people is not a problem, for certain individuals a degenerated disc can cause severe constant chronic pain.
As people age, these changes tend to show up on the radiographs of most men and women. However, the first imaging modality to detect changes of DDD is MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), even before plain radiographs. Loss of water content (hydration) in the inter vertebral disc is an early finding, which is followed by narrowing of the disc space. People in the 20’s and 30’s may already have changes to their discs but no clinical symptoms. As the aging processes continues, the prevalence of DDD increases.
In the early phases of DDD, spontaneous or post-traumatic tears, degeneration, fibrosis, and collapse of the disc may lead to failure of mechanical function. This is associated with low back pain and possible leg pain if there is nerve root impingement.
Signs and Symptoms:
If degeneration occurs in the lumbar spine, patient could suffer from low back pain, sicatic pain, hip pain,pain radiating to legs, tingling and numbness of foot or toes, and so on.
If degeneration occurs in the cervical spine, patient could suffer from occipital headaches, neck and or shoulder pain, numbness and tingling of fingers, and so on.
Diagnosis is usually done by signs and symptoms verification and X-Ray or MRI.
Treatment of DDD with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine:
According to TCM whenever there is pain, the cause is obstruction of Qi or Blood or both. Acupuncture can unblock the Qi obstruction, and increase circulation of blood to the local area of the pain.
If the patient has cervical DDD, acupuncture is performed on the neck, upper back and surrounding areas. Acupuncture can help the flow of Qi, so there will be less inflammation around the disc and gradually the pain or numbness of fingers may go away. Several visits must be made before noticeable results are seen. Chinese herbal medicine can also be used to reduce inflammation and pain, or to increase circulation of Qi and blood. Certain supplements can also be added to the treatment plan to support body's collagen production and regenerate the disc.
In case of lumbar DDD, acupuncture is performed mostly on the lower back and buttock or leg areas. This will stop the pain and increase circulation to the disc area. After few visits patient will notice a marked reduction of sciatic pain and low back pain. Numbness and tingling of toes and fingers may go away some time later.
Acupuncture research for lumbar pain and sciatica:
Fifty cases of sciatica were treated by Acupuncture, After 3 courses of treatment, 31 cases got cured, 16 cases had marked improvement, 3 cases relatively improved, and the total effective rate was 100%.
[General Hospital of Tianjin Medical University, 300052 Tianjin, China, 2005 Mar]