What does getting better look like when using Chinese medicine and acupuncture?

Progress and clinical success at my clinic can be experienced quite differently compared to using drugs or surgery.

• For people who had complete relief or otherwise fully achieved their clinical goals, we can look back in their chart and see that some treatment days or weeks were better than others.

• Sometimes people notice improvement right away, sometimes over the next day or two. We know the results of an office procedure within 1-2 days of the session.

• Sometimes the treatment can occasionally irritate the problem initially and then feel better later. When symptoms return, they are less intense than pre-treatment.

• It is normal for symptoms to fluctuate anyways, especially those influenced by activity and stress levels. We keep track of it all, looking for the trend and adapting care as events warrant.

• Before treatment starts, it is not common for people to follow their symptoms with a high level of detail especially objective detail. After we start working on the issue, we tend to pay more attention which of itself can change the experience of the problem.

• In general there are 2 phases of healing. First we deal with the legacy of the situation, i.e. the accumulation of stress on the system from the past. There is then a phase where healing the past is over and we then aim to increase performance out of the affected system, so that damage from ongoing circumstance (perhaps beyond our control like a job situation) do not cause trouble.

It can be difficult remembering how bad a situation was before care started. If you are not certain how you are doing, lets talk about it and look through your chart. I once had a patient with knee pain who was sad that she could not hike 5 miles like she used to, even after 3 weeks of care. 3 days before her next session she had tried the long hike and failed due to pain. I was able to reassure her with her chart notes.

At her first appointment, she could not walk from the car park to the office and had to have her husband drop her off due to the pain. She had been this bad for 6 months before acupuncture, while in hesitation about whether to do surgery or not. On the day we addressed her progress concerns, she had come in unaided from the car park and in fact had several 1-2 mile hikes in her chart (from second week of care), where she only had 1/3 to 1/2 the pre-treatment pain level.

This was an otherwise normal, emotionally healthy person who simply lost track of this fine level of detail due to being very busy in her life, and also feeling the sting of recent failure.

Looking at the trend was all the reminder she needed to to continue care through to successfully getting back to her long hikes pain free. She did not need surgery within one year follow up, the medical cause of the pain was really one of trigger points and neuropathic pain more than being due to the findings on the MRI.