Many patients suffering from acute and chronic pain seek out the help of a Naturopathic Physician. As in all Naturopathic treatments, it is first necessary to find the cause of the health issue and, then, treat accordingly. Dr. Hitkari, Naturopathic Physician, accomplishes this by taking a patient’s health history, as well as, physical examination and laboratory testing. Treatment plans for pain may include dietary changes, detoxification, anti-inflammatory supplements, food allergy testing, nutrient repletion, acupuncture, Bowen Therapy, and injection therapies such as Biopuncture and Neural Therapy.
Biopuncture is a therapy where specific body locations are injected with biologically active substances used to treat pain, swelling, and inflammation, among other problems.
Neural therapy is a physical therapy that was first developed in Germany and has been safely practiced around the world since the 1940s with great success. It involves the use of Procaine, a well-known local anesthetic, and the same, or similar, biologically active preparations that are used in Biopuncture. These solutions are injected into nerve sites, acupuncture points, scars, muscular trigger points, and other tissues to relieve and treat pain and dysfunction.
Common conditions treated with Neural Therapy include acute and chronic muscular pain, joint pain, arthritis pain, sports injuries, post-traumatic conditions, postsurgical pain, jaw pain, sinusitis, hypothyroidism, hay fever, migraines, head pain, and so on.
How does it work?
Neural therapy is believed to work on the autonomic nervous system, to reset it and try and normalize function. The injected anesthetic numbs the nerve endings within the treatment area by changing their membrane potential. It is the temporary change in the membrane potential of the nerve cell membrane that is the desired effect. When the anesthetic wears off, the expectation is for the membrane potential to return to normal, along with the nerve function.
What is the Autonomic Nervous System?
The autonomic nervous system is a network of nerves that controls all bodily functions, including heart rate, digestion, blood flow, perspiration, breathing, and every other unconscious bodily function. It consists of two divisions: the parasympathetic nervous system which promotes healing and repair, and the sympathetic nervous system which controls our ``flight” or “fight`` response.
Stress on the body, such as mental trauma, physical trauma, infections or toxin exposure results in the activation of our sympathetic nervous system. Once the stress is removed, the body is allowed to return to its previous normal functioning state. Unfortunately, the body does not always respond the way it is supposed to and an area of the body can become caught in the flight or fight state. The compromised area becomes what is termed an ``interference field`` and may result in years of pain, dysfunction, decreased performance and disease. Neural therapy is used to correct the interference field to help normalize and stabilize nerve function.
What to expect when coming in for Neural Therapy?
About six sessions of neural therapy are required to determine the extent of benefit neural therapy will have. For many, improvement will be seen within the first two sessions; however, as one area of the body moves into a healing state, often older traumas, or more deeply-rooted traumas, to the body resurface and have to be addressed.
Acupuncture is a part of one of the oldest forms of medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM is a form of medicine that has a unique way of viewing the body. When it comes to health, TCM has its own theories and treatments including acupuncture, cupping, herbs, nutritional therapy, and physical exercise.
TCM is mainly based on the concept of ‘qi’, also known as ‘vital energy’, that circulates in pathways throughout the body. When these pathways become blocked, the flow of qi is disrupted leading to an imbalance and undesirable symptoms. Acupuncture can help to correct these imbalances to restore health.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the benefit of acupuncture for over 100 different conditions including women's health, infertility, digestive disorders, mental and emotional conditions, anxiety, depression, stress, MVI and sports injuries and pain in general.
When it comes to pain management specifically, acupuncture is beleived to work by:
Reducing muscle spasms
Interrupting the pain cycle
Stimulating the production and release of steroid hormones which, in turn, reduces inflammation
Stimulating the production and release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers
Affecting neurotransmitters, therefore, disrupting pain transmission
Producing a sense of well-being -- mood, sleep, lower overall stress, and more relaxation
Reducing the need for pain, anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxant medication
Making chronic pain less likely to occur
Acupuncture is not only used to address specific complaints but your overall health in general.
A typical acupuncture session takes between 30-45 minutes depending on your individual needs. A series of 6-12 sessions, closely spaced, is highly recommended to achieve the best results.