Facial Rejuvenation

Over the past few weeks, I have been learning about and using acupuncture for facial rejuvenation. Acupuncture for facial rejuvenation is an excellent option for patients who are looking for a natural approach and want to avoid costly surgery or harmful chemicals like Botox. The treatment involves a series of needles that are placed in the hands, wrists, feet, and ankles for detoxification. Another set of needles is used on specific acupuncture points on the neck and face. The final set of needles is contoured to the wrinkles on the patient's face. When the treatment is complete, there are about 40-50 needles that are used. It's a very complicated procedure, but the results patients have are great!

2014-03-05_needles

For patients who have never had an acupuncture treatment before, it is important to start with a tonifying or "four gates" treatment. This is a combination of points in both hands (LI4) and points in the feet (LV3). This is used to promote general qi circulation and relaxation. Some patients feel a sensation of tingling as they are undergoing the four gates therapy.

After the patient receives the four gates treatment or if the patient has had acupuncture before, the practitioner starts with the full facial rejuvenation protocol, which is described above. After the needles are removed, a facial massage is performed on the patient. This is an important step as it is not only relaxing for the patient but it also reduces the chance of bruising.

The first questions that most patients have are: Does it hurt? What results can I expect?

Some of the needles might be sensitive when inserted, but most of the patients do not even feel them going in. The two areas I have found that are most sensitive on patients are the upper lip and nasal area. As for results, the first thing people notice after treatment is the improvement in tone and texture of their skin. After a few more treatments, patients come back saying that their friends have noticed that, they are "looking well", but they can't put a finger on what has changed. And after more treatments, patients see a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, pores tighten, there's more color in their face, and a better facial skin tone.

I plan on making this a part of my practice, and I hope it is a big part. I have really enjoyed learning about it, practicing it, and hope to learn a lot more as I practice.  

Olympics Post Mortem

To add to last week's blog... Watching the Olympics as chiropractic intern has been really interesting. In the past, while watching I was entertained and amazed at what the athletes could do. Now, I am both of those things, plus I am diagnosing and contemplating what athletes would need for treatment based on the sport they are competing in. I mentioned the moguls last week; the amount of ground reaction forces the athletes take to their knees and low back must be astronomical. As the athletes go through their runs, the commentators mention the multiple surgeries most of the seasoned athletes have had throughout their skiing career.

As a chiropractic physician, I would be an excellent addition to an athlete's training and medical team. By providing preventive care through a tailored treatment plan for the specific athlete, their abilities, and their sport, the athlete would most likely need fewer surgeries with less time taken away from training and competing. I do not think that chiropractic care would remove the need for some surgeries throughout their career simply based on the high amount of force their knees, low back, and posterior kinetic chain take.

2014-02-26_uicfair
Talking to a student at the UIC health fair

Health Fair Benefits

On Thursday afternoon, I participated in a health fair on the University of Illinois (UIC) campus. There were several booths set up with information for students on nutrition, cholesterol screening, exercise, family planning, massage, and many others. At our booth, we had information for students on chiropractic medicine, acupuncture, and other therapies we provide at the National University of Health Sciences Whole Health Center - Chicago. It was a great opportunity for students and teachers to ask questions about what we have to offer and how we can help them. UIC students receive a 50% discount on all services at the Chicago clinic. Most of the students seemed very intrigued about acupuncture. What is it?  Does it hurt? What can it be used to treat? How does it work? Etc...

I had several interactions that might be very beneficial for the NUHS Chicago Whole Health Center. One of the professors at the UIC Nursing School had no idea that we were right in the UIC Marketplace. She has been to a chiropractor in the past for musculoskeletal issues and was very happy with results that she got with treatment. Now, knowing that our clinic is so close and affordable, she took several pamphlets for herself and to share with others at the UIC Nursing School. 

The other interesting conversation I had was with an employee of UIC Campus Care. UIC Campus Care is a self-funded insurance program for students, which offers comprehensive health insurance at a very reasonable cost. She mentioned that they are always looking for chiropractors and other doctors to add to their network. So hopefully at some point in the near future, the NUHS Whole Health Center - Chicago will be one of the preferred providers offering chiropractic care to more UIC students.

When It Rains, It Pours

This week has been what seems like an ongoing nightmare. I have had a host of weather, car and house problems. The below zero temperatures and snowfall have continued here in Chicago during the worst winter I think I have ever experienced. During one of the large snowstorms, water got into the FRM module in my car (not entirely sure what that is, but apparently it controls the lights). So I had to take my car in for some pricey and lengthy repairs. On top of that, we have been re-doing our master bath at home, so our entire apartment is a mess. There are tools, tile and dust everywhere (or at least it seems like it to me). The good news is, by the end of the week, I should have the car repairs taken care of, the tiling should be finished in the bathroom, and we are supposed to have weather above 30º this weekend and into next week.

2014-02-19_bathroom _remodel

De-stressing with the Olympics

One of the joys and stress-free activities I have had this week is watching the Olympics any free chance that I get. I love everything about the Olympics from the pageantry at the opening ceremonies to the amazingly talented athletes, to the sense of national pride everyone gets as they play out. One of the winter Olympics events that blows my mind are the downhill skiing moguls. Skiers absorb the impact of a series of bumps, and then show off their ability to perform turns, flips, and other tricks on a series of jumps. It's one of those sports that as you watch you are not only amazed at what the athletes can do, but also that anyone can actually do it. With the combination of the fast speeds, series of obstacles, and massive flips, it really is one of the most intense and difficult sporting events.

Treating Headaches

In clinic this week, I had a patient present with headaches and sinus congestion. I particularly enjoy treating headache patients, and I feel like it is one of the areas I excel in treating. After going through a physical exam with the patient, I diagnosed the problem as headaches due to cervicogenic tension and sinus congestion. Most of the patient's pain was centrally located over the area of the frontal sinuses. The pain was described as a throbbing sensation, which changes with the weather, and is worse when bending forward. The patient also has neck pain and cervical muscle tenderness associated with myofascial trigger points, which is characteristic of cervicogenic headache patients. 

For treatment, I have been using a combination of soft tissue work including: soft tissue massage, instrument assisted soft tissue massage, pin and stretch, and post isometric relaxation to the tight cervical muscles. I also have been using chiropractic manipulative therapy to the patient's cervical spine, thoracic spine, and cranium. The final therapy I have been using is acupuncture. Acupuncture is particularly good for sinus congestion and helping to drain those structures. 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Over the past two weeks, I have been treating a patient with carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a median nerve entrapment neuropathy, which causes paresthesia, pain, numbness, swelling, and other symptoms in the wrist and hand. The symptoms mainly occur around the thumb, index and ring fingers. These symptoms are due to compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel of the wrist.

The wrist carpal bones and a connective tissue covering called the flexor retinaculum make the carpal tunnel. Several structures pass through the tunnel including: flexor digitorum profundus tendons, flexor digitorum superficialis tendons, and flexor pollicis longus tendon, and the median nerve. Some of the main causes are diabetes, obesity, pregnancy, hypothyroidism, and heavy manual work especially with vibrating tools.  

2014-02-14_hands

The treatment I have been using is a combination of chiropractic manipulative therapy, instrument-assisted soft tissue manipulation, acupuncture, therapeutic exercises, and supplementation. With this combination, I have been able to take the patient from an 8/10 to 1/10 on the visual pain scale with almost no remaining symptoms.

The main chiropractic manipulation I use for carpal tunnel syndrome is called the opponens roll. The doctor takes a contact over the palmer side of the wrist and spreads the flexor retinaculum with a force applied. Patients get a lot of relief with this adjustment due to stretching of the flexor retinaculum and increased cross-sectional area of the carpal tunnel.

Acupuncture has also been a very effective tool in the management of carpal tunnel syndrome, especially with the pain and swelling. Some of the main points I have been using include: Liver 4, Lung (LU) 7, LU8, LU9, LU10, Pericardium (PC) 5, PC6, PC7, PC8, and Heart 7. 

Finally, I recommended that the patient supplement with pyridoxine or vitamin B-6. This has been shown to help with carpal tunnel syndrome by facilitating biosynthesis of pain-relieving serotonin, reducing excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, and a diuretic effect through inhibition of anti-diuretic hormone.

Three Weeks In

The ninth trimester interns have joined us at the NUHS Chicago Whole Health Center. The new interns do not have patients in the beginning of the trimester, so they help out with the tenth trimesters' patients and shadow us. It's a weird feeling knowing that you have people looking up to you. I remember when I started as an intern at this clinic back in September; I was slightly in awe of how much the tenth trimester interns knew and how smoothly they worked with patients. That all comes with time, and now there are new interns that might be feeling the same way.

In my acupuncture course this week, electroacupuncture, cupping, and fire cupping were covered. Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture in which a small electrical current is passed between pairs of needles. Electrical currents have stimulating effects, which can influence the cells, tissues and entire systems. It can be looked at as an amped up form of acupuncture and is particularly good for treating pain. I personally have used electroacupuncture on patients with muscle atrophy and certain pain syndromes.

2014-01-31_cupping
Cupping therapy before and after

Cupping or fire cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a cup is placed on the skin to produce a local area of suction. The suction is created using mechanical devices or by using heat (fire). Cupping is considered safe, but it can cause areas of bruising and swelling following treatment. This therapy is used for respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, and congestion. It is also used for certain gastrointestinal disorders, muscular disorders, and certain types of pain.

The end is very near for me. I received a reminder email from Student Services to petition for graduation. They needed my size for my graduation gown, how I would like my name on my diploma, how many people I expect at the graduation ceremony, etc. This also begins the process of auditing all my classwork and credentials to ensure graduation eligibility. Very exciting!