Archive for tag: patients

Acupuncture and Tourette's Syndrome

This week's blog is about Tourette's Syndrome and acupuncture. I currently have a new patient with Tourette's. I have only seen her twice in the Lombard clinic but I find her case very interesting.

2013-11-12_brainTourette's is an inherited neuropsychiatric disorder, believed to be organic damage to the central nervous system, which is also associated with attention deficit, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Currently, there is no cure for Tourette's, and no medication that works universally for all patients. The medications prescribed have significant adverse effects.

My patient was diagnosed with Tourette's as a young child. She is now 22 years old. She has a dual diagnosis of OCD and anxiety. The patient has very positive outlook. We are working on anxiety, stress and sleep. We are also focusing on muscle jerks and spasm.

2013-11-12_ribbonThere was a very inspiring article I read last week in Acupuncture Today, November 2013 issue, titled "Beating Tourette's Gaining Life." This article talked about Miss Arizona 2013 (also Miss America pageant hopeful) Jennifer Smesthad beating Tourette's. Miss Arizona, like my patient, was diagnosed around age 10 with Tourette's and with the help of herbs and acupuncture controlled the syndrome and brought awareness to Tourette's syndrome.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tourette's syndrome can be understood as Yang excess due to deficient Yin leading to wind. Those show a deficiency in Kidney yin deficiency or Liver yin deficiency leading to Liver yang rising. Acupuncture has a long and successful history in the treatment of the tics, uncontrolled movements, and vocal disturbances of Tourette's syndrome. I hope in the case of my patient, acupuncture can effectively treat her chronic disorder. In other cases, like Miss Arizona and my patient, patients are seeking a better clinical outcome to control and eliminate Tourette's syndrome rather than take western medications.

I used these acupuncture points this week: Buddha triangular on dominant hand, PC6, four gates LI4, LV3, Cv17, Cv14, Yintang, SP6, and St36, KD3, KD6. I cannot wait to see if these points helped my patient this week.

Thank you for your continued support of the AOM blog. Have a great week!

The Michael DeStefano Foundation

This week, I want to tell you about an amazing foundation. It is called the Michael DeStefano Foundation. Michael DeStefano and his family have been such a wonderful inspiration to our AOM clinic every Tuesday morning that I feel compelled to share their story.

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Mike (yellow shirt) with his mother Debbie (scarf)

Michael was born and raised in Addison, Illinois, a suburb just west of Chicago. Mike and his older brother, Nick, have developed a strong friendship. Mike is an enthusiastic sports fan and top-notch athlete. His parents, Pete and Debbie, are loving and devoted parents who taught Michael the values of being loyal, caring, family-oriented, and dedicated.

During his summer break from Illinois State University in 2009, Michael's life tragically changed. While riding home from work with a friend, an unexplainable auto accident occurred, which left Mike clinging to life and suffering from traumatic brain injury. Throughout a long and arduous process, Mike has continued to improve and his recovery has surprised even his doctors, although he still has a long road ahead of him.

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Photos from michaeladestefanofoundation.org

After the accident, the Michael A. DeStefano Foundation was created. The goal of the foundation is to provide advocacy for families who have suffered many hardships as a result of a family member who has traumatic brain injuries.

Michael's mom Debbie has spoken at many events. She spoke to our senior acupuncture seminar class at National University of Health Sciences last trimester.

The foundation is planning a fundraiser in 2014. If you would like more information about the Michael DeStefano Foundation, you can like them on Facebook or go directly to their website: michaeladestefanofoundation.org.

Thank you for your continued support of the AOM blog! Stay warm and have a great week!

Sarcoidosis and Acupuncture

In this week's blog I wanted to share an interesting case that I am currently treating in the veterans' clinic in Lombard. A Vietnam veteran came into the clinic three weeks ago for acupuncture to help with sarcoidosis. He is a 56-year-old black male who was diagnosed sarcoidosis two years ago.

Sarcoidosis is a disease that results from a specific type of inflammation of tissues of the body. It can appear in almost any body organ, but it starts most often in the lungs or lymph nodes. The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown. The disease can appear suddenly and disappear, or it can develop gradually and go on to produce symptoms that come and go, sometimes for a lifetime.

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As sarcoidosis progresses, microscopic lumps of a specific form of inflammation, called granulomas, appear in the affected tissues. In the majority of cases, these granulomas clear up, either with or without treatment. In the few cases where the granulomas do not heal and disappear, the tissues tend to remain inflamed and become scarred (fibrotic). (Mayo Clinic, 2012)

My patient has sarcoidosis in both eyes and has completely lost vision in one. He has sarcoidosis in his spinal cord and lungs. As a result, he is hemiplegic and has suffered many complications. The patient feels that this is result of Agent Orange he inhaled when he served in the Marine Corps during one of his tours in Vietnam.

My patient's symptoms are shortness of breath, fatigue, skin rashes, poor vision, blindness, tinnitus, weight loss, depression, and arthritis in the joints. He also has bowel issues and a Foley catheter, and has a history of diabetes and high blood pressure controlled by medication. He is currently taking over 20 different medications prescribed by the VA hospital.

Acupuncture Points

Acupuncture therapy for sarcoidosis is aimed at draining excess and especially resolving phlegm accumulation. ST-40 (fenglong) is a well-known example of a point used to transform phlegm-damp. Acupuncture may be especially suited to addressing individual constitutional patterns and symptomatic manifestation of the disease (e.g., one might add GB-23,zhejin, in cases of sarcoidosis yielding difficult breathing), while herbal therapies can be used to address the more general characteristics of the disease.

In addition, I have been working with my patient on dietary counseling and Tui Na for arms, hands and shoulders. After the first treatment, my patient has shown improvement with his posture range of motion, and says he feels better after each treatment.

Resource sites: Mayo Clinic 2012 and Subhuti Dharmananda, PhD, director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon, May 2000.

Thank you for your continued support of the AOM blog! Have a great week!

TBI and Acupuncture

Acupuncture can be used as complementary treatment for stroke, head injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I am currently treating a 29-year-old Marine veteran who suffered a stroke and a traumatic brain injury in 2006.

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While there is no definite evidence that acupuncture treatments can cure severe brain injuries, studies and clinical experience demonstrate that victims of brain injury and stroke have a higher chance of recovery and rehabilitation if acupuncture treatment is used soon after the injury.

My patient case is very complex and unique. His acupuncture treatment focus is on his brain injury, stroke and PTSD. His main objective is to bring back feeling and function to his body, help with vision, speech impairments due to apraxia, spasticity (uncontrolled movements) in both his hands, and regulate stress and anxiety.

His TCM DX (diagnosis) is shen disturbance with trauma bi. His treatment strategy is to calm the shen and relieve bi pain. I use scalp acupuncture, but I also incorporate Tui Na (Chinese massage) and Sotai. Sotai is a systematic form of exercise using active and passive exercises. It is similar to kinesiology, but the key to Sotai is correct breathing and a natural balancing of one's weight while moving. Sotai treatments are often immediately effective in reducing the effects of the stress on one's body.

2013-07-30_sotai _footEach time he comes in for treatment he responds well overall. His wife has seen the improvement in his conditions over the past 9 months at our Lombard clinic. His progress has been slow and steady, but significant. He also receives chiropractic treatment, speech therapy, cold laser therapy, massage, equestrian therapy, and intense physical therapy. His motto continues to be Semper Fi!

It is an honor and a privilege to treat him. His dedication and determination is inspiring to me and those around him.

Thank you for your continued support of the AOM blog! Have a great week!