Acupuncture Relieves Neck Pain and Numbness

Healthcare Medicine Institute

Acupuncture relieves neck pain and numbness and reduces levels of proinflammatory blood cytokines. Researchers conclude that warm needle acupuncture has a 92.05% total effective rate for the treatment of pain, numbness, and radiating discomfort due to cervical spondylosis with radiculopathy. This is a condition wherein there is spinal and soft tissue degeneration in the neck causing nerve impingement with subsequent pain or numbness. Acupoints for cervical radiculopathy. The symptoms often radiate from the neck to the shoulders, chest, back, and limbs. In addition, acupuncture successfully reduces blood levels of tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-a) and the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-1 beta (IL1β) and interleukin 6 (IL6).

A total of 169 patients participated in the hospital study. Most of the patients experienced pain upon stretching and all patients had a limited range of motion of the neck. Patients demonstrated significant reductions in neck, shoulder, and limb pain as a result of acupuncture treatments. Acupuncture also significantly relieved numbness in these areas.

Two groups were compared. One group received conventional acupuncture and the other group received warm needle acupuncture. The warm needle acupuncture group received a combination of moxibustion with acupuncture and had a 92.05% total effective rate. The conventional acupuncture group had an 81.48% total effective rate.

The acupuncture with moxibustion group received needling at the following acupuncture points and moxibustion at the acupoints and surrounding areas:

  • Jingjiaji, Jiaji points on the neck
  • Jianjing, GB21
  • Fengchi, GB20
  • Shousanli, LI10
  • Dazhui, DU14
  • Yanglingquan, GB34
  • Feishu, BL13

The conventional acupuncture group was needled at the following acupuncture points:

  • Dazhui (Bailao), DU14
  • Jianzhongshu, SI15
  • Zhongzhu, SJ3

Needling of the neck. One course of care comprised one treatment per day for six days. All patients received two courses of care. Both groups demonstrated a high effective rate with significant reductions in pain and numbness. In addition, both groups demonstrated significant improvements in range of motion.

A related study finds acupuncture more effective than Meloxicam, a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug, for the treatment of neck disc herniations. A total of 420 patients were investigated in a randomized controlled study. Acupuncture was applied to acupoints:

  • DU14, (Dazhui)
  • BL11, (Dazhu)
  • SI3, (Houxi)

Electroacupuncture connected DU14 and BL11 with a continuous 40 Hz, 2 mA stimulation for 20 minutes. Acupuncture was administered once per day and 10 acupuncture treatments consisted of one treatment course. A day off was taken following the first course. This was followed by another treatment course. The drug group received a 7.5 mg tablet of Meloxicam at a rate of once per day. The oral tablet was taken in the evening for a total of 20 days.

Of the 207 electroacupuncture patients, 145 patients recovered in the short-term. Of the 208 drug patients, 93 recovered in the short-term. Improvements also occurred in an additional 53 acupuncture patients and 90 medication patients. The electroacupuncture group had 9 poor responses and the drug group had 25 poor responses to treatment in the short-term.

Electroacupuncture produced significantly greater positive patient outcomes than the medication group for 95% recovery and significant levels of improvement groups. Of the 207 electroacupuncture patients, a total of 180 patients had a 95% recovery in the long-term. Of the 208 drug patients, 142 patients had a long-term 95% recovery. Electroacupuncture caused 25 patients to improve significantly. The medication caused 52 medication patients to improve significantly.

Poor results for electroacupuncture were limited to 2 patients and 14 medication patients had poor results in the long-term. The researchers note, “With a randomized controlled multi-centered large-sampled method, this study has shown that the EA (electroacupuncture) group was better than the medication group in comparing both short-term and long-term therapeutic efficacies.”
Ye, Y. X., Xu, L. & Yao, J. (2015). The Clinical Observation on Acupuncture Thermal Moxibustion Combined with Convention Acupuncture in Treatment of Acute Cervical Spondylotic Radiculopathy. Journal of Emergency in Traditional Chinese Medicine. 24(6).

Wang WJ,Lu J,Niu CS,et a1.Effects of electroacupuncture of unilateral and bilateral “zusanli”(ST 36) Oil seixlm TNF— alpha.IL—l and IL一4 levels in rats with chronic inflammatory pain[J].ZhenCiYan Jiu,2010,35(6):429—432.

Pei J,Wei H,Liu ZD.Effects of moxibustion on the expression of IL—lbeta.IL一2,IL一6 mRNA and protein in the cerebral cortex in tumor beating mice [J] .ZhenCiYahJiu,2010,35(4):243—249.

Wu, Yao-chi, Jun-feng Zhang, Yi-jun Sun, Cheng-fei Huang, Ping Shao, and Gui-zhen Liu. “Clinical study on electroacupuncture for cervical intervertebral disc herniation.” Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science 11, no. 6 (2013): 371-374.

Sun SC, Sun ZG. Clinical Orthopaedics and Traumatology. Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House, 2006: 750.

Xu LB, He YY. The effect of Du Meridian-regulating therapy on immunoglobulins in cervical intervertebral disc herniation. Shanghai Zhenjiu Zazhi, 2011, 30(9): 615-616.

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Majority in U.S. Say Chiropractic Works for Neck, Back Pain

by Cynthia English and Elizabeth Keating

September 8, 2015

Story Highlightschiropractor-and-patient

Two-thirds say chiropractic effective for neck, back pain

• Many adults say chiropractors think of patient’s best interest

• More than 33 million U.S. adults saw a chiropractor last year

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Chiropractic care has a positive reputation among many U.S. adults for effective treatment of neck and back pain, with about six in 10 adults either strongly agreeing (23%) or agreeing somewhat (38%) that chiropractors are effective at treating these types of pain.

These findings come from the first-ever nationally representative annual survey of U.S. adults measuring perceptions of and experiences with chiropractic care. Chiropractic care focuses on neurological and musculoskeletal health, and aims to favorably affect overall health and well-being, relieve pain and infirmity, enhance performance, and improve quality of life without drugs or surgery. Palmer College of Chiropractic, the founding and largest college of chiropractic in the world, commissioned Gallup to design and conduct this study of 5,442 adults, aged 18 and older, in the U.S.

Read the full article here: 2015 Gallup study on chiropractic

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Beat the Heat and Increase Your Antioxidants at the Same Time

watermelonImage2By Brittany S. Wilson, LMT

This summer has been one of the hottest on record for the Pacific Northwest, which makes it much easier for us to become unknowingly dehydrated. During the heat waves, have you felt sluggish? More tired than usual? Have muscle weakness? Dizziness? Slow thought processes? These are all symptoms of dehydration.

Drinking water is the best way to stay hydrated, but if you are getting a little bored with pounding 8-10 glasses of water a day, consider getting some of your daily water from fruits and veggies, which typically make up about 20% of our daily water intake. A favorite among the staff at Equilibrium, with the second most water content of any fruit or vegetable after iceberg lettuce, is watermelon.

Ultra Hydrating: The amazing watermelon has a whopping 93% water content. One cup is considered a serving, but it is awfully easy to chow down on twice the amount of this refreshing fruit during a heat wave.

Nutrient Dense: Don’t be fooled by this watery fruit: Leading scientific research has returned some surprising additional health benefits besides hydration. Watermelon supplies high levels of lycopene-a carotenoid phytonutrient that is essential to cardiovascular and bone health that many only associate with tomatoes. Lycopene is a well-known antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body, and is responsible for the watermelon’s reddish pink colored flesh. Watermelon is also an excellent source of Vitamin C. If you eat the seeds, your body gets added zinc and iron.watermelonImage3

Reduces Muscle Soreness: Watermelon is rich in the amino acid citrulline, which our kidneys process and turn into another amino acid, arginine. A common enzyme in our body, nitric oxide synthase (NOS), uses arginine to produce a small molecule of gas, nitric oxide (NO). NO acts as a muscle relaxer by telling the smooth muscle in our blood vessels to relax, which decreases blood pressure and increases blood flow and muscle relaxation.

Don’t Just Survive, Thrive During the Heat WaveHeatWaveImage

Stay healthy this summer and all year round: drink 8-10 glasses of water a day, supplement your water intake with vegetables and fruits high in water content, and pay attention to the warning signs of dehydration. For more information on the health benefits of watermelon, please visit the World’s Healthiest Foods webpage at

Try This: Summer Tomato-Watermelon Salad with Feta and Almonds

(Adapted from Epicurious)

8 cups 1 1/4-inch chunks seedless watermelon (about 6 pounds)
3 pounds ripe tomatoes (preferably heirloom) in assorted colors, cored, cut into 1 1/4-inch chunks (about 6 cups)
1 teaspoon (or more) fleur de sel or coarse kosher salt
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped assorted fresh herbs (such as dill, basil, and mint)
6 cups fresh arugula leaves or small watercress sprigs
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 5 ounces)
1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

To Assemble:watermelonImage
Combine melon and tomatoes in large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon fleur de sel or kosher salt and toss to blend; let stand 15 minutes. Add 4 tablespoons oil, vinegar, and herbs to melon mixture. Season to taste with pepper and more salt, if desired.

Toss arugula in medium bowl with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Divide arugula among plates. Top with melon salad; sprinkle with feta cheese and toasted almonds and serve.  Enjoy your antioxidants!

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When Stress Hurts

By Brittany S. Wilson, LMT

Our stress response is highly adaptive and functional: it helps us stay alert and focused during times of StressResponseImageemergency and increases our strength and stamina, all in preparation for the fight or flight response. The nervous system responds to a sense of threat by releasing the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which help enact a chain reaction: blood pressure rises, breathing quickens, and muscles tense. These physical responses prepare the body to defend itself or to quickly flee danger.  Body systems not needed for survival of an emergency become a lower priority: Digestion, immune response, and tissue repair all begin to slow down.

While the body’s stress response acts expertly to protect the body from danger, it has a more difficult time discerning whether that danger is real or imagined. You may experience all of the physical symptoms of fight or flight response during a confrontation with a coworker or if you are rushing to meet a deadline. If we don’t allow our body to return to homeostasis, the calm and balanced state we thrive in, these daily stressors can accumulate and manifest as disease, pain and chronic stress conditions.

Common Physical Symptoms of Chronic Stress:

•  Constipation and/or diarrhea (lowered digestive response)

•  Insomnia, or waking up feeling unrested

•  Rapid heartbeat

•  Lowered sex drive

•  Muscular pain and/or headaches

•  Changes in weight

•  Depression

Stress & Pain

TriggerPointImageChronic stress that leads to chronic muscle tension may play a role in the development of myofascial trigger points- or the muscle “knots” that often cause us a lot of agony. A trigger point is a palpable nodule within a taut band of muscle that is sensitive to touch and pressure. It may respond to pressure with localized pain or refer pain to another area of the body.

Tension headaches and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain are two common conditions that can be caused by stress and trigger points. Research has indicated that trigger point manual therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic treatment can release tension within trigger points, resulting in lowered frequency and severity of tension headaches and muscle tension surrounding the TMJ, alleviating jaw/facial pain.

Managing Your Stress Levels

There are several daily activities you can integrate into your lifestyle to help keep stress in check and prevent it from becoming a literal pain in your neck.

  • BE PRESENT. Spend at least 20 minutes a day unplugged from the phone, computer and TV, and allow time to mentally process your daily stresses, instead of avoiding them.
  • EAT HEALTHY. Maintain a balanced healthy diet by incorporating as many whole foods into your meals while limiting sugars and processed foods. A healthy body is better equipped to handle stress, and helps bolster a suppressed immune system.
  • PRIORITIZE SLEEP. Make an effort to get between 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and stick to a sleep routine. Try not to alter your sleep routine by more than two hours on the weekends.FunnyMassageImage

Massage, Acupuncture, and Chiropractic for Stress & Pain

Manual therapies have long been known to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is considered the antidote to the “fight or flight” response. This “rest and digest” mode is a major stress reducer. It helps boost immune response, stimulates peristalsis (increasing the digestive and excretory process) and slows the heart rate.

In addition, these therapies can directly target myofascial trigger points, resulting in a decrease of muscular and joint pain. Simply making time for yourself to receive a massage, acupuncture, or chiropractic treatment can be the first step in committing to a lower stress lifestyle. Contact Equilibrium today to get started!

Arendt-Nielson, L. 2015. Headache: Muscle Tension, Trigger Points and Referred Pain. International Journal of Clinical Practic.69(8-12).

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Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

By Regina Chanté

bakery_assortmentI am cautious about calling out individual foods as being the source of our suffering without seeing the bigger picture.  We have to also take into account additives in our foods, water, air, medications, cleaning agents and toxins in our home and office environments that may, collectively, wreak havoc on our immune systems. Having said that, many people in my practice and personal life are going gluten-free and feeling better. If reducing aggravating foods to reduce internal inflammation and histamine overload helps us think and feel better then that’s a good place to start. Reduced inflammation also means you can you can experience greater relaxation and circulation from your massage and bodywork! Below are five common symptoms of gluten intolerance:

1. Headaches and/or migraines can be common after eating gluten.

2. Gastrointestinal (GI), stomach, and digestive issues. This can show up as one or more of the following: bloating, queasiness, gas, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, constipation, or an alternating combination of both – IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

3. Fatigue can appear chronically or after every meal that contains gluten. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a syndrome, not a disease. If a doctor diagnoses you with CFS, they are simply stating they cannot locate the cause of your fatigue.

4. Sudden changes in mood and emotions. Irritability or irrational changes in feelings can also be a symptom.

5. A number of neurological issues can also be present. These include: difficulty balancing, dizziness, and peripheral neuropathy affecting nerves outside the central nervous system which results in pain, weakness, tingling or numbness in the extremities.

To read the full article please click on the link below.

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Levator Scapulae: The ‘Computing’ Muscle

By Brittany S. Wilson, LMT 
LevScapImageBefore you read any further, try this exercise: Take a deep inhale and slowly exhale.

As you exhale, release your shoulders and allow them to drop down into a fully rested position. Did you notice a full inch or more of movement? These are your levator scapulae muscles, and they are rarely relaxed. They are responsible for elevating the shoulders, rotating the head, and keeping the head from falling forward.

Between typing, driving, looking down to text, and holding the phone between the ear and shoulder; the levators are constantly working. Not only are they overworked, they are often the culprit of neck pain, shoulder pain, and the dreaded ‘stiff neck’.  Overuse of these muscles can lead to chronic tension and painful trigger points. Read on for some common bad habits that lead to levator scapulae pain and how to correct them!





Problem: Typing at a desk with a keyboard positioned higher than the elbows, forcing the levators to raise the arms to reach the work surface

Solution: Keyboard and work surface should be level with the elbows in their relaxed state, with the arms at a 90 degree angle, allowing the levators to relax. Consider using a chair with arm supports or keyboard tray to get the perfect angle.

Problem: Holding a phone to the ear, or pinning a phone between the ear and shoulder for extended periods of time

Solution: If talking on the phone is part of your job, consider an ear piece or head set, which will prevent excessive one-sided use of the levator.

Problem: Stress-induced “turtle head” and all around poor posture

Solution: Bring awareness to your posture several times a day by checking in with your head and shoulder position relative to the rest of your body. Roll shoulders back and down into a natural, resting position. Allow the head to float up and back to sit on top of the body, avoiding the “forward head” posture that excessively lengthens and strains the levators.

If you are dealing with neck and shoulder pain, chiropractic and massage therapy can not only alleviate symptoms, but help address and correct any dysfunction within the structures. Treatments include cervical (neck) adjustments and manual therapy not only on the levators, but the trapezius, splenii muscles, sternocleidomastoid and scalenes, all important muscles that work together to ensure proper function of our head, neck and shoulders. Make an appointment with one of our providers to get an examination and treatment plan underway!

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What is Chiropractic?

healthy_backChiropractic is a type of integrative health care profession focused on the diagnosis and treatment of neurological and musculoskeletal disorders mainly of the spine and extremities.  However, chiropractic care does focus on the body as a whole.  It is a non-invasive approach to healing, typically without the use of pharmaceuticals.

A chiropractic adjustment, also called a manipulation, is one of the most common procedures completed by a doctor of chiropractic.  The purpose of the chiropractic adjustment is to manually apply a gentle force into joints that have become restricted in their movement, restoring joint mobility due to tissue injury.  This may be caused by a single traumatic event, such as lifting a heavy object.  It may also be cause by sustained postures such as sitting or standing for long periods of time or by repetitive stresses such as computer work or repetitive lifting.  Joints and surrounding tissues can undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and decreased function for people.  Manipulation or a chiropractic adjustment of the affected joints and tissues restores mobility, decreases pain and inflammation, which allows tissues to heal.

What To Expect From Your First Appointment

All of our practitioners are thorough.  They ask questions about your prior, family, and current health history.  The practitioner will then spend time going over your paperwork with you to make sure they have a clear understanding of your health care concerns.  They will proceed with an exam and/or assessment of the areas of concern.  With your permission, they will complete the appropriate treatment, which may include therapeutic exercises and/or nutritional advice.

Call us to schedule your chiropractic appointment.

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Calm Mind, Healthy Body

By Regina Chanté, LMT

ocean-meditationIt is challenging to eat well and have the energy to accomplish our goals if our hormones are out of balance. Likewise, our hormone levels are affected by our diet, sleep patterns, and state of mind. Below are some helpful tips to create a positive mood, stable weight, and increased energy:

*  Ease up on the simple carbs (breads, white pasta, white flour, refined sugars) and gently bump up your tryptophan-rich protein. For vegetarians, protein snacks several times a day might include cottage cheese, nuts & nut butter, cheese, or eggs. Adding colorful veggies and fruits to your meals will release natural sugars into your system more evenly than a quick carby snack.

*  Include a daily dose of healthy fats for balancing your mood, such coconut oil, avocado, nut and olive oil.

*  Add B vitamin complex to your daily regimen. B6, in particular, supports the brain’s production of seratonin, melatonin and dopamine, all very necessary hormones for a peaceful state of mind

*  Gentle to moderate exercise each day revs up mood boosting hormones seratonine and dopamine. No time (or money) for the gym? Try adding a yoga, tai chi, or qigong routine during your lunch break to burn calories, relieve stress, strengthen your core muscles and calm the mind.

*  Substitute herbal teas and lemon water for pop and caffeinated ‘power’ drinks. One of my favorite homemade ’soda’ drinks is fresh lemon squeezed into bubbly mineral water with a touch of Stevia, a natural sweetener with 0 calories and safe for diabetics.

*  Make time throughout the day to breathe deep, meditate, pray, or chant/tone. A perfect way to distract the monkey chatter brain, center and ground in the moment, and collect your scattered energies from the sensory- overload world we live in.

*  Before bed give your body a deeply relaxing stretch routine. Find a good book, and dab some pleasant essential oils to your pillow such as vanilla,  lavender, chamomile, wild orange, marjoram, ylang ylang, frankincense, clary sage or whatever appeals to you. Essential oils have an immediate impact on brain chemistry and provide a more comforting sleep state.

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Acupuncture in Health Care

acupunctureAcupuncture has been employed as a health care modality for over 3,000 years.


Practitioners of this ancient medical practice have experienced clinical success with a variety of health issues.  Today, acupuncture is receiving wide acceptance as a respected, valid and effective form of health care.

When most people think about acupuncture, they are familiar with its use for pain control. But acupuncture has a proven track record of treating and addressing a variety of endocrine, circulatory and systemic conditions.

Acupuncture and modern medicine combined together have the potential to support, strengthen and nurture a patient to regain vital health and well-being.  Evidence also points to positive clinical trials that suggest acupuncture may be a reasonable option for a number of clinical conditions, including addiction, stroke rehabilitation, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, and headache.  Research has also suggested that acupuncture treatment may be helpful for other conditions such as asthma, postoperative pain, myofascial pain and low back pain.

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