I once had a professor that said acupuncture is the glue to an adjustment. I have found this statement to be true repeatedly. Sometimes when a patient comes in for chiropractic care and I notice the treatment does not seem to last long enough, I will suggest acupuncture. I have also used acupuncture to confirm the correct diagnosis. I also have found that acupuncture works well to clean up an adjustment. Let me give you an example. If a patient comes in for headaches or migraine issues, sometimes the headache is due to an impingement of the occipital, C1 or C2 area. Many times, we adjust the patient in this area and they can get immediate relief, yet other times it seems to be more difficult. I like to use the adjustment to get pressure off the nerve and acupuncture to reduce the inflammation in the area. Many of my clients have been referred to Botox in the same area, but Botox is a chemical. It is made from the bacteria that causes botulism. Botulinum is a toxin that blocks nerve activity in the muscle. Personally, I would not like to have a bacteria floating around in my system and many of my patients agree. Acupuncture uses no chemicals, but just opens your natural energy pathways to help relax those muscles and reduce the inflammation around it. It may take several frequent treatments, but Botox usually requires monthly to quarterly treatments and can require 30 – 40 shots in the head. Acupuncture treatments may be closer together but slowly they should decrease. When we combine chiropractic and acupuncture, our treatment time greatly decreases and the results begin to show up quicker.
I really enjoy using chiropractic and acupuncture together. Chiropractic keeps the spine and joints aligned and acupuncture seems to reduce the inflammation and help relax the muscles. I have used this combination treatment for many issues such as: plantar fasciitis, knee pain, tendonitis, bursitis, headaches, sciatica, rib pain, bells palsy, and infertility.
Many times, I have treated someone with chiropractic for a specific musculoskeletal condition and have realized the patient’s pain is due to an organ condition. Let me give an easy example. Many times, patients will get mid back pain or pain between the shoulders. We may adjust because it seems like a musculoskeletal condition, but the area of pain continues to return with very little relief from the chiropractic treatment. At this point, I must think outside the box and assume it may be from an organ issue. The most common is stomach. I may ask the patient if they have been having some heartburn issues or digestive problems. If the answer is yes, I will immediately change to acupuncture. We will adjust the mid back to stimulate the nerve in the stomach and then treat with acupuncture to relieve the irritation of the stomach. The patient will then notice immediate relief and the condition’s frequency seems to have lessen. This is how we use a combination of the two practices. If you noticed, the adjustment helped some, but the pain kept coming back. With a little extra help in reducing the organ irritation, the patient was able to heal quicker.
The other interesting point I like to bring up to my patients is how chiropractic is a form of acupuncture. Many of my patients do not realize, that when we adjust certain areas of the spine and joints, we are stimulating acupuncture points. Along the spine we have Bladder points and Governor Vessel points. In Chinese medicine, many of these points deal with musculoskeletal pain as well as Yang issues. Therefore, manipulation of the spine with naturally stimulate these acupuncture points. I personally do not adjust patients after an acupuncture treatment. If I am trying to calm certain meridians down and then I turn around and adjust the spine, I could be stimulating the wrong meridians, therefore ruining my treatment.
I like correlate acupuncture points with chiropractic pain and organ dysfunction. I will give you a simple example. Many times, women will come in with right side hip pain. I always here it is arthritis, or bursitis, or it is hereditary because their mother had the same thing. Yet, these patients will go get injections, therapy, and even hip replacement. Now, it could very well be arthritis, bursitis, or a misalignment of the pelvis. Many times, as a chiropractor, I adjust the pelvis and then the hip, knee, and foot just to rule out all conditions. Sometimes for bursitis we may apply therapy or massage. Yet, if the patient continues to have the pain after conservative treatment and then after medical treatment of injections, I have to think outside the box. The Acupuncture point for this hip pain can indicate biliary/ gall bladder, liver, or kidney dysfunction. Many of these women have a history of diabetes, hypoglycemic, or insulin resistance issue. These conditions fatigues the pancreas and gallbladder enzymes, which can lead to stress with the liver and kidneys (this is why most diabetics have kidney issues). So, when we treat this hip pain, we do not think of just the inflammation and musculoskeletal issue as we do in chiropractic, but we want to associate the systemic issue, as well, to resolve the whole condition. Here we use chiropractic to help align the joint and get pressure off to reduce inflammation and then we add acupuncture to increase blood flow for repairing, reduce the inflammation, and help decrease the pain.
(Acupuncture has many different theories and treatments for this hip pain, but this is a simple example.)
If you are looking for an alternative form of treatment for your condition from: autoimmune pain, headaches, tendonitis, sciatica, low back pain, neck pain, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, and wrist issues. Think about the combination of chiropractic and acupuncture. Open your world to a noninvasive, non- medicated form of treatment. The opioid drug crisis has become rampant in the nation, as well as, in the state of Alabama. I have included current research and statistics on this epidemic. Let’s not make you another number in the game of drugs. Seek a natural alternative and get your body back to an optimal state of health. To learn more visit our podcast “The Common Sense Doctor” or visit our website drcheriejohnson.com
In 2017, Alabama providers wrote 107.2 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons. The average U.S. rate is 58.7 prescriptions. Alabama is almost double in prescriptions per person. Do we not see the need to try something alternative such as Acupuncture and Chiropractic, which requires no drugs for pain and symptom relief.
Research per BCBS
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alabama ranks highest in the nation as having more opioid prescriptions than people with Alabama physicians writing an alarming 5.8 million prescriptions for opioids in 2015. Alabama also ranks number one as the highest prescribing state in the nation for opioid pain reliever prescriptions, according to the CDC.
6.5 percent of BCBS members were on a long-duration opioid regimen in 2015, compared to 3.8 percent nationally.
16.4 per 1,000 BCBS members were diagnosed with opioid use disorder in Alabama in 2016, double that of 8.3 nationally.
29 percent of BCBS members with opioid use disorder received medication-assisted therapy in 2016, compared to 37 percent nationally.
Opioid use disorder diagnoses among BCBS commercially insured members spiked 493 percent from 2010 through 2016.
Among those 45 and older, women have a higher rate of opioid use disorder than do men. Among people younger than 45, men have higher rates of opioid use disorder than women. Women fill more opioid prescriptions than males across all age groups.
Long-duration prescription opioid use and opioid use disorder overlap by region, with the highest rates in the South and the Appalachian Region.
The 65 percent rate of increase in the use of medication-assisted treatments lags behind the 492 percent rate of increase in opioid use disorder diagnoses from 2010 through 2016.
As always, I try to put out a podcast on each subject that we talk about every week. This week, I have two! One of our podcasts this week, we have our special guest again, Dr. Justin Fogo, to discuss with us on the benefits of Chiropractic and Acupuncture together. Please let us know if you listen to it or feel free to share it on social media!
THIS WEEK'S PODCASTS