Why see a specialist?

Have you ever wondered why there are specialists in different fields of medicine?

Why can't General Practitioners do everything themselves?

These are questions that we feel are relevant and that more people should ask of all their healthcare providers. Why do we have Dermatologists, Oncologists, Optometrists, Dentists, Hematologists, etc.

The answer is simple. 

Because the body is incredibly complex with so many different systems that no one can become an expert in everything. 

Those who try are often a "Jack of all Trades, Master of None." 

That is why we at Access Acupuncture have chosen to specialize in areas that we find fascinating and helpful to the majority of our patients. 

A.J. has spent years of postgraduate training in Pain Management, Physical Medicine, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. 

Monica has spent years of postgraduate training in Women's Health and Fertility. 

If you know of anyone in need, feel free to forward them a copy of this email and let them know that we are here to help. 

Drs. A.J. & Monica Sarrat

Joint Pain

Almost all of us at one time or another suffer from some type of overuse syndrome which leads to joint pain, so today we will focus on tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis which is a common complaint in any acupuncture clinic.  There are several types of acupuncture treatments for a diagnosis of tennis elbow and one of them is very interesting.  It is a treatment where no needles are used in or around the elbow.  Instead the needles are placed around the knee!!  What’s even more amazing is that most times there is immediate relief.

There was a study published in the British Journal of Rheumatology, Dec, 1994 in which a placebo controlled, single blind trial was completed by 48 patients.  After being examined, half of the patients were given “placebo” acupuncture in which needles never punctured the skin, and the other half were given needles in and around the knee joint, nowhere near the elbow pain.

Of the 24 patients who received “real” acupuncture in the knee, 19 patients or over 79% reported immediate pain relief of at least 50% where only 6 of the 24 patients receiving placebo acupuncture reported pain relief.  The average duration of pain relief was 20.2 hours for the real acupuncture as opposed to 1.4 hours for the placebo group.This is a very significant finding showing that there is an intrinsic pain relieving effect in the clinical treatment of tennis elbow pain with acupuncture, which exceeds that of a placebo.

Compensation and Pain

What happens to the tires on your car when your wheels are out of alignment?  They become worn unevenly and much too quickly.  The same thing happens to our joints when our skeleton is out of alignment.  Your major joints like the ankles, knees, hips, spine and shoulders are forced to work in a position they aren’t meant to.  They become worn unevenly which produces pain.

Pain is the body’s warning light that something is wrong.  If you ignore these warning lights for too long, serious damage can occur.  The next question is why are we out of alignment?  The answer is because our postural muscles (those responsible for holding our bodies correctly) have become too weak because of our sedentary lifestyles.  Any muscle that is not used in 24-72 hours will start to atrophy or weaken.  The best and longest lasting solution to this common problem is to use our postural muscles daily to strengthen them so they can do their jobs correctly.  If these muscles are not used regularly (and properly), other muscles will have to be recruited to do something they were not designed for.  This is called compensation.

Compensation causes our bodies to shift even more out of alignment and worsens the problem.  In my clinical experience treating thousands of patients, compensation is a MAJOR cause of pain and other bodily dysfunction.  We can easily understand how compensation can cause physical pain in muscles and joints, but improper posture also causes crowding of the organs.  When there is organ crowding, there is insufficient blood flow which leads to decreased organ function.

Our bodies are designed to be symmetrical so one side looks like a mirror image of the other.  We are also designed to have our major load bearing joints in a straight line from the ankle through the knee, hip, shoulder and ear so we can use our bones to fight gravity instead of incorporating the wrong muscles to pull us back into position. One of the best ways to take control of our postural misalignments is through the use of specific corrective exercises.  The exercises should not be chosen by symptoms alone, but by objective measurements of your body.  Only then can the root cause of your dysfunction be addressed.

Most times even if you ignore the chief complaint or symptom and use the patient’s skeleton as your guide, when their alignment changes for the better the symptoms decrease significantly or go away altogether.  Through the use of corrective exercises, the patient becomes empowered and starts to take control of their health.  Any therapy such as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, etc. will be much more effective on a frame that is structurally sound.  A dysfunctional body is likely to keep breaking down until it is either fixed or beyond repair.

Effects of Posture on Physiology

American Journal of Pain Management

Postural and Respiratory Modulation of Autonomic Function, Pain, and Health
John Lennon, BM, MM, C. Norman Sheeley, MD, Roger K. Cady, MD
William Matta, PhD, Richard Cox, PhD and William F. Simpson, PhD

AJPM 1994: 4:36-39 (American Journal of Pain Management)

Despite considerable evidence that posture affects physiology and function, the significant influence of posture on health is not addressed by most physicians. In fact, neither comprehensive postural nor structural evaluation is a routine part of training in physical diagnosis, and most osteopathic physicians do not describe postural/spinal mechanics in their usual patient evaluations.

Observation of the striking influence of postural mechanics on function and symptomatology have led to our hypothesis that posture affects and moderates every physiologic function from breathing to normal hormonal production. Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse, and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture.  The most significant influences of posture are upon respiration, oxygenation, and sympathetic function. Ultimately, it appears that homeostasis and autonomic regulation are intimately connected with posture.  The corollary that these observations that many symptoms, including pain, may be moderated or eliminated by improved posture.