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Premenstrual Tension (PMT)

Premenstrual Tension (PMT)

Premenstrual tension (PMT) represents a collection of physical and emotional symptoms that a woman experiences in days and weeks before their period. Most women experience some form of PMT of some kind, ranging in severity from anxiety, low mood, irritability, insomnia, bloating and breast tenderness to more severe depression. Acne is also a common symptom of PMT. Acupuncture treats PMT by regulating the body’s energy and blood flow, improving circulation, calming the mind and regulating the menstrual cycle (period). Acupuncture is particularly good at improving mood, treating breast tenderness and regulating the digestion when PMT symptoms upset the stomach. Facial acupuncture can be of particular help when treating acne.

What causes PMT?

The exact cause of PMT isn’t known by doctors. Chinese medicine regulates the organs related to mood and menstruation, which typically alleviates symptoms.

When studying PMT, doctors find that hormone levels are normal, leading them to believe there is an interaction between neurotransmitters (the chemicals of the nervous system) and the hormones. There is a well-respected theory that there’s a deficiency of beta-endorphin, a neurotransmitter that acupuncture has been shown to increase. This is probably the explanation of why acupuncture treats PMT so well.

Specific risk factors include consuming a lot of caffeine, living with a lot of stress, a history of depression and having family members who have also had PMT. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are also found to cause PMT, specifically vitamin D and magnesium.

How is PMT treated by acupuncture?

Acupuncture treats PMT by regulating the energy (Qi) and blood circulation of the body. Acupuncture treats the organs that are related to menstruation and calm the mind. Acupuncture and herbs can help nourish the blood and regulate menstruation. Acupuncture helps improve mood, stop insomnia, and regulate the digestion.

Elbow Pain

Elbow Pain

Elbow pain is one of the four most common categories of pain conditions I see in the clinic. Needless to say, elbows get a lot of use, which translates into wear and tear. In addition to activities we do at work, a lot of the recreational activities we love so much can lead to elbow pain too.

When treating pain, I often recommend twice-weekly treatments for the first few weeks to encourage speedy resolution of pain symptoms. I then follow up with a few more weeks of weekly treatment to consolidate relief and make sure you stay pain-free. After that, we can discuss maintenance strategies.

What are the different types of elbow you treat with acupuncture?

Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) and tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
Golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow are caused by irritation of the tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the elbow joint from overusing the wrist and forearm muscles. The causes of golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow include overuse, improper form/technique in athletic activities (golf, tennis, weightlifting, throwing) or other repetitive motions (manual labor). These conditions are common in athletes, workers performing manual labor, and musicians. The symptoms of golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow are pain and inflammation on the inside (golfer’s) or outside (tennis) of the elbow that may spread to the forearm and wrist, stiffness and weakness, and possibly numbness and tingling.

Bursitis is the inflammation of the small fluid-filled bursae that act as cushions between the bone, tendons, and muscles of joints. The most common causes of elbow bursitis are repetitive motion (athletics or manual labor) and leaning on elbows. Symptoms of elbow bursitis include achy and stiff elbow pain, elbow pain upon movement or pressure, and swelling and redness in the elbow.

The ends of bones are covered in protective cartilage, which prevents the bones from rubbing together in the joint. Osteoarthritis results when this cartilage wears down over time, which means the bones rub together. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disease that causes joints to swell and bones to become deformed when immune cells attack the joint tissues. The causes of arthritis include advanced age, injury, obesity, inactivity, overuse and immune system disorder in the case of rheumatoid arthritis. The symptoms of elbow arthritis include pain, tenderness, stiffness, loss of flexibility, a sound of the grating in the joint, and bone spurs.

How is elbow pain diagnosed by my doctor?

Diagnosing the cause of elbow pain involves:

  • Discussing medical history
  • Physical exam, including assessing pain in the elbow joint
  • Imaging tests, such as X-ray, MRI, or electromyography
  • Fluid or blood tests can detect an infection

What will my doctor suggest as a treatment for elbow pain?

Treatments for elbow pain include:

  • Icing the affected area
  • Rest
  • Over-the-counter and/or prescribed pain medications
  • Physical therapy to increase strength in forearm and wrist muscles and tendons
  • Steroid Injections
  • Surgery and/or joint replacement

More and more orthopedists and other Western medical providers are recommending acupuncture to treat pain. It is not out of the ordinary for your doctor to suggest you get acupuncture treatments before you have a chance to tell him/her you’re going for acupuncture treatment.

How does an acupuncturist diagnose elbow pain

To determine the cause of your elbow pain, I use physical exam techniques, like orthopedic and neurological tests, and range of motion tests. I will also examine the area for inflammation, redness, or other visible manifestations.

How does acupuncture treat pain?

Acupuncture treats pain by improving circulation, reducing inflammation and relaxing spasmed muscles. I use different methods to treat the acute and post-acute condition. I usually use acupuncture, also according to patients’ condition, I choose tui na massage, thermal therapy, moxibustion, cupping, and gua sha (in certain instances) to help support acupuncture treatments.