A massage therapist in her late 20s presented with left-sided neck pain and numbness down parts of her left arm and fingers. She also had burning pain on the border of her left scapula. She said she woke up one day and was unable to turn her head due to significant pain. There was no know injury or trauma to the area, but she went to her primary care doctor who sent her for a CT scan. After reviewing her CT scan results, it was clear that her C6 nerve was being affected from a disk herniation at C5-C6. Her pain was an 8 out of 10 (8/10) and she had a very hard time moving her neck in any direction. She was unable to sleep because it hurt even more to lie down. She stated that the pain medication she was put on causes her to feel depressed and too lethargic to be able to even drive. She was also taking prescription muscle relaxers that she states wasn’t helping much with her pain.
We began acupuncture treatments using all distal points and nothing locally in the area of her pain. She had immediate pain reduction within 10 minutes into her first treatment. She was sent home with Chinese herbal medicine to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and begin to stimulate tissue and nerve regeneration in the area of the spine that was affected. She followed some food therapy recommendations to help recover even faster. Because she was a massage therapist, she was unable to work while she was in so much pain, so she felt stressed about getting back to work. After 5 treatments, she was back to work and we were able to continue neck exercises and lifestyle changes to help prevent this re-occurrence in the future. She continued to get acupuncture treatments every other week for a couple months, which also involved cupping and gua sha (scraping) therapies.