Published: 05/24/2010 - Updated: 07/20/2016
Pain is a major issue in medicine and its control remains one of the greatest challenges for any type of therapy. These include Traditional Chinese Medicine which is the oldest and still in use, and is constantly renewed, which makes it the most skilled health care system in history. Developed through reflection and observation over thousands of years, yet today it is widely used to treat a wide range of diseases, among which are the various types of pain.
We all suffer pain or disability at one time or another in our lives. Pain is an unpleasant experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. It may occur by accident or injury, cancer, arthritis, rheumatism, by an enormous variety of physical and even psychological and emotional disturbances. It can affect the head, torso, regardless of the limbs or internal organs, causing various kinds of pain, including migraine, sore throat, shoulder pain, joint pain, abdominal pain or back pain, to name some of the more frequent.
Relation pain - protection
Whatever the cause, the pain, especially chronic pain, goes beyond mere physical discomfort. It limits everyday activities and can wear the functional capacities of suffering. But in reality, the pain is the way in which the body protects itself from further damage, is an alarm system that alerts the person that something is going wrong; it calls your attention to a problem possibly more dangerous. In this sense, we can say that to avoid pain by detecting and treating the source is to prevent the development of more severe illness.
The explanations about pain are different according to the medical paradigm. Conventional Western medicine understands that signals associated with pain are transmitted through the nervous system specialized cells found in skin and other tissues. These cells respond to noxious stimuli such as injury, inflammation or tissue damage. Immediately after receiving the stimulus, the receptors emit a series of chemical and electrical signals that travel through neurons to the spinal cord, and through it to the brain, where they eventually are interpreted as pain.
Chinese medicine has a different view of conventional medicine.
Considers that the body maintains a permanent and dynamic balance between reward and containment systems (characterized as Yin and Yang) and among the substances that vitalize the Qi (vital energy) and blood, Qi and blood and travel the body for a few specific and well defined channels, the meridians and collaterals. When there is not enough Qi or blood (situations of 'empty' or 'failure') or when these substances tend to stagnate in a given area ('excess'), there is an imbalance between Yin and Yang, internal organs stop working optimally, and develop the disease and pain.
Whatever the cause, pain can have many origins. Acute pain is generally characterized as fast, of relatively short duration, normal functioning of central and peripheral nervous systems, predictable disease patterns, and in most cases, favorable prognosis. In terms of conventional medicine, often the result of a wound or a surgical procedure causes inflammation. Usually subsides and disappears quite easily by having the appropriate therapy or treatment developed the immediate cause (for example, postoperative).
Chronic pain is completely different. It's the kind of pain that is often more disturbing, among other things because it lasts longer than it is supposed to (for example, persists for months or years after surgery or traumatic injury). This type of pain is often difficult to relieve or cure, and can occur even without physical cause tissue damage or justification. The fact is that many cases and types of chronic pain (fibromyalgia, for example) cannot be clearly explained from the point of view of conventional medicine. It is noted with some frequency that there is tissue damage or, if it existed, has been repaired, but the pain continues, can be very debilitating and depressing, and requiring specific treatment.
Apart from tissue damage, there are other symptoms associated with the onset of pain, such as muscle tension, spasms, stiffness or weakness. It can happen to a degree of mobility or loss of functionality, related to the patient voluntary restrictions imposed to avoid the pain hurts. It was observed that regardless of the cause, persistent or chronic pain is aggravated by the feelings of frustration, anger or fear, which make it more intense and needs difficult treatment.
Chronic pain is aggravated by stress, frustration, anger and fear at the same time, the pain itself causes these feelings that feed back.
In short, the pain, especially chronic pain interferes with normal activities of life and physical and emotional level. We can affirm that this type of pain can greatly reduce the quality of life of patients, both in purely physical, psychological and even social. Chronic pain is a major cause of suffering and disability in the world today.
We are witnessing a growing inability of conventional medicine against certain types of chronic pain. When there is no tissue damage or a cause that can frame clearly within their neurological or anatomical paradigms, the doctor is forced to inform the patient impotence. Phrases such as 'there is nothing wrong', 'is edgy', 'comes from the tension', 'is all in your head' or in medical language, 'is idiopathic', you hear constantly in any consultation. The solution offered is to try to tackle drugs for the neural pathways of pain impulse transmission, which, at best, when relieves or eliminates pain, is depriving the body of your alarm system that can be concealing the development of major diseases. Not to mention tolerance or side effects of most synthetic painkillers and anti-inflammatory when have used for a long time.
Fortunately more and more conventional physicians refer their patients with difficult inquiries to Chinese Medicine to evaluate the potential of acupuncture or herbs in the management of pain. Specifically, acupuncture is validated by the WHO as highly effective in this field.
Effects of treatment in Chinese Medicine:
- Completely relieves or significantly reduces pain
- Regular sensitivity thresholds
- Improves the ability to manage pain
- Regulates emotions
- Increases life energy
- Increases the ability to perform daily functions
- Improves quality of life
- Reduces or eliminates potentially harmful medication dependency
How Chinese Medicine reduce pain?
First, the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) considers the self as a single and indivisible thing. This means, first, that the diagnostic value all functional systems that make up the individual (emotional, mental and physical energy), and secondly, that all signs and symptoms are considered personal, own expressions of disharmony, from an individual, unique and unrepeatable. There is no 'disease' but an imbalance in the interaction of an individual with the environment, or between various components of their own systems.
Once certain patterns of disharmony that have afflicted the patient and cause pain are found, it establishes the general principles of therapy that are directed, first, to alleviate or eliminate the pain itself, but on the other will focus also solve the basic problem or disorder, to restore all your body to a state of harmony where the pain as the alarm is useless. Within the therapeutic principles, the unlocking, facilitate the flow and restore normal movement is always high on pain relief.
The TCM treatment focuses on eliminating the pain and disharmony that produces basic.
It is not only analgesia, but a deep reharmonization body
Following the establishment of therapeutic principles is the treatment, which used one or more of the techniques of Chinese Medicine: acumoxa, pharmacopoeia, Tuina and qigong.
The treatments usually offered on a consultation with MTC are:
Acumoxa: This would be the literal translation of the Chinese term 'zhenqiu', but is usually translated simply by 'acupuncture'. It is based on the existence of energy channels (meridians) that regulate all aspects of the body, both psycho-emotional and physical, and provide certain access points (acupuncture points) that control its flow. Stimulation of these points can be made by metal instruments, generally very fine needles (acupuncture), or by the selective and concentrated heat (moxibustion).
Both techniques, acupuncture and moxibustion, have a long history and experience, and therefore, there are different schools and ways to implement them. Acupuncture model was promoted by China since the 50s, and currently the most widespread in the West, promulgates the introduction of needles at varying depths, usually from a few millimeters to about two or three inches, depending on the person and problem concerned, and which now offers possible explanations for the neurological level, more satisfactory to the Western medical setting. However, other styles of acupuncture, as evolved in Japan, just introduce the needles into the body, so that its results fully comparable with those of their Chinese counterparts, are more difficult to understand from the neurological model established, we have, therefore think that, indeed, the handling of certain points of the body has effects that neuroscience is still unable to define and the inquiry into the reasons for its action is an exciting field of research today.
Pharmacopoeia and dietetics: In TCM, there is not always set a sharp division between these areas in the West but more often is that, to some extent, overcomes the diet to focus on the Pharmacopoeia or, as they say, herbal medicine (healing through herbs). This is a discipline even older than acupuncture, and, although based on different parameters of the molecular composition of the so-called 'active', provides an experience that helps ensure their effectiveness and safety.
Tuina: The set of maneuvers or manual techniques that run on the body, shortening, could be described as "Chinese massage", but includes handling exercises, rehabilitation and massage. Its therapeutic area naturally includes musculoskeletal problems, but as is also based on energy flow and its global regulation, is used in treating internal disharmony or disease, for instance, diabetes.
The methods are compatible and combinable, which employs one or more of them depends on what the patient needs, their characteristics and also what the therapist is able to offer. Overall, whatever the particular art to which recourse, Chinese Medicine offers a different view of the problem of pain, and its holistic approach, coupled with the variety of proven techniques, you can offer relief and solution many cases that are difficult or impossible referred from other medical paradigms.
Source: College of TCM - Guang An Men Clinics