There are very few of medical managements that carry the capacity to promote healing process. Acupuncture proves to be one of the most effective healing art through practice for thousand years. But this unique feature has still not been well known yet. Many people are only aware of or advised to explore these options: either have surgery which is not guaranteed to eliminate your pain or maintain a lifelong dependency on addictive medications to help you make it through each day. Those options, however, are not the last resort. Acupuncture has been used in Western Society for over 40 years, and it has been especially utilized for its analgesic benefits. Howard is a patient at Empire Medicine that uses acupuncture as a means of pain management at beginning after he had tried almost everything under the Sun. On his unique journey with acupuncture, he has taken the fast track towards an improved quality of life, obtaining relief from pain and an added benefit of aggressive healing.
Howard, a bona fide bagel lover and esteemed lawyer on the south shore, suffered from atypical trigeminal neuralgia (face pain) due to having surgery to remove a failed bridge. After trying physical therapy and having three teeth erroneously removed, things got worse, a quarter of his teeth removed for just the relief of pain. He lost his teeth but gained unbearable pain. So, he had to change, he obtained the best facial pain expert in the United States an entrusted his faith in him fully. “Dr. Tanenbaum swore, ‘you [have to] do acupuncture because acupuncture is going to do two things for you; It’s going to work on the pain and you’re going to start healing.’ That was the big issue -I wasn’t healing. I had something called apico where they cut into your gum line to help maybe relieve the pressure in the bone [then] developed something called dry sockets, where the bone is exposed. In addition to the neuropathic pain, I now had direct pain from the bone exposure. At the end of October, I started acupuncture. And, to be honest, I didn’t think it was going to do anything before I started. Within just about 2-3 weeks of starting treatment, the pain started to settle down on me. Now remember, I was experiencing severe pain and intense pressure before acupuncture” Howard recounted.
“My specialist fitted my exposed bone with a plastic device that basically covers the area and it also seals it so the bone isn’t open, but it wasn’t going to help me heal. The wildest thing started happening to me by the mid-November, healing just went off the charts! Just off the charts! It was wild. Because it went from the suture line, straight back. The last surgery [I had] was in September, and that area was just red and they described it as being “very angry” looking [with] the bone exposed and everything else. I got to become an expert. We started to notice that healing [was beginning] to increase. This was from a pattern of not healing [to] all of a sudden, it’s healing faster, getting better and it’s beginning to feel better almost after every time of acupuncture. I was discussing with [my physician at Empire Medicine], and he was explaining how [acupuncture] helps to bring blood to the area and does a lot of other things. I know it was the acupuncture because I wasn’t doing anything else at the time. Physical therapy was over. But when I started doing this- I don’t know why- but its working!” he exclaimed.
“I’m not on any pain medications or anything. I was taking 3-4 Advil at a time still experiencing pretty bad pain. Now- nothing! The last I saw my specialist, he looked in [my mouth] and started taking photos. As a professor at Stony Brook University, he’s using me in a medical study [because] of the way [I’m] healing. My dentist said the same thing to me. He said, ‘Something’s working. It’s not your body because your body was too slow to heal.’ After 6 [surgical] procedures your body just can’t. Because you’re opened up so many times, your body keeps going through a response of going into shock; it can’t heal anymore or it stops healing. Since I started [acupuncture], to me, when I looked at it- I used to be afraid to look in the mirror. [Now], I’m good. Everyone has said it now, since I started coming [to Empire Medicine], the healing is just off the charts. It’s still healing because it was a pretty rough surgical site but when you look at it, the redness is gone. I look forward to coming here because I feel better after. The healing has taken off so fast. My specialist says to me, ‘It’s the acupuncture.’ My dentist says, ‘Whatever’s working for you is really working for you. Don’t stop what you’re doing!’ But the only thing I’m doing is acupuncture. It’s just amazing what it does, in my opinion. I went from living with a pain level of 9/10 down to about a 1 or 2. I’ll take it!” Howard concluded.
Howard’s need for pain management was a direct result of the pain caused from the surgery that consequentially resulted in alveolar osteitis, or dry sockets. This occurs when the blood clot fails to form or is lost from the socket; it is directly associated with increased pain and delayed healing time. To understand the process of healing, one must understand its correlation to pain. Pain is a natural result of healing. The delay in Howard’s healing process was natural as per his diagnosis of dry sockets, but the exacerbated pain associated with it increased because of the duration of ineffective treatment. Healing occurs in several stages. An article titled, “Factors Affecting Wound Healing,” was published in the Journal of Dental Research stating that,
“Wound healing is a complex biological process that consists of hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling. Large numbers of cell types—including neutrophils, macrophages, lymphocytes, keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells—are involved in this process. Multiple factors can cause impaired wound healing by affecting one or more phases of the process and are categorized into local and systemic factors. The influences of these factors are not mutually exclusive. Single or multiple factors may play a role in any one or more individual phases, contributing to the overall outcome of the healing process.”
Acupuncture addresses treatment of the whole body while focusing on the ailment site, maintaining analgesic properties, assisting with the increase of blood flow and in pursuit of the overall goal of recovering a balance in one’s qi. The multipurpose treatment, effectively assisted Howard in graduating to the proliferation phase of healing, where cells regenerate in the mouth to heal the gums and eventually seal the dry socket. The healing had stopped at a point where his doctors had considered it “too slow.” Believing there was nerve damage causing the pain, his former doctors were suggesting nerve blockage in his face. His physician at Empire Medicine and dental specialist suggested he avoid the resultant possibility of partial facial paralysis. With routine acupuncture treatments at twice a week, Howard is anxious to usher in the remodeling phase of healing where the regenerated cells seal the wound. The rehabilitation process is moving rapidly and hopes for exponential healing and near absolute pain relief are not just hopes for Howard, but a clear reality within reach.
After retracing Howard’s journey, one can gain insight regarding the exponential possibilities of treating and healing the body with acupuncture. Beyond pain relief, the site of the loud pain can be hushed to a hum if not healed with the resounding bliss of loud silence. If you’re experiencing pain and are looking to avoid prescription drug dependency and/or surgery with a 50/50 probability of successfully executing the problem, seek a second opinion at Empire Medicine. Our skilled practitioners know how to assist you with achieving a balance of qi or the closest, livable thing to it. Contact one of our locations for a consultation today!