Can Acupuncture Help with Pain? Ask the Dr. with Paresh Shelat of Pohala Clinic in Portland, Oregon

By Dr. Paresh H. Shelat, Naturopathic Physician and Licensed Acupuncturist at Pohala Clinic in Portland, OR. 

In my clinical opinion, absolutely.  Both acute and chronic pain account for a billion dollar industry. With many different therapeutic modalities and approaches to reduce pain, and subsequent disability resulting from pain, what are patients left to do? Ideally, INQUIRE and be CURIOUS. After all, it’s the job of any healthcare provider to inform patients of their treatment options and to educate them about pain and what it means to have pain so that we can come up with a healthy plan that reduces pain without adding the complications of medication side effects. In doing so, both the provider and patient can formulate a healthy plan that reduces pain without adding the potential complications of medication side effects.

The most common pain-related conditions I see in practice include:

    1. Low Back Pain: A majority of people have low back pain at some point in their life.  It’s also the most common musculoskeletal pain.
    2. Neck Pain / Mid-Back Pain.
    3. Shoulder Pain / Rotator Cuff Injuries.
    4. Knee Pain: Resulting from both acute injury or more systematic / degenerative problems such as osteoarthritis or autoimmune disease.
    5. Muscle Strains / Muscle Cramps.

What are the most common treatment options or treatment recommendations I typically see primary care providers use? Please note that there is nothing inherently wrong with the treatments in the list below. This is simply what I normally see in general health care and there is no question that they have their place in a pain management plan. My goal is to show a client all of his or her options.

    1. Pharmacologic Medications: NSAIDS, Muscle Relaxers, Opioids etc.
    2. Physical Therapy.
    3. Osteopathic / Chiropractic Care.
    4. Massage Therapy.

Why I add acupuncture to my list:

Acupuncture is the least invasive process I have found to help with acute and chronic pain.  Patients often don’t know to ask for acupuncture and are often surprised that insurance can cover the treatment depending on a person’s plan.

Acupuncture helps to reduce or minimize medications altogether as well as enhance other manual based therapeutic modalities such as physical therapy and massage. Why not try acupuncture first? It makes sense for anyone who wants a cost effective, natural treatment for pain. 

How Does Acupuncture Help Reduce Pain? 

Pain is multifactorial and spans across all aspects of healthcare: spiritual health, emotional health, mental health, physical health, and perhaps most importantly, our cognitive understanding of pain ( what it means to have pain.)  Additionally, lifestyle factors greatly impact pain and include: diet, self-care measures, cultural values, family, and external stressors of all kinds (e.g. relationships, finances, home, etc). 

Let me expand on this by briefly discussing my views on the western and eastern philosophy of acupuncture.

    • The Western Paradigm / Model: By introducing a novel stimulus (e.g. acupuncture) to the site of injury, we can impart change on the autonomic nervous system.  More precisely, we are able to provide the brain with information that is non-harmful and non-threatening. This in turn will change, and hopefully decrease, the output of pain by the brain.
    • The Eastern Paradigm / Model: Our body’s are made up of energy channels (e.g. meridians) that run up and down our body. These energy channels correspond to organs and organs systems (e.g stomach channel).  Acupuncture allows us to engage these energetic streams by needling (applying a very thin needle) specific locations to unblock and/or correct disrupted flow that may lead to pain syndromes. Furthermore, acupuncture provides us the opportunity to correct multiple imbalances at once while simultaneously supporting health on a multitude of levels as mentioned above.

Is Acupuncture Right For You?

There are times when more interventional based treatments are required (e.g. surgery) due to the extent of tissue injury.  The importance of proper evaluation (history and physical exam) cannot be over-emphasized.  By combining appropriate evaluation with physician-patient dialogue (e.g. education), often times, many patients can reduce recovery times of acute injuries, avoid unnecessary imaging, as well as reduce and significantly improve chronic pain syndromes. 

I would recommend each and every single patient to talk to a healthcare practitioner knowledgable about Chinese Medicine and how it can be integrated into your standard healthcare regimen. 

Perhaps, the most important decision you make is whether you allow yourself to be open-minded about the possibility of new ways to reduce pain and improve mobility.  I urge you to ask questions. I implore you to allow yourself the opportunity to become educated about pain. This is the first step to achieving your goals of having NO PAIN. 

In my practice at Pohala Clinic in Portland, OR, and given my background in naturopathic medicine and Chinese Medicine, I use a combination of treatment modalities to help my clients who have pain. These include but are not limited to: acupuncture, botanical medicine, homeopathy, nutraceuticals, naturopathic manipulative techniques, manual therapy, and much more! 

If you would like to learn more about ways in which you can reduce your pain, please schedule a visit at Pohala Clinic in Portland, OR. I look forward to learning more about you.

How Does Acupuncture Help Knee Pain


Knees are particularly susceptible to pain and injury. They are a joint we often take for granted until they no longer work optimally or feel healthy. Maintaining knee health is essential as we age. Take care of your knees today through acupuncture.

Acupuncture can help ease and eliminate both chronic and acute pain. Acupuncture helps increase circulation and decrease inflammation by stimulating local acupuncture points at the knees. Distal points (other points on the body) can also be used if the knees are inaccessible.

Stimulating distal acupuncture points helps move Qi along the channels involving the knees, keeping it flowing properly through the joint.

Distal points also help address underlying conditions that lead to knee pain.

Maila Susee,
Acupuncturist

Visit our Pohala Clinic contact page to schedule an appointment with Malia

The Creatures that Live in Our Bodies from Vera Vos, Family Nurse Practitioner

Vera Voss

by Vera Vos

One of the most fascinating and significant biological discoveries of this century is that we are not alone in our bodies.

Human bodies are made up of approximately 37.2 trillion cells. There is an estimated 100 trillion microorganisms (single celled creatures) that live on and within us, about 3 times more cells than our own bodies! Whole ecosystems of microorganisms live in every part of our body – skin, brain, liver, lungs, etc. The ecosystem that gets most talked about is our gut microbiome (the collection of microorganisms that inhabit our gut), which when all dumped together on a scale weighs about 2 Kg and consists of at least 1,000 species of bacteria, not to mention viruses, fungi, protozoa and archaea. Two thirds of our gut microbiome is unique to us as an individual, like our finger print.

Why is this such a big deal? We still have lots to learn but all the microorganisms in our body and, maybe, especially our gut microbiome have a huge influence on our health. They are major contributors to digestion and largely responsible for extracting nutrients from food. They spearhead the production of certain vitamins like B and K and play a major role in immune function. The surprising thing is how much influence they have on today’s most common disease processes.

Due to changes in our food supply and other factors, certain strains of microorganisms are increasingly common in the human gut and may be associated with weight gain and obesity, cancers, autoimmune disorders, and mental health, especially depression, anxiety and autism.

Considering obesity is associated with increased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some cancers, arthritits, and many other chronic diseases, the unique make-up of our own gut microbiome is very significant to our health.

So how do we maximize the health of our gut microbiome, and, coincidentally our own health? Obviously eating a healthy diet is most important. I recommend 70-80% or more of our diet be whole plants – vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Buying organic, local and seasonal or growing your own is probably best and adding lots of fresh herbs and spices, wild mushrooms and fermented foods creates a favorable gut environment for healthy microbes. There are more non-gluten grains available than ever before and sprouted, organic wheat products may be tolerable for those sensitive to wheat gluten.

If you would like to learn a whole lot more about how our microbiome influences our health and how to cultivate a microbiome that helps us thrive, check out the program below:

Click here to watch a video on how we are interconnected and the power we have to heal from within.

Please call our Pohala office if you would like to make an appointment to talk about gut health.

Vera

Visit Massage Therapist Tiki Jones at Pohala Clinic in Portland, Oregon

“I believe that ever BODY needs a massage!” 

We welcome our new massage therapy practitioner Tiki Jones, LMT to Pohala Clinic. She recently answered our getting to know you questions from the blog:

What led you to the massage profession?

My love of people and wanting to aid in their healing led me to train and become a licensed massage therapist.

What is your goal as a healthcare professional the first time you see a new client?

My goal the first time I see a client is to directly address the issue they have asked me about before going to the area that may not hurt but is most likely compensating for the hurt/injury. For example, someone may say their shoulder hurts and I will work on that area and also on the antagonist muscles.

What is in your life personally that helps you have a better understanding of your clients?

I have a body that I use! From picking up small children, to sitting at a computer to doing sports. I believe every body needs massage. Especially those bodies that give massage need to receive that healing touch as well.

What is your view on western medicine (allopathic)  v. eastern (naturopathic) medicine?

They go hand in hand. I heard a chiropractor once say, (and I’m paraphrasing here) Allopathic is great when your house is on fire; but you wouldn’t call the fire department to douse your house everyday. Naturopathic is great to maintain your house.

What are your hours?

To start with my hours will be Tuesdays 10am to 3pm. They will increase as need picks up.

Call the Pohala Clinic to book a time for a massage with Tiki.

Tiki Staton Jones

Food and the Sacred by Julie Foster, Nurse Practitioner at Pohala Clinic

 

🍎FOOD and the SACRED🍑

 

The HUMAN of the future will approach plants that are of use to them consciously; not as now when one reflects on what yields the best substances for one’s body; one will then have a vital relationship to every plant, for they will know what it is has absorbed, and what passes from food to them. Eating will not be to one as a means occupation, but an act consummated with SOUL and SPIRIT for one will know that everything they eat is the external form of something SPIRITUAL 💮

In our immediate age, when HUMANS know little about the vital inward relations between themselves and the world, all kinds of substitutes are made use of. Why have the Initiates of all ages urged people to say grace before eating? The grace should be a token of the recognition that, together with the food, something SPIRITUAL enters into HUMAN.

Rudolf Steiner – GA 105 –Universe, Earth and Man – Lecture III – Stuttgart, 6th August 1908

(I changed  the gender pronoun MAN to HUMAN- as Steiner meant this with his original use of the word man.)

Help for Sleep When You Have Bipolar Disorder

Pohala Nurse Practitioner Julie Foster is often asked for quotes regarding her mental health work. Julie was interviewed for the following Health Central slide show on getting better sleep when you have bipolar disorder.

From the article:

Bipolar disorder responds well to a sleep plan that respects the body’s circadian rhythm. Learning to prevent mood swings by making good “sleep hygiene” choices is an inexpensive and natural way to prevent mania and depression. Sleep changes are not always easy in our very busy world, but please know that making even a few of the changes discussed here can reduce the need for certain medications and ultimately prevent mood swings.

Click here to read 9 Tips to Help Sleep With Bipolar. 

Mahalo,

Team Pohala