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.

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

Help from Acupuncture in Portland, Oregon with Malia Susee

 

Pohala Clinic focuses on the whole body experience for every client.  Whether you visit a practitioner for a specific illness, a check up or for chronic pain, our providers specialize in treating the body, mind and the spirit. Acupuncturist Malia Susee embodies this philosophy.

If this is your first time with an acupuncturist, Malia explains the philosophy behind her work and how she came to practice the ancient healing and chi balancing technique.

I have always had a love of language, learning, and travel. Along with this, I harbor a fascination with the human body’s anatomy, physiology, and energetic potential. I was a student of martial arts and yoga when my yoga teacher invited me to become her apprentice. She suggested I take a course in Anatomy and Physiology first– and when I did, “my hair caught fire,” (not really, but I became utterly engrossed!). I had received acupuncture on many occasions and found it helpful and curative. I realized that I could make this my life’s work. Once I looked into the education and practice of Oriental Medicine, I never looked back!

Visiting Malia is a relaxing and expanding experience. For those used to acupuncture, taking the pulse, looking at the tongue and asking questions about behaviors of the body will be natural. But when it’s your first time, it can feel like a new world. One filled with possibilities and healing.  Seeking the natural approach to a healthy mind and body is one process Malia loves sharing with her clients. Her goal as a health care professional is to actively listen and work with a person to find out a plan that helps the body find balance, healthy internal function and freedom from pain. She continues, “I want to understand what my patient is experiencing and wants to achieve, health-wise, and to use Traditional Chinese Medicine to not only develop a treatment plan, but to start treatment, on the table, at that visit.”

Malia treats many people who have chronic pain along with joint and muscle dysfunction, but she also has deep clinical experience addressing a patient’s hormonal and emotional imbalances, addictions, respiratory illnesses, strokes, concussions and traumatic injuries.

Malia is available for appointments at Pohala clinic on Monday through Thursday. Please call the Pohala Clinic office for her schedule.

Malia loves the challenge of helping people reach their health goals through balancing the energy of the body and the mind.  Acupuncture provides relief for menopause hot flashes, anxiety, insomnia, addiction, colds, stroke, concussions, traumatic injuries, migraines, cramps and more.

Visit Malia and learn about acupuncture and how it can help you find relief and the health needed to live a stable and happy life.

Portland, Oregon Acupuncturist Malia Susee Answers Your Questions about Acupuncture

Malia Susee Portland, Oregon Acupuncture

Portland, Oregon Acupuncturist Malia Susee answers your questions about her practice:

 

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

I don’t have a personal superpower or ace-in-the-hole for understanding others. I’m curious, though, and fascinated by what folks have to say about their health. I’ve traveled a lot and worked with all kinds of people, and I try to put myself in other people’s shoes (figuratively speaking. Don’t worry– I’ll leave your footwear alone when you’re on my table.) The cool thing about Traditional Chinese Medicine is that it doesn’t judge, and that it doesn’t separate mind from body. It supplies an elegant framework for understanding people and dis-ease, and I find that quite helpful.

 

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

 Naturopathic medicine’s roots are European (Western). Acupuncture’s roots are Chinese (officially referred to as “Oriental” [Oriental describing a thing, not a person], as in Oriental Medicine, of which Traditional Chinese Medicine is a subset). Oriental medicine is holistic in nature and is an excellent complement to naturopathic and allopathic medicine. I am grateful to have all of these modalities as options for our healing and feel privileged to work with practitioners of each.