Abdominal acupuncture used to treat accute pain from a badly performed dental root canal procedure

Dental Disaster

Danny's dental disaster had been causing him severe pain for over two years. The nature of the pain varied but never really receded. Danny took between four and six strong (OTC) pain killers to help him deal with the discomfort every day. The pain was due to a dental root canal procedure which had gone wrong and resulted in nerve damage in his lower jaw. When Danny (67) came for acupuncture he had pain originating in the jaw close to Stomach 5 (Daying) and travelling down towards Ht1 (Jiquan) and along his rib cage. The pain fluctuated either towards the nipple and / or into his upper back. The worst pain was in his jaw and under his arm. I was concerned that this might be related to his heart and asked if he had consulted his doctor about it! Danny had gone to the hospital about this pain and his heart was completely checked out and given the all clear. 

Frustrating Pain and Anger 

The hospital consultant had told him that his pain was as a result of the dental procedure. The dentist denied any responsibility! Danny is on a modest pension and can’t afford private dental treatment. He was told he is not likely to get an appointment with the (free) dental hospital for at least another year. The root canal didn’t work and was removed leaving Danny in more pain than ever. Danny was annoyed that the dentist had originally persuaded him that a root canal would be better than his request to just remove the tooth and be done with it! He was frustrated and angry that nobody could fix his situation.

I asked Danny to put reference score of 10 out of 10 on his pain in these areas. He had no problem scoring them immediately at a level of 10 out of 10. I had taken this case as an emergency and so I was under a little bit of pressure to complete the treatment in 40 minutes. It was obvious that Danny was in a lot of pain and that he was totally frustrated by the way he was treated by the dentist who (he believed) had caused this problem.

Danny’s Abdominal Dental Plan!

Palpation of Danny's abdomen revealed a small but quite obvious hard nodule about the size of a grain of rocksalt around 0.4 cun lateral and slightly inferior to Ren 12 (Zhongwan) on the affected left side. There was also a small node 1 cun lateral to Ren 9.6 which I took to reflect the pain that was affecting Danny’s chest area (see Fig 1). I also found a tender ahshi point slightly inferior and medial to stomach 24 (Huaroumen), which represented the paint Danny was experiencing under his arm pit at Ht 1 (Jiquan).

The treatment used was "Bringing Qi Home" Ren 12 (Zhongwan), Ren 10 (Xiawan), Ren 6 (Qihai) & Ren 4 (Guanyuan) , St 25 (Tianshu). All the Ren and stomach 25 (Tianshu) points were put to depth of 0.5 cun. I then started to focus the treatment in order to fix Danny’s debilitating pain.

 St 24 (Shoulder) on the affected left side, and the small ahshi point which was in close proximity to it were needled and Danny felt the pain dissipate from underneath his armpit. I then used one ahshi point lateral to Ren 12 (Zhongwan) and immediately checked with Danny how the facial pain was. He told me the pain was gone (even I was impressed with this result!). The ahshi point lateral to Ren 9.6 was then needled in order to correct the chest pain (close to his nipple) and Danny felt relief in that area immediately, but he then began to feel pain once more at Ht 1 (Jiquan), this was quickly rectified by a small adjustment of the depth of the ahshi point a little inferior and medial to St24 (Huaroumen)!

Conclusion and Follow Up

This was a difficult, painful case with a chronic nature. I was blown away by the results and I would have been happy with a lesser result. I say this because of the nerve damage that was causing the facial pain and because of the age of Danny. I was concerned about the nature of the chest armpit and (occasional)  back pain and although the heart pulse (left Cun position) was a little blocked, it was not any worse than one would expect for a man of his age. I asked that he get this checked out further as it was almost a year since he had last had his heart fully checked in the hospital.

Fig 1 An illustration of Danny’s prescription

I saw Danny 3 weeks later and he declared that he was pain free for 2 weeks after the treatment and didn’t have to take any medication (something that he has not been able to even dream of for over 2 years!) He was much less agitated and in a great mood as a result and could now see that there was some hope for him and his difficult situation!

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