Abdominal acupuncture used to treat a young alcoholic with back pain

Drunk And Disorderly

Diane is a thirty five year old who tends to do everything to excess. She likes to drink at the weekend which on most occasions, involves a binge that lasts all weekend. There is usually some cocaine and other stimulants involved which lead her to believe that she is “bullet proof”! She is the life and soul of the party, or so she likes to believe, but unfortunately usually she has no memory, only body aches and bruises to remind her of how much fun she has been. By the time that she comes to see me (midweek) she is in the horrors, and feeling embarrassed about her injuries! 

Diane is not in a good place emotionally, she recently broke up with her long term partner and is prone to depression, many of her old friends are married with kids and she is eager to keep up with her younger new “Friends”.

First treatment

On her first visit she had hurt her lumbar region and had severe pain at GB 30 (Huantiao) on her left side as a result of a fall during an intensive binge drinking session (she thinks) the previous Saturday (4 days prior). She told me she was very nervous and feared having needles, she wanted to know where I was going to needle and how many points I would use, I told her not to worry that I would only use four, possibly five. 

I asked Diane to show me where the pain was and asked her to give it a base reference point score of 10 out of 10, I then had her lie down on the plinth and asked her to once again focus on the areas of pain and to score them again. Lifting her lower back off the plinth was painful in the lumbar region and pressing on GB 30 (Huantiao) was very sore too, giving another good indication of what the reference score of 10 out of 10 felt like.  

Exploring the abdominal area and especially around St 26(Wailing) Hip point  I located an obvious granular ahshi point, which I duly took note of, as I felt this would resolve the pain in her glutes. I reassured her as to how gentle yet powerful Abdominal Acupuncture was and asked permission to show her what the sensation she would experience from the abdominal points would be like, she was a little worried but curious, so with my middle finger I showed her what my distraction technique was when I insert the needle. I gently and quickly depressed Ren 12 (Zhongwan) quickly about 1 fen (0.1cun) and released again and said that is all she would feel from the needles, she was relieved and before she knew it I repeated the process and inserted the needle, she felt nothing different and was delighted when I asked her how her first ever acupuncture needle felt. I continued to finish the main prescription points I used which were Ren 12 (Zhongwan) Ren 9 (Shuifen) and Ren 4 (Guanyuan) with St 26 (Wailing) Hip pt on the affected left side. I asked her to move, lift her bum again to access what the change in her pain levels were now, she lifted her bottom up and there was no pain. I added Sp 15 (Daheng) to nourish her Glutes and improve the recovery from muscle damage (see fig 1). She never had acupuncture before and was amazed at the effect of the needles. When I went back into the treatment room after 30 minutes she was on the phone, and had been throughout the session, she was straining her head texting friends, and as a result felt pain in her bum again. At this stage the level of discomfort was around 50% of what it had been previously.

Fig 1. Illustration of Susan's first abdominal treatment

Treatment Two

On her next visit she told me that the pain was completely gone the next day and didn’t come back! This visit her main problem was, she had lateral right sided hip pain, with a massive techni-coloured bruise from a fall, that she had no recollection of. It was very painful to touch, she again wanted to know how many needles I could fix her with, I said I thought three needles would get her pain free. On this occasion I used "Heaven & Earth" Ren 12 (Zhongwan) and Ren 4 (Guanyuan) both to a depth of aproximately 1.1cun, I also used right St 26(Wailing) the Hip pt where I had felt a small convex round seed (q-tip top size) ahshi, this was needled to a superficial depth of 0.2 cun. I asked her to check the pain level now, she pressed the hip again, there was no pain, she just said “unbelievable”, I was pleasantly surprised but not shocked, I thought I might have needed another needle to break up that large ahshi point, but true to my initial estimate three needles was enough. She left still feeling perplexed by the treatment that she had just had!

Treatment Three

I saw Diane again two weeks later, she was still pain free from the original low back problem four weeks previous, the hip has had the odd niggle but only marginal and on certain movements. This appointment she wants a detox treatment after a weekend of binge drinking. She had no new injuries, so I used "Heaven & Earth" Ren 12 (Zhongwan) and Ren 4 (Guanyuan) with "Harmonising the Middle Jiao" St 25 (Tianshu) & Sp 15 (Daheng) and "Abdominal Four Gates" St 24 (Huaroumen) & St 26 (Wailing), she left feeling happier, and more empowered to deal with her emotional problems that she was using drink and drugs to suppress! This treatment was not only intended to help her detox but was also intended to address her emotional instability.

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