A Superhero's headache
When Tommy returned six weeks after the previous session to deal with his stress and arthritic finger & thumb (see fingers and thumbs) he complained of having a throbbing, pounding "Shaoyang" headache all over the back and sides of his head. He was again under severe stress from the situation at home and he felt like everything was coming to a head, in this case a pounding painful head. I checked how his hand had been and he said that the arthritic joint at the thumb and forefinger was painful.
I encourage Tommy to focus on the area of his headache and his right thumb (at the base of the first metacarpal bone) to give these a subjective, real time, reference pain score of 10 out of 10. Tommy also suffers with all over back pain as a result of years working as a fire fighter.
Pre treatment palpation
Exploration of the abdominal area on Tommy, who is lean and is quite muscular for a man of his age, indicated quite a bit of tension in the abdomen. In the area Ren 12 (Zhongwan) which anatomically relates to the mouth area in the front / superficially, and at a deeper level would relate to the area of the occipital protuberance at the back of the head. I found a number of very tiny little grains slightly superior to Ren 12 (Zhongwan). As these small discrepancies were in the area relating to his problem I chose these as ahshi points. I had a quick assessment of the vicinity of his right wrist and fingers area and also discovered what I interpreted as relevant small ahshi points. I needed this treatment to be comprehensive and effective whilst using minimal needles.
The Treatment Prescription
The treatment comprised of "Bringing Qi Home" Ren 12 (Zhongwan), Ren 10 (Xiawan), Ren 6 (Qihai) & Ren 4 (Guanyuan) "Abdominal Four Gates" St 24 (Huaroumen) & St 26 (Wailing) and the two ahshi head points. After superficially inserting all of these needles initially, I then fixed the depth of all of the Ren points (bar Ren 12) to approximately 0.4 - 0.5 cun. The abdominal four gates were put to depth of 0.6 cun in order to address the unusually high blood pressure that Tommy was experiencing. This combination of points would also address his emotional state which was quite low.
The focus of the treatment at this stage was on the headache, with the needles at Ren 12 (Zhongwan) and the 2 ahshi points superior and lateral to it, put to a depth of approximately 0.3 cun, I checked in with Tommy to see how the pain in their head was left to which he replied the pain around the ears had gone but that the pain seemed to have moved down towards GB 20 (Fengchi). Exploring between Ren 12 (Zhongwan), Ren 10 (Xiawan) laterally towards the kidney line revealed similar small grain like ahshi points on either side, these were duly needled to a similar depth and when asked again about the headache in this region the intensity of the pain had a reduced to a level of 3/10. At this stage Tommy indicated that the headache was no longer pounding or throbbing and that he felt like a lightness (in a good way) coming over his head. Since the throbbing nature had stopped indicating the blood pressure had eased, I then withdrew the "Abdominal Four Gates" St 24 (Huaroumen) & St 26 (Wailing) points from a depth of 0.6 to 0.4 cun so that they would address the chronic all over back pain and tension.
The focus of the treatment now moved onto the right thumb around the thenar eminence. Having made a mental note of where the ahshi point had been found, it was quickly isolated and needled to a more superficial depth of of 0.2 cun this point was approximately 0.2 cun lateral and superior to the wrist point Ab 2 on the affected right-hand side. When I enquired with Tommy as to how the thumb pain felt now, he indicated to me that his pain moved more distantly towards the head of first metacarpal bone near the joint of the first phalangeal of the thumb. As there were no other obvious ahshi points in the vicinity, I chose a point 0.3 cun superior and 0.2cun lateral to this to correct the pain of the thumb joint. Immediately after this Tommy confirmed that he no longer had any pain. I once again asked him how the headache was and he said that it was at a much more comfortable level of 2/10 and that the type of pain had changed from throbbing to a light tension.
Fig 1 Tommy's Treatment
In this case I was treating high blood pressure, an all over Shaoyang throbbing headache combined with emotional upset with a heightened level of stress, and a painful arthritic thumb. I was also treating the whole of his back and thus in total 14 needles were used which achieved a much looser more comfortable back, complete amelioration of the pain in the thumb, an 80% improvement in the headache and a complete reduction of the blood pressure. At the end of this treatment Tommy felt much more relaxed. His posture was better and he had made a decision to take a break and go on a holiday in order to take time out for himself.