Trisha had a benign tumour measuring 2.4 cms which was due to be operated on soon. It had reached the 2.4cms level and therefore surgery was going to be performed at the earliest available chance. The tumour was located very close to where the facial nerve branches at the Parotid gland (see Fig 1).
The Parotid gland is divided into a superficial and deep portion by the facial nerve, which passes through the gland. The facial nerve branches within the substance of the parotid gland, and the branching pattern can be highly variable. The main trunk typically bifurcates in to the zygomaticotemporal branch and the cervicofacial branch at the pes anserinus, also known as the goose’s foot, and thereafter into the temporal, zygomatic, buccal, marginal, and cervical branches. Surgery can be difficult and potentially risky as a result of the position of the facial nerves.
Fig 1 Illustration of Parotid Gland muscles and nerves *
The size of the tumour and the proximity of the nerves explains the wide area of pain experienced by Trisha. She had migraine with frontal headaches regularly, usually between 3 - 4 days apart. They were more frequent when she attended me due to the growth of the tumour around the Parotid gland.
Trisha works as a hairdresser. She often does does 30 blow dries on a Friday and 40 on a Saturday. She has a very busy mind that never switches off but she always tries to maintain a positive attitude. Her life has been particularly stressful of late due to family issues. Her busy work and family life has resulted in her having a constant stiff and painful neck and shoulders.
Plate 1 Trisha’s abdominal acupuncture treatment.
Palpation of the abdomen revealed the extent of the stress effecting Trisha. The whole area above the umbilicus was very tight and there were 4 very prominent bubbles in the vicinity of Ren 12 (Zhongwan). These were at quite a superficial level reflecting the tumour around the upper neck and ear area. The redness on the abdomen was there since she was a child and there was no temperature difference associated with it, so I didn’t feel it was necessarily significant.I felt there was a high level of tension throughout her back and when I palpated her upper back the whole area felt very tight.
I asked Trisha to put a reference point score of 10 out of 10 on her pain / stiffness in the affected areas.The pain was only half of what she has experienced on other occasions. I asked her to reference this as a 10 for simplicity, so that she could accurately gauge the change in pain in real time.
I started the the treatment with "Bringing Qi Home" Ren 12 (Zhongwan), Ren 10 (Xiawan), Ren 6 (Qihai) & Ren 4 (Guanyuan) in order to give Trisha’s Kidney essence a boost as she was peri-menopausal. I used "Abdominal Four Gates" St 24 (Huaroumen) & St 26 (Wailing) in order to address the all over back tension and also ease the stress and emotional distress that Trisha was going through. St 24 (Huaroumen) would also send Yangming Qi and Blood towards the head and assist with clearing the pain from the area. I used Kid 13 (Qixue) bilaterally to move Yin Qi up towards the neck and head, while also supporting the function of Ren 4 (Guanyuan) which as the gate of the original Qi and therefore would tonify and nourish her Kidney Yin, Essence, calm the etheral soul and her very busy mind. I fixed all these points to the appropriate depths ranging from around 0.4-0.5cun. The ahshi points in the vicinity of Ren 12 (Zhongwan) were needled, four in total and the depths here were between 2.5 and 3.5cun. After a little fine tuning of these the pain improved and went down initially to a level of 4 out of 10 and then with a very slight adjustment of the depth the pain changed with a reduction of 8 points, down from 10 to 2. I left her to relax, which she said she found very hard to do, with all the thoughts racing through her head! I left her for 30 minutes and on my return she told me she almost fell asleep and felt completely relaxed.
She said she felt 85% better and very chilled out when she was leaving!
Three weeks later I met Trisha and she told me that she had almost forgotten about her tumour in the week immediately after acupuncture. She also said that the daily stresses had reduced dramatically. She was informed that the surgery was going to go ahead the following week and on that news she felt that everything started to return. With the fear and anxiety about the operation she felt that she was once again thrown into a world of tension and she got a headache soon after the notification. The intensity of the headache was less than previously and it seemed to clear faster than before. She has since had a successful operation to remove the tumour and she is recovering well.
*Fig I Courtesy www.yoursurgery.com