Dorothy, a 68 year old woman recently started acupuncture treatment for symptoms of tingling, itching, sensitivity, numbness and discomfort in her mouth and skin. She had been diagnosed with a disorder called parasthesia (pins and needles) which is a neurological condition that affects the nerve endings of the skin and can cause great discomfort. Sometimes parasthesia is caused by diseases such as diabetes or may be induced by some medications. In Dorothy’s case she had several months of anxiety while she was being examined by neurologists for multiple sclerosis or other serious neurological debilitating disease. Fortunately she had no signs of these diseases but continued to suffer from constant burning and itching with occasional numbness. These symptoms were worse with stress and particularly uncomfortable in her mouth and on her chest, arms, and legs. She tried medications such as Lyrica or gabapentin which didn’t help and made her feel groggy and anxious.
Dorothy is otherwise a healthy, active woman who had developed acid reflux and started taking Nexium six months ago. She had a bad reaction to it right away and then developed the itching and numbness. Her physicians denied it had anything to with Nexium and the symptoms didn’t stop when she discontinued Nexium, but I felt that the drug set off an auto-immune response that caused inflammation and an excessive histamine reaction which started the parasthesia symptoms.
My training in Traditional Chinese Medicine focuses on the signs and patterns that will reveal the connections between symptoms and physical or psychological disharmony. With Dorothy her pulse, tongue and other diagnostic presentation pointed to patterns of excessive heat in the skin, deficiency of Yin which led to dryness, a restriction in the free flow of Qi from her liver, and anxiety and fatigue caused by a disturbance of her Shen or spirit as a result of impaired sleep.
We started on a course of acupuncture treatments to bring balance to the meridians and organs affected by the heat and constrained Qi. Dorothy felt immediately improved after her first treatment and by treatment three the discomfort in her mouth had almost disappeared. This was a great relief to her as she was now able to enjoy eating again. Other symptoms of numbness and tingling tended to migrate around her body but gradually decreased until she experienced 90% improvement. She is now convinced that the symptoms will disappear over time and she’s clear that acupuncture helped her when conventional medicine couldn’t.
Dr. Peter Kadar L.Ac D.O.M.
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