Our speaker for October's meeting of the Mishawaka Fibromyalgia Support Group was Dr. James Keating from Preventive Medicine, PC (PM,PC). Although Dr. Keating is indeed multi-talented, being both a licenced chiropractor and a certified acupuncturist, it is the latter we wanted to fucus upon this evening. This sounded easy in theory, but PM,PC is a facility with multiple offerings and multiple Health Care Practitioners (HCP's). They offer EMS (electrical muscle stimulation), massage therapy, chiropractic manipulation and accupuncture.
Dr. Keating first passed out cards telling of the coupon offering 2 free massages for the month of October! Great timing! That won everyone over right away! One member asked, with a cringe, if they did "deep tissue massage." He said that whatever massage therapist you have (they have several), will do it exactly the way YOU request, whether deep tissue massage to release seized up tender points, or gentle muscle massage, or anywhere in between. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief!
CT spoke up, saying his doctor had recommended he try acupuncture. He had had a bone fusion and a metal plate put into his spine. He is still in a lot of pain, much of it from scar tissue in the surrounding area. So now one of his [many] doctors wants to insert electrodes into his spine so that he can "hit a switch" to stop pain when it occurs. And when another doctor recommended acupuncture, he definitely wanted to come to the meeting tonight to find out more about acupuncture before taking such a drastic step as another surgery.
Dr. Keating told of being familiar with the procedure of inserting electrodes. Having treated a number of these patients, he told us that most of them are not having much success with it after a year or two and have elected to stop using it, just leaving the electrodes in, un-used. Only one of the many he's seen is still happy with the system. He then explained that the EMS treatment PM,PC uses, is of a like nature, except that these electrodes are temporarily placed on the outside - on his skin - rather than permanently surgically implanted. Somewhat like a very large TENS unit, this treatment first uses hot moist heat pads to open up the blood vessels and bring them to the surface, so that the electcical pads can stimulate circulation in the muscles. The electrical stimulation can be set at the patient's comfort level. This breaks the pain circuit, in much the same way as the surgically inserted electrodes, but without surgery!
This procedure is extremely relaxing and soothing, and helps alleviate muscle pain magically, almost instantly! RG, MG and myself have all had this EMS treatment done, and we all highly recommended it. MG said that she regularly asked to stay on the machine longer. (Me too!)
Dr. Keating explained that because PM,PC is able to offer a variety of treatments, the first visit is an assessment and evaluation session, where you and he (or other HCP) go over your medical history and decide which treatment or combination of treatments would be most effective in your particuar case. In CT's case, for example, he might recommend a chiropractic treatment of flexion traction first. And actually, after finding out whether this treatment is helpful, one can even purchase a Saunders Cervical (or Lumbar) Traction Unit to use at home on a regular basis. This brand or any other, may be found on E-Bay and can be very helpful for many people.
He also noted that any one of these treatments or even combination of these treatments does not work alone. These HCP's also recommend paying attention to and working on other factors as well, namely:
~Nutrition. Which may also include supplements
~Sleep. Proper restful, restorative sleep, of course
~Stress Management such as deep breathing or meditation. (I personally
would also recommend Faster EFT
~Exercise. But this is not your typical exercise. These exercises would include the stretches and movements that are recommended by your chiropracter, or acupuncturist, or massage therapist for home self-management. They show you how to move and stretch to keep your muscles toned and limber. This helps avoid a lot of the seizing and cramping of your muscles by gently keep them strengthened.
Acupuncture, Dr. Keating says, works in a four-fold manner. It promotes an anti-inflammatory response, an antibiotic response for immune boosting; it acts as a muscle relaxer and as a pain pill! So if you are in a flare now, see if you can get thee to your acupuncurist now! It will definitely help the pain, but that pain will have less of a chance then to add to your inflammation, or seize up your muscles! The sooner the better.
He provided a brief history of Acupuncture's "trip to the United Staes," but I'll leave that for another time. Suffice it to say that after many studies and tests by American medical schools, facilities and doctors, it was proven that acupuncture increases circulation, and decreases inflammation. It helps pain of all sorts, and a number of other issues, that are currently being studied..."for proof." [I'm sorry, but 4,000 yrs of successful use is proof enuf for me, but you know the FDA and Big Pharma.]
Dr. Keating said Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the US, which had at one time included the whole package - the spiritual aspect, nutritional aspect, herbal healing, acupuncture, and more - has pretty much zeroed in on Acupuncture alone. Some therapists do use Chinese herbs, natural roots and other things, which were always combined and made on the spot as needed (fresh), where the patient also steamed and strained the concoctions and so on. But now, they mostly use bottled and prepared herbs, especially in the U.S. At PM,PC they don't use Chinese herbs, but they can and often do recommend helpful supplements found at nearby healthfood stores, or a few at PM,PC.
CT, of course, asked about the needles used in Acupuncture. They are solid and very fine - about the size of a cat's whisker - smaller than the thickness of a horse hair, and anywhere from 3" to extra long at 5" (which are rarely used). SM asked how deeply the needles were inserted. Dr. Keating said it depends on where it will be located on the body and what he is trying to achieve. On the face, for example, needles are placed very shallowly, and barely pierce the skin. In a thigh muscle or the gluteous maximous, it may be placed deeper. The needle can be inserted into the area above a tender point and release the pain spasm where the muscles have knoted or seized up tightly so that the muscles can relax to normal. OR if a set of muscles have been stretched and are too loose and weak, the needles can be inserted to cause the muscles to pull up and snug back to their normal tone and tension.
This works extremely well for migraines too and headaches, to relax the scalp muscles and ease the tension at the base of the skull, or near the eyes. Also the neck and shoulder tender points that have seized up can be loosened quite nicely to relieve neck and shoulder pain.
Fibro Fog, stomach issues and hormonal issues are also relieved with Acupuncture but in a different fashion. The needles are placed in a variety of areas to allow the Chi in the irregular areas to move more freely. The needles may go in the hand or the foot or elsewhere but the Chi will flow exactly to the right hormone, or the intestines or to the brain, helping the Fibro Fog. It's all connected; even if we don't see how a needle in the hand will help mental faculties - it does.
Dr. Keating spoke of Auricular Acupuncture which is acupuncture of the ear, where where one can find all the points for everything in the body. He spoke of acupuncturre for treating cravings (for sugar, chocolate, etc), smoking, drug use, and more. He spoke of Diet and Nutrition: specifically mentioning that grains, each and every one, turn to simple sugars in the body and are just as hazardous as sugar to the body especially because sugar is an inflammatory - a pain-maker! He spoke of eating anti-inflammatory foods by following the Mediteranean Diet, Vegetarian Diet, Acid/alkaline Balanced Diet, or the Paleo Diet for example.
Most Insurance Companies cover the massage, EMS, and Chiropractic services, but few cover the Acupuncture treatments. However. This month Preventive Medicine, PC has changed their prices for Acupuncture. They used to charge $75 per treatment. NOW, the charge is $45.00 per treatment! This is really good news. He mentions that 1 - 5 treatments is all that is normally needed for many specific issues. But one can set up regular weekly or monthly sessions for chronic or ongoing issues.
Preventative Medicine, PC
James Keating, DC, MSAc
212 Edison Rd, Suite B
Mishawaka, IN 46545
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org