About Pain in General

Pain is considered acute if it happens suddenly, and chronic if it manifests over time. Acute pain usually involves the muscles and bones and is caused by injuries while chronic pain develops slowly, sometimes over years and often involves organs and nerves. For acute pain, acupuncture, herbal remedies and “tuina” (body manipulation and massage) are a proven and effective treatments and are alternatives to prescription painkillers without the same risks and side-effects. For chronic pain, initial treatments are used to bring the pain under control. It can typically be kept in check with regular treatments while we work on healing the root of the problem.

Back pain, Stiff neck, Neck pain and Frozen shoulder

These pains typically come from strained muscles. Causes may be poor postural habits, sports or work injuries, and motor vehicle accidents to name a few. For minor problems a few quick treatments usually yields excellent results. Early treatment may avoid more serious problems down the road, a stitch in time saves nine. More serious problems usually take longer to remedy and may often involve referral to other professionals where necessary.

Posture Issues

Poor postural habits account for the vast majority of chronic pain and are often the underlying causal pre-condition for many acute injuries or even organ problems. Many postural issues stem from poor core strength. The core provides us with structure and stability and when forces we exert upon our core exceed its strength, we either begin to injure these muscles or more often we recruit other muscles which over time cause muscular imbalances and lead to dysfunction resulting in chronic pain. Acupuncture can be used to train the body, and when combined with appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises can rebuild your core more effectively than simply exercise alone. These include proper standing, active sitting and body awareness during sporting or other activities.


Sciatica is usually felt in the hip and often runs down the side of the leg or the back of the leg and may even radiate to below the knee. It is caused by a muscular pressure on the sciatic nerve (piriformis syndrome) or by dysfunction of the low back affecting the nerves. Usually a few treatments and some maintenance exercises readily solve this issue.

Joint Pain & Sprain

Joint pain may be acute due to injury or sprain or chronic due to arthritis or bursitis. These can include tennis elbow or pain in the wrist, ankle, knee, shoulder, hip or fingers and toes. Acute problems can be caused by sports or work injuries and acupuncture is particularly effective at reducing pain and swelling promoting faster healing. Early treatment following injury is vital to reducing the risk of worsening of the problem.

Arthritis, Tendonitis, Bursitis

These are usually more chronic in nature and may involve flare-ups at the site of an old injury or be affected by changes in the weather or may be improved or worsened by exercise. Acupuncture is used on the front-line to relieve the pain and inflammation, but managing this type of chronic pain often includes developing and maintaining good posture, changes in diet and changing your exercise. Herbal remedies are also often very helpful when there are issues with the underlying biochemistry, particularly for arthritis.


Headaches are most commonly caused by poor posture or work habits combined with stress. Other causes include various types of infection from the common cold to meningitis. Most of these are effectively relieved or improved by acupuncture or herbal therapy, but some (like meningitis) are dangerous and must be treated at a emergency primary care facility.

Jaw Pain and TMJ

Pain and dysfunction in the jaw has numerous causes but often includes muscle imbalances in the jaw or face. Sometimes these problems can also manifest as sinus, hearing or eustation tube issues that can cause infection. Tuina (Chinese body manipulation) and sometimes acupuncture effectively resets muscles and relieves tensions and may resolve these problems.

Auto Injuries

Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVAs) often cause long term and more serious issues, especially when involving whiplash or other serious medical traumas. Acupuncture is strongly recommended in addition to the other types of treatment during the rehabilitation phase of healing. Acupuncture can help at all stages of healing, but it is of great benefit to start earlier rather than later when pain and dysfunction may have become set-in.

Chronic or Ongoing Muscle Pain

Pain in this category includes chronic back, lumbar, jaw, TMJ pain, headaches and joint pain, including arthritis, tendonitis or bursitis. Managing chronic muscle pain also often includes developing and maintaining good posture as well as identifying any ongoing causes. Following initial treatment, personalized instruction is given for exercises to strengthen and bring awareness to the problem areas to avoid repeated injury. These include proper standing, active sitting and body awareness during sporting or other activities. If you work with a personal trainer, important issues for your progress are shared and communicated to them with your permission.

Chronic Organ (Visceral) Pain and Nerve Pain and Dysfunction

The causes of chronic pain and dysfunction from diseased organs and nerves is much more difficult to treat in all medical systems and is often inconsistent in its response to treatment. Examples include trigeminal neuralgia, stroke sequelae, to digestive pain or issues. Treating chronic conditions and pain is a particular strength of Oriental Medicine, especially where conventional medicine is ineffective. Treatment includes acupuncture, tuina and herbal medicine. If done properly, side-effects should be minimal or non-existent. That being said, chronic visceral or nerve conditions are often tenacious and require careful and maintained periodic treatment, usually less frequently but over months or years.