Examination and Diagnosis
When you come to the Caesarea Pain Center, Dr. Goldman-Riddle will initially conduct a review of your health history. This will cover your personal and family medical history in much the same way your family doctor might. You may be asked questions that seem unrelated to your current concern, but which help her understand what is happening in your body. She will then examine you, using techniques that are thousands of years old, to determine the best course of treatment.
Doctors of Oriental Medicine diagnose imbalance in a person's body by employing four basic examinations. The first is inspection of one's spirit, physical form and bearing, facial complexion, tongue and other subtle signs of pain or illness. Next, listening to one's voice, and the sound of one's breathing as well as smelling any odors emanating from the body. Inquiry about one's signs, symptoms, medical history and course of disease, follow. And fourth, palpation of various areas of the body and especially the pulse at the both wrists.
Of these, two are the primary diagnostic tools to determine what type of imbalance is occurring. First, the pulse. In Western medicine, the pulse is only checked for its rate. In Chinese medicine, the pulse can have any number of qualities that tell the doctor about the state of the body. Different types of pulses, felt by palpation on the inside of both wrists, symbolize different types of conditions in your body.
The second important diagnostic tool is observation of the tongue, noting the color and appearance. Being the only exposed muscle, it reflects the state of the entire body. Specific areas of the tongue relate to different organ systems.
After the examination, a diagnosis from the Chinese Medicine point of view will be made. All imbalances in the body are termed either Deficient or Excess. Symptoms are considered either Yin or Yang. The Doctor will determine the pattern of disharmony and propose a basic treatment protocol which seeks to restore balance in the body.
To begin treatment, you will lie down on a treatment table. Single-use needles, generally thinner than the width of a human hair, will be gently inserted to Acupuncture points on the body which are specific to your condition. You may feel nothing, or you might feel tingling or pricking sensations. Once the needles are inserted, she will leave the room for 20-30 minutes, allowing you to relax.
After the needles are in place, there are often sensations of tingling, heaviness or a feeling of warmth around the needle. This is a desired effect which indicates that the body is responding to the treatment and balancing itself effectively. Once the needles are removed, the Doctor may discuss with you lifestyle suggestions which will help you. She may also prescribe Chinese Herbs which are suited to your particular condition.
You should not be surprised if she uses different points in treating you in follow up sessions. The needling techniques may also vary from treatment to treatment, according to the body's progress in the healing process. For example, she may use a stimulating technique in one area and a reducing technique in another, depending on whether there is Deficiency or Excess.
Are there any side effects to the treatment?
Usually not! Acupuncture treatments are normally deeply relaxing and rejuvenating. According to the NIH, adverse reactions resulting from Acupuncture treatment are rare, thus making it a good choice for safe, complementary care. As energy is redirected in the body, internal chemicals and hormones are stimulated and healing begins to take place.
Occasionally the original symptoms may worsen for a period of 24 hours, or other general changes in appetite, sleep, emotional state, bowel or urination patterns may be triggered. These should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that the Acupuncture is starting to work.
It is actually quite common to have a sensation of deep relaxation, which sometimes can even be mistaken for tiredness, immediately following the treatment. This will pass within a short time.
How many treatments will I need?
Acupuncture treatments have a cumulative effect in balancing the flow of energy in your body.
The number of treatments needed differs from person to person, depending on their constitution and the severity of their condition. For complex or long-standing conditions, one or two treatments a week for a few weeks may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required, and for health maintenance a treatment every 3-4 weeks is very effective.
Are there any “Do’s and Don’ts” on the day of treatment?
Yes. To enhance the value of a treatment, the following guidelines are important:
Plan your activities so that after the treatment you can get some rest, or at least not have to be working at top performance. This is especially important for the first few visits.
Continue to take any prescription medicines as directed by your regular doctor. Substance abuse (drugs and alcohol) especially in the week prior to treatment, will seriously interfere with the effectiveness of Acupuncture treatments.
Remember to keep good mental or written notes of what your response is to the treatment. This is important for the doctor to know, so that the follow-up treatments can be designed to best help you and your condition.
Do not eat an unusually large meal immediately before or after your treatment.
Do not over-exercise, engage in sexual activity, or consume alcoholic beverages within 6 hours before or after the treatment.