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Neck Pain, Hand Numbness and Back Pain
Most patients come visit for chronic and more systemic conditions. But once in a while I get visits for generalized aches and pains that, although by comparison are not as "debilitating", can still be a very big problem if they end up trailing on, especially for individuals whose professions are more physically demanding.
Recently an old patient visited me after many months of absence. The last time I treated him was for his upper back and neck pain, which after a few treatments of acupressure massage was dealt away with apparently. This time he's coming to see me for a similar problem, upper back and neck area soreness, together with numbness of the fingers, which are affecting his work. It got me to ask him if this numbness of the fingers was present as well the last time I treated him, and the answer was yes. So I presumed, the numbness is likely the over-tightening of the neck and upper back muscles which is compromising the nerve and blood flow down the limbs. Of course this is not an uncommon problem, since there is a nerve-vessel network under the trapezius muscle right inside the clavicle which can be affected easily from surround muscular tension(and which is a source of complication for clavicle fractures). After the first 1 hour treatment with acupressure, the patient felt immediate and significant relief of tightness. I told him to take things easier, trying not to overstrain if possible and use warm compress if he's got time.
A week later, the patient revisited. Overall, neck and upper back soreness had diminished quite a bit, and numbness was around 50%. This time however, he told me he recently sprained his back. He reported it wasn't because he was overstraining with heavy weights or anything, but just doing day-to-day activities when he heard a "click". He didn't care much about it, but it ended up getting worse. With physical inspection the back had some tight spots. After another treatment of acupressure massage, both upper and lower back soreness also got immediate relief post treatment.
The third time the patient revisited just recently, lower back pain had improved considerably over a period of 7 days post treatment. Physical inspection reveals tension from last time was not present so I can objectively say as well that the situation has improved. The only problem though, is that his numbness remains. This is interesting, because if the upper back is looser than technically this numbness should continue to improve, but the opposite is true. I then performed other physical tests, and discovered that the forearm and wrists have issues. This was later coincided with the patient telling me that his work involves a lot of fixed gripping positions. After another session of acupressure, the numbness disappeared post treatment. I then gave further instructions to tell him how to take care of the problem everyday after work.
During the first visit I asked if the patient had gone for other types of treatment, and he told me he had been seeing a massage therapist for some time already, but felt that what I did for him last time seem to go "deeper". To outsiders, I should say modern massage therapy and acupressure massage can both go deep or shallow depending on what the situation calls for and the personal styles of the practitioner. But modern massage therapy and acupressure massage are not the same thing. Acupressure massage is based on theories of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine while modern massage is based on modern medicine. When conventional massage therapy doesn't work, then perhaps acupressure massage might. For this patient as well, the physical complaints are generally due to overstrain, whereas for many people similar problems could be due to systemic issues such as organ and metabolic disorders. For these problems, physical work is not enough, but requires holistic diagnosis and administering of Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture.