DetoxSkinImmune DiseasesPain Management & Orthopedic DisorderObstetrics & Gynecology

Spine & Neck

You may not know it, but your posture can be causing you problems. A Spinal & Postural Analysis by Optimal Health’s trained professionals will alert them right away to the status of your posture, so that they can discuss with you any issues they find. After such an analysis, you will be given some options regarding how to correct and improve your posture for better overall health and appearance.

If your spine is out of alignment or your posture causes you to slouch, then your muscles are not working at optimal levels. Poor posture can also cause irregular wear and tear on your joints…and that can lead to arthritis problems. When your posture is bad, chances are you’re not even breathing correctly. You many not even feel as rested as you could be since posture issues can make you feel fatigued. Your organs may not function at 100% efficiency, and you may experience abnormal stress on your joints, tendons, muscles or ligaments too.

Tingling and numbness in the hand and/or arm may be from a bulging disc in the neck. Nerves branch off the spinal cord and exit the spinal canal, providing sensation and movement control to specific areas of the body. If one of these nerves is irritated by a bulging disc at the spine, symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness, weakness, or clumsiness may occur. Developing an effective treatment plan depends upon the nature and extent of the nerve irritation. Acupuncture for a bulging disc in the neck may be an excellent treatment option.

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Shoulder Pain

If you or someone you know has shoulder pain, you’re not alone. According to Physician and Sports medicine Online (, there are about 4 million people suffering from shoulder problems on any given day. We ask a lot of our shoulders. This joint has the largest range of motion and yet it must be strong and stable enough to allow us to move heavy objects. In my clinic shoulder pain is the second most common ailment that I treat – back and neck pain is the first.

Marcia Mueller, L.Ac. Different Drummer Acupuncture, Acupuncture for pain, sports injuries, fertility and stress., Portland, OR 97225Most of us tend to think of the shoulder as only consisting of the joint between the humerus (our arm bone) and the scapula (the shoulder blade), but actually there are two other joints involved. The clavical (collar bone) articulates with both the scapula and the manubrium (the top of the sternum in the center of our chest). Also, there are 19 muscles that can affect the shoulder.

Rotator cuff injuries are very common and acupuncture is very good at treating these. Four muscles and their tendons comprise the rotator cuff. They initiate all the movements of the shoulder and they stabilize the joint. These muscles often develop micro tears or worse resulting in inflammation, pain and/or weakness. A frozen shoulder has very little range of motion and can be quit painful. For unknown reasons middle aged women often get frozen shoulders.

VDT syndrome ( video display terminal syndrome ) is usual with white collared workers, who is required to work in front of desks all day long. The awkward position of looking down the computer monitor constantly strains the cervical spine, especially the C5, C6 and C7 regions. Also the between shoulder blade pain is also caused by this sitting and working position. The increased usage of laptops, netbooks, ebooks, tablets and smart phones, all lead to constant strain of the cervical spine and the shoulder.

  • Immediate relief from sprain and strains
  • Better at removing tension spots than deep tissue massage
  • Improves ROM (range of motion) within few sessions
  • Shoulder blade pain, TMJ symptoms, frozen shoulder, rotator cuff pain and tear, shoulder bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, brachial plexus injury, myofascial pain syndrome, turtle neck syndrome

Acupuncture is wonderful for treating and healing shoulder pain. Besides using acupuncture I also will recommend stretches and exercises. Often a Chinese herbal formula is used to supplement the acupuncture. My advice is not to ignore shoulder pain. If you are experiencing pain, weakness or restriction in your range of motion please get it checked out and remember that acupuncture can be a very safe and effective treatment

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Headache & Migraine

It is estimated that approximately one-third of the world’s population suffers from chronic headaches or migraines. Despite many modern advances in the diagnosis and treatment of headaches and migraines, many people continue to suffer daily affecting their work and family lives. The significant impact this has on people’s lives have led many people, and many medical professionals, to seek out alternatives to pharmacological therapies such as acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

Migraine Treatment: A Natural Alternative

The need for alternative treatments for migraines has sparked a great interest in acupuncture research to determine whether this therapy is indeed a solution to this widespread problem. In 2009, The Cochrane Collaboration, perhaps the most stringent and exacting scientific review group in the world, issued a report summarizing the results of 22 clinical trials that included 4419 participants. Their 108 page report came to the following conclusions:

  • There is consistent evidence that acupuncture provides additional benefit to the treatment of acute migraines or to the routine care of migraines.
  • Acupuncture is at least as effective as and possibly more effective than conventional drug treatment with fewer side effects.
  • Acupuncture should be considered as a treatment option.

Symptom Relief by Treating the Cause

The most significant difference in the treatment of headaches from the Traditional Oriental Medicine perspective is the importance placed on determining the underlying cause of the headaches. Whether a patient’s headaches are determined to be tension type headaches, sinus headaches, migraines, or cluster headaches tells us a great deal about the underlying problem that is allowing the headaches to manifest and the treatment necessary to resolve the problem. Rather than just trying to eliminate the pain as most modern medications are designed to do, Traditional Oriental Medicine seeks to eliminate the condition that is allowing the headaches to manifest as well as eliminate the pain and discomfort.
As with any condition, it is also important to review the patient’s medical history and also examine other factors that may be contributing to their headaches such as sleep problems, chronic pain, hormonal imbalances, and stress. With headaches and migraines in particular, it is important to receive treatment frequently in the beginning of your treatment regimen. The effects of acupuncture are believed to be cumulative so the more frequently you receive treatment in the beginning the better results you will achieve in the long run.

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Motor Vehicle Accident Injury

It happens without warning. One minute you are driving along, and the next you are in a motor vehicle accident.

Whether it is a minor fender –bender or a more serious collision, you could be left with pain and discomfort. Seeking care right away can make a major difference in your recovery and reduce the chances of a long-term health problem. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offer a safe, effective way to treat your health concerns and optimize your well-being after an automobile accident.

Common injuries after an accident:

There are a variety of injuries that can occur after a motor vehicle accident. Some injuries and symptoms may appear immediately, other may take hours or sometimes days to appear. Being in an auto accident is not something to take lightly.

Below are common injuries that can occur:

Low Velocity Injuries – Usually occur when you are driving under 10 mph, or if you are hit by another vehicle that is traveling 10 mph or less. These injuries usually cause muscle strain or seat belt bruises. Other symptoms may be delayed, but pain and stiffness may occur within 12- 36 hours after the impact.

High Velocity Injuries – These injuries are sustained when your vehicle or another vehicle is traveling over 10 mph. Often times injuries usually result from the body hitting objects in the care, such as the dashboard, window or the steering wheel. Common problems resulting from this kind of impact include head, shoulder or knee trauma; a variety of contusions, wrist fracture, neck sprains and concussions.

Traumatic Cervical Syndrome (Whiplash) –

This type of injury occurs when the neck is forced into rapid movements faster than what your bones, ligaments and muscles can accommodate. This injury is usually referred to as a whiplash, which is a non-medical term for the strain or a sprain of the neck caused by sudden movement. Even a seemingly minor accident can cause soft-tissue and musculo-skeletal injuries such as whiplash.

Whiplash Symptoms include:

  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Back pain
  • Pain in your shoulders or arms.
  • Other symptoms can include memory loss, poor concentration, nervousness and irritability, sleeplessness or fatigue.

Treatment options

It is important to seek care promptly for any injuries and symptoms immediately after an accident. It may be a difficult decision to choose the right from of care to address you pain and discomfort. But it is an important decision to make in order to keep current injuries from becoming chronic. Depending on the type of injury, chiropractic, massage, physical therapy and acupuncture are the most commonly used treatment modalities. It is also common for patients to combine different modalities for faster results and to be able to address different aspects of an injury.

How acupuncture can help

Acupuncture and TCM has the ability to successfully aid in the healing of soft-tissue injuries, relaxing the muscles, relieving painful symptoms, helping your body regain its natural balanced and vitality as well as alleviating any stress and anxiety.

Chinese Medical Theory –

A fundamental statement from Chinese Medical theory states, “If there is free-flow, there is no pain; if there is no free-flow, there is pain” Based on this theory facilitating the circulation and flow of blood and Qi (pronounced “chee”) will eliminate pain and restore balance.
According to acupuncture and TCM, Qi is the life or vital energy that animates and strengthens the body. Qi flows through pathways called meridians and pushes blood to all of the body’s organs, tissues, muscles, and tendons to provide nourishment so that they can function optimally and respond to normal wear and tear.

In an accident, you may experience physical trauma that disrupts and restricts the flow of Qi and blood leading to pain, stiffness and a host of other problems. Acupuncture activates your body’s self-healing and self-regulating capacities, helping to bring great circulation to the area that is being treats and function like a magnet for improved blood flow. Through acupuncture, a consistent flow of blood is restored, returning the muscle to a normal state of realization, flexibility and reduced pain.

There are also the emotional effects of an accident, including shock and anxiety. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are excellent for calming the spirit, reducing anxiety, and relieving the symptoms of shock.

Acupuncture and TCM provide a natural and effective way to help you regain your health and wellbeing after a motor vehicle accident. It is a powerful and ancient health care modality that can restore your body’s balance and harmony, heal the injured area, reduce stress and anxiety which are common after an accident, and return you to pain-free living.

I will bill for most car insurance companies, so the patient can focus on treatment and getting back to wellness and a sense of well-being. Also, be sure to check your insurance to see if you have paid into what is known as Med pay. If you haven’t already done so, inquire with your insurance carrier about including it in your general coverage. It is quite affordable and can offer you great relief and support your health and recovery should you have the misfortune of an accident.

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Sport Injury

Acupuncture has a very successful record with sports injuries, in fact – today many professional and college sports teams have acupuncturists on staff to decrease healing times and address other health concerns. In our practice, we have found acupuncture to be an extremely effective modality for treating athletes of all types. Our wide range of experience includes helping professional athletes reduce their healing time, to increasing range of motion for the weekend golfer.

Acupuncture Treats Pain and Accelerates Healing of Sports Injuries

Those who turn to us may already know the benefits of acupuncture, while often we see new patients who have exhausted other options: pain pills which don’t offer a sustainable solution to heal the body, physical therapy which may not have alleviated the pain satisfactorily, and even chiropractic or massage therapies, which also didn’t bring about enough improvement. While each of these therapies may have their appropriate application, we encourage you to consider acupuncture for treating your sports injury. You will find it plays an important role in the recovery process.

Increasing performance and health for active people

Acupuncture can also help with complaints associated with physical activity, training or beginning an exercise regimen, such as shin splints and muscle soreness.

As you age, your body’s ability to process metabolic toxins slows down. Physical activity can lead to a buildup of lactic acid, which often results in muscle soreness, since this byproduct isn’t eliminated by your liver and kidneys as efficiently as it once was. It can also result in headaches, and some people notice odor in their sweat when they have a buildup of toxins.

Acupuncture and herbs can improve your body’s ability to excrete and remove toxins. It helps keep your body running smoothly, just like regular tune-ups help keep your car on the road. With acupuncture, you will notice that recovery is much quicker and your body’s detox process is working at a higher level, helping to keep your body functioning at its peak performance.

Acupuncture to Support Sports Injury Surgeries

While some sports injuries may require surgery, the path to full recovery can be speeded up with the help of a skilled acupuncturist. For example, a ruptured Achilles tendon requires surgery immediately, and recovery can be long and gradual. But with acupuncture treatment, your tendon can heal and strengthen much faster allowing for greater range of motion and less scar tissue.

Commonly seen Sports Injuries that typically respond well to acupuncture treatments include:

  • pulled muscles
  • tennis elbow
  • low back pain
  • ankle sprain
  • tendonitis
  • shin splints
  • knee pain
  • repetitive motion injuries
  • cramping and spasms
  • rotatorcuff injuries

Benefits of Acupuncture for athletes include:

  • Reduced pain and swelling
  • Increased range of motion
  • Improved recovery time
  • Increased strength and stamina
  • Relaxed muscles
  • Improved circulation

Acute vs chronic pain

All injuries should be properly assessed before beginning acupuncture treatments to rule out something serious, such as a fracture. That said, the sooner we can treat you after the injury the better chance we have of assisting your body and restoring optimal recovery. Depending on the severity of the injury, it’s quite common to see improvement within the first two sessions.

Chronic Injuries – meaning those that have persisted over time can prove to be more stubborn when it comes to healing time. While more sessions are typically needed, patients generally see progress and feel improvement throughout their course of treatment.

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