Pain as a Dashboard Light

Chronic pain Chronic Illness Stress Wellness

Many patients struggling with pain are frustrated and often feel hopeless about their conditions.  As discussed in my last post, we have an incredible power to heal.  You can read more about that here.  That said, certain conditions come and go over our lifetime.  Many patients that have experienced this ebb and flow have shared their fears about losing their quality of life – losing the ability to climb down on the floor and play with grandchildren, to walk in the park with their dog, to stroll on the beach with their significant other, to travel, to visit family, and so much more.  

Recently a patient with Spinal Stenosis and low back pain that had led to an inability to get in and out her car without lifting her thigh with her hands came in for an initial appointment.  She also mentioned she was no longer able to walk up and down stairs.  She had tried pain meds, physical therapy and other options but over the previous 9 months nothing had helped and she was feeling hopeless.  After a few Acupuncture treatments she was able to get in and out of the car with ease and grace again, and she slowly regained the ability to climb stairs.  

One day she came in and she was frustrated, she had to lift her thigh with her hands to get in and out fo the car.  We discussed her weekend activities and she agreed she had over done it.  I challenged her to listen to her pain and start to see it as an indicator.  When it comes up, ask: What am I not doing to take care of myself?  Where am I overdoing it?  What have I stopped doing that has helped in the past?

Once a patient has been in treatment for a while and has had some success with their healing, I encourage them to think of their pain as an indicator not unlike a dashboard light in a car.

When things are in balance, the body heals and pain diminishes.  Along with Acupuncture, a number of lifestyle factors help promote balance including proper hydration, adequate sleep, a balanced diet and regular movement.  As part of an Acupuncture Treatment Plan, I discuss all of these with every patient and also monitor daily and monthly cycles such as sleep, digestion, menstruation as this gives us a window to other imbalances that may be related to a patient’s primary pain, dis-ease or condition.

Acupuncture Promotes Our Natural Healing Powers

Recently I took a tumble off my bike, I was covered in bruises and road rash.  I was sore but within a few days my skin started to heal, my bruises started to lighten up and the soreness started to lessen.  My body has the wisdom to heal.  I didn’t have to do anything to make my body do this.  

And not just our bodies. In nature we see incredible examples of this among plants and animals. If you saw a limb off of a tree, the tree will not die, but rather it starts a process to heal itself.  Healing is a natural process and is part of nature.  

Our bodies have incredible wisdom and generally know how to heal. From an Acupuncture perspective, when healing doesn’t happen, it’s not because the body can’t, it’s because there’s an imbalance and stagnation is getting in the way.  Remember from the last post, all pain is a form of stagnation, read more about that here.  

When we work to bring things into balance the body can do what it innately knows how to do.  This is why Acupuncture can naturally make a difference for so many types of pain syndromes, dis-eases and illnesses.  Simply put – as an Acupuncturist I use needles and acupuncture points to promote balance and in doing so support the body to heal itself.  

As we age, we are more prone to imbalance simply because we’ve had more bumps and bruises along the way, and the body is a little slower to respond.  Notice children often heal so much quicker than adults.  That said, at any age we have an incredible power to heal naturally.

Move Past Your Pain and Get Back to Living

natural cure for pain

As an Acupuncturist, I specialize in pain – physical, mental and emotional.  What does that mean?  From an Acupuncture perspective, all pain and illness is a form of stagnation; things are stuck and that stickiness is preventing the body from healing hence pain is present.  We all know what physical pain is.  Mental pain could be something like constant uncontrollable worry or an inability to fall asleep because of incessant thoughts about work.  Emotional pain could be stress, anxiety, depression.  Acupuncture can help with all of these.

Pain doesn’t just cause stagnation in our bodies.  It also halts our lives. 

Recently I treated a patient for Sciatica.  In her intake, I asked her about what she was experiencing.  We talked about where the pain originated from, how it traveled down her leg, how sitting is becoming difficult and ultimately how all of this is affecting her work and home life.  As we talked more about how the pain was impacting her life, her eyes welled up as she choked back the urge to cry and she told me, I want to be able to sit at the dinner table with my husband instead of standing at the kitchen counter.  We’ve all had an experience where pain stops us from doing the things we love, prevents us from spending time with people we love, and prevents us from living our lives the way we want to.  

During a patients initial appointment, this is what I want to know more than anything else – where is your pain preventing you from living?  This is why people choose Acupuncture over Ibuprofen.  Pain meds can take the pain away in the moment but when there’s an imbalance and the body isn’t bouncing back, long-term healing is stalled.  Acupuncture works to promote balance in the body, supporting the body to heal itself and ultimately reduce pain.  In my next post I’ll elaborate more on this.


I recently heard a comparison of the definitions for decision and incision. Incision is to cut into while decision is to cut away. We’ll come back to this in a moment.

Much stress and anxiety in todays world stems from too much – too much stuff, too many commitments, too many opinions, too many obligations, too much out flow. All of this “too much” is often pitted against not enough time – not enough time with family, not enough time to problem solve for my business, not enough time to eat well, not enough time to get out and move.

Time is the one thing that is finite for all of us. Regardless of age, wealth, health and happiness, we all have the same number of hours in a day. So rather than cutting into everything, what things can we simply cut away to free up space in our day for the things that matter?

Let’s talk about how “decisions” can be a tool to reduce stress and anxiety rather than a cause.

Schedule a free consultation today!

Choosing Wisely, Balancing Your Health and Your Joy.

Choosing Wisely, Balancing Your Health and Your Joy.

A basic tenet of Chinese Medicine is “Everything in moderation including moderation.”  Extremes of any variety can be unhealthy.  We see this with the rise of afflictions such as Orthorexia, a condition where people get so fixated on specific, “healthy” food choices they become regimented and inflexible—ultimately costing them joy, happiness and fun. read more…

5 simple ways to ease seasonal headaches

5 simple ways to ease seasonal headaches

This time of year can be particularly frustrating for people prone to headaches.  We are in this period of transition—is it Winter or is it Spring?  There’s a bit of a yo-yo back and forth with the weather, temperatures and barometric pressure.  read more…

9 ways to ease constipation

9 ways to ease constipation

Constipation is often thought of as merely a situation leading to a little discomfort.  However when not addressed, chronic constipation can lead to serious health problems.

In Western medicine suggestions to help with constipation often include: read more…

Detox for Wellness

Detox for Wellness

Detox, Cleanse, Purify, Fast – Are any of these a part of a wellness program?  I get a lot of questions about this broad subject. Detoxing, cleansing, purifying and fasting all work in similar ways.  By decreasing the amount of energy the body needs to break down nutrients from food, we create an opportunity for it to focus on letting go of waste and restoring itself.  For short periods of time, this can be quite beneficial. read more…

Living in Harmony With Nature: Spring

Living in Harmony With Nature: Spring

Spring is Here!

Yes, I know the first day of Spring is March 20, at least according to our modern Gregorian calendar. In Chinese Medicine, March 20, the equinox, is actually the peak of spring. Energetically we’ve been in Spring for several weeks. The Seasonal cycle in Chinese Medicine is actually based on the solar cycles. When the Sun is highest in the sky, summer peaks. When the sun is lowest and we experience minimal daylight hours, winter peaks. Based on this, we can extrapolate the rest of the seasons. read more…