Sometimes pain in a small place can cause a big problem. This was the case for a patient of ours last year. She was a cancer survivor, doing well. Her doctor started her on a post-cancer medication to reduce the chances of recurrence. Acupuncture was helping with the side effects of this new drug, which included painful thumbs.
Medication Side Effects
Western medicine saves lives. Fifteen years ago a diagnosis of lung or breast cancer was a death sentence. Now, more and more people are beating cancer. But many of the innovative treatments have side effects. That’s where acupuncture can help. Acupuncture reduces side effects from cancer medications, as it did for our patient with painful thumbs.
Case of the Painful Thumbs
It all started when her doctor was reviewing a new medicine with her. The drug was designed to help prevent the return of breast cancer. And it worked well in that regard. But it did have troubling side effects.
For one, it often caused sharp, stabbing pain in the thumb joints. Our patient was expected to start experiencing this side effect a few weeks into the treatment. Second, it triggered hot flashes and night sweats. And sure enough, she began experiencing these symptoms within three weeks.
That’s what prompted her to visit our clinic. She had read about acupuncture helping with hot flashes and night sweats. At her first appointment she asked about whether we thought it could help with the painful thumbs. We told her it could, and we started treating her thumbs that same day, along with her heat symptoms.
The results surpassed our patient’s expectations. After just two acupuncture treatments, her thumb pain was 80% resolved. This was a pain that her doctor had warned could not be readily treated. He had suggested pain medications, but the last thing our patient wanted to take was more medications. So the fact that acupuncture could resolve the painful thumbs and allow her to continue the cancer medication was great news.
In addition, the acupuncture significantly reduced her hot flashes and night sweats. Acupuncture does this by helping the body regulate its internal thermometer. We treat menopausal women for the same symptoms.
After another three treatments her thumb pain was completely gone, along with her heat symptoms.
How Does Acupuncture Stop Thumb Pain?
Pain, from a Chinese medicine perspective, occurs when energy gets stuck. We call energy “Qi”, and it travels in channels throughout the body. Thumb pain is “stuck qi” in the channels that run through the thumb and hand. Acupuncture opens blocked channels, allowing qi to flow again.
The cancer medication caused blockage in channels, specifically in the area around the thumbs. Applying acupuncture to these areas reverses the blockage, resolving pain. It is a mechanical process that is highly effective. There are no negative side effects to acupuncture pain treatments. Just long lasting results.
If you have painful thumbs, or any other symptoms resulting as side effects from medications, try acupuncture. Treatments are completely safe. All needles are sterile, single-use and hair thin. You will hardly feel them. And treatments are relaxing. Many of our patients fall asleep during their sessions.
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What our Clients are Saying
I developed severe nausea during my chemotherapy treatments. Raleigh Acupuncture really helped. With each round of treatment I went for a few acupuncture treatments and each time they helped. I got through my cancer treatment easier with their help.