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Acupuncure Blog

Great results: Using scalp acupuncture for RSD

So recently I've been treating a new disorder with good results that I learned about called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD).  It was first discovered in the civil war after a soldier with a gunshot wound had terrible burning pain beyond what was expected for the wound itself. 

According to RSDGuide.com, Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) is a medical condition that affects the patient’s sympathetic nervous system. RSD is characterized by severe chronic pain in an affected region, such as a patient’s arm or leg. After the onset, RSD will continue to worsen as time passes.  RSD is a debilitating and painful condition that has a significant impact on the patient’s daily life. While there is no cure, a number of treatments may be administered to relieve RSD symptoms. If treated early, patients typically have a better outcome.

According to Medicine.net, symptoms include pain (often "burning" type), tenderness, and swelling of an extremity associated with varying degrees of sweating, warmth and/or coolness, flushing, discoloration, and shiny skin.   The way a lot of people seem to describe it is that you're on fire.  It can be triggered by a variety of different events, for example, a gunshot wound as noted above.

When I first encountered this, the issue was on a distal area of the body and I wasn't allowed to needle there.  I looked up RSD and discovered it was basically the sympathetic nervous system gone wild.  I had been working with Zhu's scalp acupuncture quite a lot at that time, which are known to affect the way the brain sends signals to the nerves throughout the body.  It had worked amazingly well for a new case of post stroke rehabilitation.  The idea is that the brain sends both motor and sensory information to the body.  So I worked on both upper and lower motor points, as well as the sensory points.  Then I did some hand points, because the hand has nice points for the spine, low back, digestion, and calming the spirit.  Then ear points for calming the sympathetic nerve system, and working through the ear as a microsystem to treat the distal body points.

So far the results have been amazing. Despite lowering dosages of pain meds the patient is doing well.  I was actually reading about RSD on Dr. Zhu's scalp acupuncture website, and he has a great testimonial and case study on there - really interesting stuff: http://www.scalpacupuncture.org/phenomenal-results-for-reflex-sympathetic-dystrophy-rsd/

If you know anyone with RSD please refer them so I can help them as well!





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