Musculoskeletal / Neurological Disorders
What & How can Acupuncture Help?

What Can Acupuncture Treat?

Back Pain
Stiff Neck
Trigeminal Neuralgia
Headaches & Migraines
Cerebral Palsy
Muscle Spasms

How Can Acupuncture Help?

Acupuncture is the fastest growing alternative medical modality in the United States. Most of the information regarding acupuncture therapy revolves around its ability to treat pain syndromes. The biological mechanism behind acupuncture is rooted in its effect on the circulatory, endocrine and nervous systems. Clinical research suggests various mechanisms for the therapeutic results of acupuncture:

Hyperstimulation analgesia (gate control theory)
Stimulation of endogenous opioid production
Stimulation of neurotransmitters
Defined spinal, subcortical, cortical loci
Diffuse noxious inhibitory control (DNIC)

Most of the physiologic responses above have a direct effect on pain in the human body, making acupuncture an excellent candidate for pain management. Research is ongoing as to the efficacy of acupuncture for various common pain syndromes with recent studies showing great promise. A recent study at the University of Maryland shows acupuncture as very useful in treating osteoarthritis of the knee as compared to sham acupuncture or no acupuncture treatment. One of the issues with researching acupuncture is the absence of strict protocols(treatments are individualized) making true double-blind clinical studies difficult.

Currently acupuncture is widely accepted as a suitable therapy for most acute and chronic pain syndromes including lumbalgia, cervicalgia, arthritis, tendonitis, and headaches. The increase of local area circulation coupled with the stimulation of endogenous opioids produces a reliable analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect with lasting effects. Acupuncture is very effective as a component of pre and post surgical rehabilitation helping to control pain, reduce inflammation and improve surgical outcomes.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a form of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in your joints. It can affect any joint but is common in the wrist and fingers. More women than men get rheumatoid arthritis. It often starts between ages 25 and 55. You might have the disease for only a short time, or symptoms might come and go. The severe form can last a lifetime.

Rheumatoid arthritis is different from osteoarthritis, the common arthritis that often comes with older age. RA can affect body parts besides joints, such as your eyes, mouth and lungs. RA is an autoimmune disease, which means the arthritis results from your immune system attacking your body’s own tissues.

No one knows what causes rheumatoid arthritis. Genes, environment and hormones might contribute. Treatments include medicine, lifestyle changes and surgery. These can slow or stop joint damage and reduce pain and swelling..

In the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, RA signs and symptoms are very similar to a disease group called Painful Obstructive Syndrome or Bi Syndrome. Depending on the different signs and symptoms the patient presents with, the treatment will vary from individual to individual.

Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with conventional medical treatment to help with pain, inflammation, and progression of RA. Acupuncture can regulate the autonomic nervous system, hormone, and neuropeptide release and metabolism which can indirectly help regulate the immune system.


National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
NIH Consensus Study on Acupuncture, Alt. Tx.: 4:1:22. Jan. ’98.
Kawakita K, Shinbara H, Imai K, Fukuda F, Yano T, Kuriyama K. How Do Acupuncture and Moxibustion Act? – Focusing on the progress in Japanese acupuncture research -.J Pharmacol Sci. 2006;100(5):443-59.

Bell’s Palsy

Bell’s Palsy is a disorder of the facial nerve (cranial nerve VII) which causes paralysis on one side of the face. The facial nerve controls muscle function from the top of the eye down to the chin, and thus Bell’s palsy will cause the whole side of the face to droop and appear expressionless. Lacrimation and salivation can be affected. It typically comes on suddenly, lasts for a few weeks, and gradually goes away.

The cause of Bell’s palsy is unknown, but the herpes virus is possibly involved. Chinese medicine views this condition as a kind of “external Wind invasion”, and indeed many Bell’s palsy patients associate onset of symptoms with exposure to wind and cold. Although the condition is usually self-limiting there are some cases in which symptoms persist for longer than two weeks. Acupuncture is an extremely effective treatment at any stage of Bell’s palsy, but is especially indicated in persistent cases. In these unusual cases acupuncture alone can increase muscle control and tone dramatically.


Headache is a very common complaint and very broad in terms of possible causes. The vast majority of headaches are not life-threatening and their main repercussion is the pain itself. Acupuncture is an effective treatment for headache, especially when combined with specific acupressure techniques. There is almost always a muscular component to headaches and unless this is addressed by acupressure and tuina (Chinese massage techniques) there will be limited success. Even powerful western medical drugs do not always work for headaches because they do not address the skeleto-muscular component. We have had great clinical success treating headaches even when western medical intervention is not effective.

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Stroke Rehabilitation

Choosing the right treatment regiment for post stroke patients is a major factor in their recovery and plays a vital role in determining their quality of life after a cerebral accident. Most physicians agree that post stroke care should be delivered by experienced health care practitioners within different treatment disciplines to help improve all of the various aspects of the patient’s life.

Acupuncture can play a pivotal role in these patients rehabilitation and help to alleviate and reduce symptoms such as: hemiplegic, muscle spasticity, aphasia, dysphasia or difficulties swallowing, sudden confusion (dementia), mental processes impairment, depression and urine incontinence and retention.

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Lower Back
After visiting 5 spine surgeons and receiving 5 different opinions, not to mention having 1 surgery and countless medicated pain shots, I have just about given up on traditional medicine. And after just a few acupuncture sessions with Jessica, I am finally hopeful again! Thank you! – Shana

Pain for a Shattered Tibial Plateau / Back Pain / Leg Pain / Sciatica
I was introduced to acupuncture years ago and I am your biggest fan! When I broke my leg 5 years ago and had to have surgery, I decided to have acupuncture in conjunction with my physical therapy. My surgeon and physical therapist were both amazed as to how quickly I was healing. I gave all the credit to your center and still do! I have to say that acupuncture is so very relaxing and really does alleviate pain! I have referred friends/relatives who are all quite pleased with their treatments/success with acupuncture. In addition, I always appreciate the courtesy I am extended by everyone. Thank you! – Jeanne Caminis

Leg, Back, Shoulder & Neck Pain
I was referred to you by a former patient, Jeanne Hensler (you did wonders for her shoulder) so she called me and said what do I have to lose, so I set up an appointment with your center in Parkville, did they care oh my yes they did. I was greeted by a professional secretary, who helped me out with all the paper work.
I have dealt with both Brian and Dominic (mostly with Dominic) he has been wonderful. I was unable to lift my leg to put my sox on however that has changed and I feel less stressful, in physical things that I can do now that it was impossible for me to do in the last 10yrs. I feel great and I am still going to Dominic on a weekly basic. Would I recommend your services – oh my God Yes! It has helped me a great deal in things
I have to do in every day life’s activities. Thanks for all you done – Jack Cimino

Chronic Pain & Shoulder Stiffness
I have been suffering for years with neck and shoulder pain on the right side. I have been to the MD and had numerous tests and received anti-inflammatories, with only short term relief. Physical therapy made the condition worse. Brian has worked miracles and acupuncture has been the only thing that brings me relief for an extended amount of time. If I could get a different job instead of hunched over a computer I would probably be pain free permanently. I am always singing his praises and recommend acupuncture to everyone, he was even able to help my husband with his knee pain. – Nancy England

Three Deteriorated Discs
I had an accident where I fell back into a flimsy deck chair and it broke. That started my pain in my lower back. Went to get x-rays done and turns out I have 3 deteriorated discs, one worse than the other 2. Surgery was not recommended and was told to do 6-8 weeks physical therapy. So I went to a chiropractor. At that point the pain was severe and went in for small treatments. I slept wrong on my side one night as I was in so much pain and woke up with a pain in my neck, shoulder and my fingers were numb. I told the chiropractor this and he twisted my neck slowly twice then snapped it quick from one side and then back to the other quickly. At first the pain seemed to go away, that was for the first few hours anyway. The next day the pain in my neck and shoulder was worse than ever and I still had the lower back pain.

I decided to try acupuncture and for anyone that’s nervous about pins or needles don’t be at all. I can’t say for sure that it was completely the acupuncture that helped me recover or me taking it easy and slowly working out and being more active, a combination of the two helped. I can say this though, that each time I left the chiropractors office I could barely walk but leaving integrative health each time felt I felt really good. It is a very relaxing setting and I think even just to use that as a stress reduction is a good use of time.

Jessica Ellerman is my acupuncturist and I have yet to thank her for helping getting me back to being mobile and more active. Jessica is very thoughtful and asks the type of questions that allow her to select the areas to work on. She is great and although I haven’t been in a couple weeks, I plan on coming back soon.
– William Priddy

Chiari Malformation I (backaches and muscle tightness)
Maria has been my massage therapist for over four years. I was diagnosed with Arnold-Chiari Malformation in 2006, at the age of 22, and was suffering from backaches, neck and shoulder pain, and muscle weakness, all of which caused me to be on muscle relaxers and pain killers 24/7 every few weeks. My neurosurgeon suggested massage therapy and my personal trainer recommended Maria to me soon after. Maria practically saved my life. We talked about my condition and what she can do for me and I started to see her every other week. With every appointment, my muscles relaxed and I was able to get off of the medicine. Maria really noticed which areas needed to be worked on and always made sure I was comfortable. Four years later, I still see Maria every few weeks (now after a massage I can go 4-6 weeks without my muscles cramping up) and she is still amazing. She has had to work on my hips, legs, neck, back and shoulders and has really changed m y life. This year I gave my husband a gift certificate for his birthday and he thought it was the most relaxing massage he has ever had.

In March 2011 I finally started acupuncture. It was always something I wanted to try and I am so happy that I did. Jessica has been great and my neck and back are feeling even more relaxed. Between treatments with Maria and Jessica, I am finally able to sit at my desk and not be in pain all of the time. I am working out and participating in a kickball league.

IHC has been incredible to me. Susan and Colleen are so sweet and are really helpful when it comes to scheduling and working with insurance companies. They have both been so kind over the years and I can’t thank everyone at both of IHC’s locations enough. – Samantha Knight