Thursday, August 19, 2010

Arthritis Case Study

Nearly one in five Americans have arthritis or chronic joint symptoms. So not surprisingly there are two people in my household with some form of arthritis. With so many people having an issue with arthritis I chose it as my topic to research in pathology class so I would be more knowledgeable when I need to help a client with arthritis and so I could learn to better help the people close to me.

The person I chose for my case study has arthritis in her hands and ankles, a degenerative disk in her low back, and had recent surgery for a bowel obstruction. In the five elements of TCM arthritis would fall into the wood element, the low back pain would be influenced by the water element, and small intestine issues are part of the fire element.

For her six weeks of weekly massages I started out with the general one-hour relaxation pattern with some extra attention to her hands, ankles, and knees. I taught her the Small Intestines qigong for the dragon qigong we do in class to help with her digestion, but also because the movement rotates the wrist and arm up to the shoulder blade where she holds a lot of her tension. After two weeks with that qigong I showed her the Painting the World qigong to give some range of motion movements to her low back and also to massage the abdomen. I showed her yin-yang palms to get her wrists moving and the blood flowing. I told her how to massage her own abdomen with oil in a clockwise motion to help her heal from the surgery and to get her bowels moving.

Depending on what concerns she had the day of the massage I used some different acupressure points. Large Intestine 20 for her sinus headache along with the Large Intestines pain path down the arms for headaches. I used Stomach 8 to help calm her mind on a day she was noticeably stressed out, and spent some extra time on Stomach 41 for anxiety which I always use in a massage.

After six weeks of weekly massage she told me that she was pain free in her hands for 10 hours after the massage and pain free for 8 hours in her back. She really enjoyed the qigong movements. there was less inflammation in her back, the muscles around that vertebrae were less tense, with less chronic pain overall. she also commented that she felt a huge difference the next day in whether she drank a lot of water or not. Not drinking enough water left her feeling more achy the next morning.

If I was to continue working with this client I would make sure to keep up with the qigong movements, adding more when she felt like she had the ones I taught her memorized. I would make sure to spend extra time round rubbing her joints and low back. Now I know how good it feels to have a lot of time spent on round rubbing, especially rubbing clockwise on the low back, I would make sure to include it in her massage. I would get some Po Sum On oil to use when massaging her hands, Po Sum On oil is warming, helps to relieve pain and aids in circulation.

She loved getting massaged and was a great person to work with. Even with out the changes in her chronic pain she was very happy just to be relaxed after her long hours at work.

No comments: