East Meets West

Acupuncture and Pain Medicine Combine for Pain Relief

In 1986, Cole Young was a strong 21-year-old man with a solid career in construction. His career was brought to an abrupt halt when the ladder he was standing on fell apart beneath him while he was working 30 feet in the air. He fell to the ground, crushing his left foot and a vertebrae in his back on impact. His foot injury required surgery. It was also necessary for him to wear a back brace for eight months. His injuries kept him out of work for a year, and reduced his ability to work in construction from then on.

Twenty-seven years later, the injuries have taken a toll. “As a young man, I was able to continue to work through the pain, but it’s catching up with me now that I’m getting older,” he says. Young was having regular headaches, neck pain and burning in his back. With the advice of his primary care physician at JenCare, Young decided not to live with the pain anymore.

He made an appointment with Dr. Munshi at Louisiana Pain Specialists in Marrero to see what his options might be. After a painful experience with an epidural in the past, he was skeptical about having a procedure done, but optimistic about the potential outcome. “ A little pain to get rid of a lot of pain down the line is worth it,” he says.

Dr. Satvik Munshi

Dr. Munshi was hopeful about being able to help Young. “At Louisiana Pain Specialists, we pride ourselves on taking the time to fully understand the origins of a patient’s pain and to develop a truly comprehensive plan of care. We believe that by using a balanced, multidisciplinary approach, our patients come much closer to their goal of pain relief as well as an improved quality of life.”

After an initial consultation with Dr. Munshi, Young decided to go through with two procedures: a nerve block for his headaches and an epidural steroid injection for his lumbar spine. In spite of his uncertainty, the procedures went smoothly. “Everyone is so friendly, and Dr. Munshi lets you know what’s going to happen.” He was also surprised to find that the procedures were not painful for him, and have given him some relief without having to utilize medication. “It’s so much better than having to take pain pills,” he says.

With minimizing the use of medication as a priority for him, and on the advice of his primary care physician, Young decided to complement his pain management at Louisiana Pain Specialists with acupuncture at JenCare. “I had my doubts about acupuncture, but I went into it open minded. The Chinese have been doing it for thousands of years, so there must be something to it!” His acupuncturist at JenCare, Ashley Johnson, agrees. “Acupuncture, a time tested, 5,000-year-old medicine, has recently gained acceptance as a credible form of healthcare in the United States. Acupuncture is best known for relieving pain and treating many other physiological problems.”

An article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine backs up Johnson’s assertions. It details a randomized study of over 600 adults with low back pain that had their progress followed for a year. Although the mechanism of action is still not completely understood, the study found that acupuncture is an effective treatment for chronic low back pain. This academic study and other like it have lead to the frequent incorporation of acupuncture into traditional pain management interventions.

Young‘s experience reflects the study’s findings. After his very first treatment with Johnson at JenCare, he had some relief. “I almost decided not to go through with my epidural procedure, but thought that along with the acupuncture, it could only provide more relief.”

Johnson explains the mechanism as understood by trained acupuncturists: “Acupuncture relieves the pain from sciatica by easing the tension in the muscles, while reducing inflammation and further relaxing and stretching the fascia. Sometimes, it can even encourage a disc to slip back into place.”

Like the physicians at Louisiana Pain Specialists, Johnson knows that each patient is unique and requires a distinct plan of treatment. “No two cases of sciatica are considered alike and this is another reason why patients like to use acupuncture as a complementary therapy to traditional pain medicine. We all have different constitutions and health backgrounds, acupuncture offers a custom-tailored treatment plan for your individual condition. Typically you can expect to see a significant reduction in the pain by the fourth or fifth treatment if not sooner.”

After the two medical procedures and four acupuncture sessions, Young is getting the relief he was hoping for. “With the procedures and acupuncture, I am able to do more, because I get fewer, less severe headaches and my sciatic nerve is not acting up as much.”

Louisiana Pain Specialists is an integrative pain diagnosis and intervention medical practice. Louisiana Pain is built upon three basic tenets of practice: an accurate working diagnosis, a balanced approach of appropriate medications as well as interventions aimed at improving quality of life, and utilizing treatments that are substantiated with results.

To schedule an appointment, call (504)754-2334

JenCare Neighborhood Medical Centers is an integrated medical practice bringing better health care to Medicare-eligible seniors. In the New Orleans area, JenCare operates four centers: Mid-City, Metairie, Kenner, and Gretna. The website for the patient-focused medical practice is JenCareMed.com.

Satvik Munshi, M.D. joined Louisiana Pain Specialists in June 2013. He received his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine, completed an internship in Internal Medicine at Tulane University Health Sciences Center, and residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, where he served as Chief Resident. Dr. Munshi is double board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine by the American Board of Medical Specialties. He takes great pride in his kind and gentle bedside manner and believes in spending time with his patients in order
to fully understand their pain condition.

Ashley Johnson, M.S.O.M., L.Ac.
(NCCAOM), ACA is the Acupuncturist serving

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