Acupuncture and herbs relieved shoulder pain
Chinese medical methods picked up repressed emotions
Psychosomatic illness is described as the bodily expression of an emotional or mental distress. Sometimes the term is used derogatorily, as if to say such physical expressions are not valid nor worthy of medical attention. Of course, this perspective is utterly unhelpful.
A young man attended my clinic for pain in the shoulder. He was generally healthy and fit. Attended the gym 4 times a week and his job required movement, no lifting of anything heavy though. However, he had faced an emotionally traumatic event a few years prior from which he believed he had moved on despite not having talked it through with anyone since. Not long thereafter he developed a soreness between his shoulder blades that came and went randomly. He had thought perhaps he had strained the muscles at the gym but nothing he did seemed to resolved it permanently, not physiotherapy nor chiropractic. A scan revealed no visible tears and certainly no fracture of the shoulder blades.
I was complacent, initially, thinking it was a simple strain. That was in spite telling the young man that he had unresolved issues and was ‘grieving’ still, from taking his pulse. Well, the soreness was a little relived but by the next visit it had returned. By the third visit, when the pattern of the pain being resolved with the treatment only for it to recur a couple of days later, I was frustrated at what had appeared to be ‘simple’ case not progressing satisfactorily. Then it hit me. I had forgotten my first diagnosis: the grief. A drastically different approach was called for. I treated his emotions via acupuncture instead. That time the result was dramatic. I followed it through with herbal prescriptions to treat his ‘stuck’ emotions.
The outcome of that treatment sustained and with a few more visits, the soreness of between the shoulder blades were resolved completed and maintaining. During these latter visits, my strategy was mainly treating the physical pain via the psycho-emotional route, using both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. The man had by then started to confide in close friends over the traumatic incident, revisiting it in order to let the past go. The willingness of the man to work with me in overcoming his physical issue was important in assisting him to move on.
It was definitely a lesson for me not to overlook the impact of emotionally traumatic events. It also demonstrated the strengths of traditional Chinese medicine. Psychosomatic illness? It’s real, not imaginary.