Case Study: Back Pain and Insomnia

Two people in different yoga poses on their yoga mats

A 35-year old woman came in with slight scoliosis and back pain that she rated a 6/10 on September 13th. The pain began 4 years ago and was aggravated by stress. She described the quality of pain as tight, aching and stiff, and recalled that it was so painful it would affect her breathing.

The patient also had difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, and was a light sleeper. Her slumber was often interrupted by disturbing dreams. When she would awaken, it would take 1-2 hours to fall back asleep and she was in bed for 6 hours an evening on average. In this case, the quantity and the quality of her sleep was lacking.

The patient received acupuncture treatment on the following dates:
9/13, 9/16, 9/20, 9/23, 9/26, 9/30, 10/3, 10/7, 10/11, 10/16, 10/17, 10/21, 10/25, 10/28 and 11/1.

By the 7th treatment, the patient stated that stressful situations no longer triggered pain to return. It was 50% improved by the 13th treatment and 85% improved by her 16th treatment. The patient rates the severity of 1/10. She described the quality of pain to be dull and expressed much improvement from the frequent acupuncture treatments.

After each treatment, she slept well, but the dreams were still present. By the 8th treatment the patient reported that she was sleeping through the night. In order to address the disturbing dreams, she was prescribed an herbal medicinal formula to strengthen her deficiencies and the dreams resolved.

Since adequate rest is vital to healing, it is important to address the sleep issues for faster relief from chronic pain. When the pain is gone, the patient can sleep more soundly. When the patient sleeps well following acupuncture, it is an indication that the treatments are working towards optimal health.

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