Friday, April 8, 2011

Stroke recovery

I have a patient who at age 58 suffered a debilitating stroke.  This was two years ago.  Since then, his ability to walk has been severely impaired by lack of strength and poor balance.  His right hand is contorted like a lobster claw- he cannot use the fingers independently and frequently he would have cramping pain in the hand that required he take narcotic medication.  But worst of all is that he has aphasia.  He cannot express himself.  His only words are "oh" and "why".  He also has trouble understanding questions and instructions.  His wife brought him to me to try and help the pain in his hand.

After 3 weeks of twice-weekly treatment, he is improving.  He can now move all his fingers independently.  He requires medication for the pain less frequently, and when he does need it, tylenol is sufficient to relieve the pain and he no longer needs narcotics.  His balance is better and he can walk further and more steadily.  Yesterday in speech therapy, he said the first full sentence since his stroke two years ago.

We still have a long way to go, but this is very encouraging, especially considering that it has been so long since his stroke.  There is a documentary out now called "9000 needles" about a man who goes to China for his stroke rehab and makes an amazing recovery.   If you know anyone who has suffered a stroke, suggest to them that they get acupuncture.  In China, stroke's are not such a big deal as they are here. 

In the Chicagoland area, you can see me at A Center for Oriental Medicine in Wilmette, and at the Tiffani Kim Institute in Chicago's River North area. 

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