stress

Treating PTSD with Acupuncture

by Nicole Murray, L.Ac.
At Beach Community Acupuncture, we treat the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on a regular basis. Acupuncture regulates the nervous system response and lowers stress. At BCA, our patients with PTSD report reduction in symptoms like: obsessive thinking, insomnia, panic attacks, and nightmares. To be most effective, we prescribe daily treatments for 10 days, then maintenance as needed.
About PTSD
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people may develop after living through or witnessing a dangerous event. When facing danger, it is natural to feel anxious and fearful-the nervous system “fight or flight” response is designed to help keep us safe. When these symptoms persist long after the danger has passed, PTSD is the likely diagnosis. In essence, the signals become damaged and the person experiences fear even when there is no danger.
We hear a lot about combat veterans with PTSD. Aside from the trauma experienced during war, people may develop PTSD after an accident, assault of any kind, natural disaster, or any terrifying event. The sudden death of a loved one or other strong emotional shock may also trigger PTSD.
The National Institute of Mental Health classifies the symptoms of PTSD in three categories: re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance symptoms, and hyperarousal symptoms. Symptoms are outlined below.
Re-experiencing symptoms
* Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
* Bad dreams
* Frightening thoughts.
* Re-experiencing symptoms can be triggered from within-according to the person’s thoughts or feelings. External reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing (think of a car backfiring after a person has heard gun shots).
Avoidance symptoms
* Staying away from places, events, or objects that [...]

Hypertension

by Mary Vincent, L.Ac.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is one of the most common disorders seen today. The harder the heart has to work to pump blood through the arteries, especially if those arteries are clogged or narrowed, the higher your blood pressure will be. This can ultimately damage the heart.
The blood pressure is read by two specific measurements, the systolic pressure (greatest force of blood during contractions when the heart beats) and diastolic pressure (the least force occurring when the heart relaxes between beats). A normal, healthy blood pressure reading at rest would be between 100-140 mmHg for systolic pressure and 60-90 mmHg for diastolic pressure. In other words, healthy blood pressure is anywhere from 100/60 mmHg to 140/90 mmHg.
There are two types of hypertension:
Primary hypertension (also called essential hypertension):
This is the most common type of hypertension, accounting for 90-95% of cases. There is often no known cause found in the individual, and it tends to develop slowly over many years. Primary hypertension goes easily undetected, as individuals typically display no symptoms, even while damage is occurring to their heart and vessels (including vessels of the eyes, brain, and kidneys). Often referred to as the “silent killer,” it is important to check your blood pressure regularly (every year or two for those with past healthy readings, and more often if you tend to border on the high end of a normal reading). Risk factors that make a person more likely to develop hypertension include:
▪ Age: The arteries tend to harden as we age
▪ Genetics: Men, African Americans, and those with a family history of hypertension are at greater risk.
▪ High stress levels
▪ Obesity: Excess weight means excess blood volume to [...]

Acupuncture for TMJ Pain

by Mary Vincent, L.Ac.
What Is TMJ?
TMJ is an abbreviation for the temporomandibular joints, which are the joints on the face that connect the lower jaw to the skull and allow the jaw to move up and down, forward and backwards, and side to side. It is common for people to refer to themselves as having “TMJ” when they have pain or dysfunction related to these joints. Pain can be intermittent or can be chronic and last for years. It can cause mild discomfort or be severely debilitating (particularly when the problem is related to the bone or jaw structure itself). At best it causes some discomfort in the most basic life functions—eating, talking, yawning, etc. It affects women more commonly than men, and typically occurs between the ages of 20 and 40.
 Signs and symptoms indicative of dysfunction in these joints include:
* Pain in the jaw joint and/or pain while chewing
* Neck and upper shoulder pain
* Headaches, particularly at the sides of the head
* Ear pain
* Toothaches
* Clicking and/or popping when opening the mouth (locking of the jaw when severe)
* Upper and lower teeth not lining up properly
* Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
* Sinus Problems—some sinus issues can also trigger pain in the jaw muscles
TMJ Disorders and Acupuncture
The most common reason people come in for TMJ pain here at BCA is due to issues with the jaw muscles rather than the joint itself, and this is almost always simply due to grinding or clenching of the jaw muscles in relation to high amounts of stress or anxiety. The person usually experiences jaw pain (often in the morning, as many people clench [...]