A 32-year old active army officer had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. The patient reported having daily severe headaches that would spike up to a “12 out of 10”. These headaches were due to the head trauma suffered from the injury. The patient also had neck and shoulder pain as a result of the injury and from “just being stressed out”. In addition, the patient had night terrors most every night, was hyper-vigilant watching everything and everyone all the time, and was taking many different narcotic medications that were “only taking the edge off the pain.”

For her headaches, I did a series of points on the head at the location of the traumas. Additionally, I treated points on her feet and hands to address the pain. The neck and back pain was treated similarly, with local points at the pain sites, as well as points on her hands (see images below), legs, and ankles.

images-2 (SI3)     images  (Luozhen)

For the night terrors, hyper-vigilance, and fear, I chose points to calm her system in her hand (LI4), her wrists (HT7), her feet (GB41), and her chest (KD24).

I also did lots of in her ears for the pain, to calm the spirit, and to help balance her organ systems.

After the first four treatments, the frequency of her spikes of headache pain decreased and the daily pain levels were at a “manageable 5 out of 10. By the 10th treatment, she was sleeping more soundly, having many fewer night terrors. Her neck and shoulder pain had decreased to a 1-2, saying that she didn’t feel so stressed. And her hyper-vigilance eased where she could be in a group without having debilitating anxiety. Generally, she reported her overall disposition was much improved.

Due to the significance of her injuries, our acupuncture treatments became a part of her pain management regimen with medical doctors. She continued to take pain medication (though the amount was dramatically reduced), and for a time received botox for her continued headache pain. As well, she would see a therapist for her anxiety and hyper-vigilance.

I state her continued reliance on western medicine for two reasons:

1)    To demonstrate that acupuncture sometimes is not and should not be a stand-alone therapy, and

2)    To show that acupuncture can be a compliment to western therapies to improve the quality of life of a patient.

The final piece I’ll mention about her happened during our 7th treatment.  In the middle of the appointment she suddenly exclaimed, “Oh my god! I can smell!!!!!!” And she began to cry. Evidently, the head trauma from two years before had taken her ability to smell. She hadn’t mentioned this at all during our previous appts. I had no idea that she couldn’t smell.

Now, could that be a TOTAL coincidence? Absolutely. The head trauma that caused the loss of that sense could have healed to the point of being functional again regardless of the acupuncture. And still, one of the meridians that I treated frequently was her Large Intestine, which, as the following picture shows, goes to her nose and thus is the primary

images-3      images-4

meridian responsible for the sense of smell. So I’m not saying that I cured her sense of smell, but I won’t deny it either.

Today, the patient continues to be on the mend, coming in for occasional treatments. Her headache pain has continued to decrease. She does not consider herself hyper-vigilent or anxious anymore. And her everyday stress level is non-existant. She is happy and healthy and grateful!