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Acu in Practice: Prevention of Pain Flare-ups!

Welcome to acu in practice! This is my patient Tennessee, she is almost 11 years old and first came in for acupuncture on December 29, 2017. She had been diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) after an episode of temporary hindlimb paresis and marked back pain. At first, her acupuncture appointments were fairly frequent ranging from every 2-4 weeks and she was on a combination of pharmaceuticals and herbs to control the inflammation. Fast forward to 2020…Tennessee comes for regular maintenance treatments every 2 MONTHS and has not had another episode of paresis or pain since her first visit. She is not currently on any pharmaceuticals but does take Ligaplex II by Standard Process and Vetriflex chews by Vetriscience for nutritional support of the ligaments, discs and joints. She also receives Happy Wanderer by Kan Herb for her tendency to have pent up anxiety (Liver Qi Stagnation) that can translate to muscle and connective tissue tension.


At each visit, I check for trigger points and muscle tension around Tennessee’s spine and I always find some. I use traditional acupuncture needling to release the tension and trigger points (resolve Stagnation according to Traditional Chinese Medicine). This improves circulation in the area and reduces the chance that she will have a flare up of IVDD. Helping to restore normal posture also helps to prevent the escalation of arthritis in the spine.


The New Year is a time when many of us think about self-care. Preventative therapies like acupuncture are the ultimate form of self-care because they can keep us, and our pets, balanced and feeling well, reducing the chance that we will develop more urgent health problems or chronic pain.


This post was created by Nell Ostermeier, DVM, CVA, FAAVA and is intended for informational use, not to replace medical advice.