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30% Kidney Function and Extreme Sciatica Pain
Patients with little problems don't come to my office. They go to the family doctor first because it's free, and then after couple of years of zero improvement(and loading their bodies with a bunch of pharmaceuticals) and gradually worsening of their conditions to the point of unbearability, they come to me.
I can't blame them; it's the way the system is set up. But the flip side is that I end up treating chronically ill patients whose doctors have pretty much given up on them, and subsequently having the chance to show what real Chinese Medicine is all about. Hence as much as I don't like patients disregarding and damaging their bodies in such blatantly careless manner, it's just the way they choose to treat their bodies.
Recently I treated a complex patient which gave me great satisfaction in terms of the improvement I was able to help them achieve. This patient is a female in her late 60s. One of her kidneys was surgically removed years back due to a certain anomaly. The current remaining kidney she has is functioning only at ~30%.
Her doctor requires her to go for regular screenings to track the ongoing health of the remaining kidney. Interestingly her edema is localized around her mid-portion rather than including the legs as is normally seen (perhaps due to the drugs she's taking causing incongruence between her pathology and clinical manifestation).
She also suffers from chronic lower back pain that goes all the way down to the legs, focusing the right side. The pain is so severe that she has difficulty in performing any movements or remaining in static positions for extended periods of time. Massage therapy don't help either. She also has constipation, a heavy sensation of the body, insomnia and depression due to the misery caused by the pain. On top of this she also has arthritis of the fingers that further renders her even less mobile.
As a result of the pain-killers, anti-depressants and a mix of other drugs she's taking to pull through her days, albeit with little to no success, she has gained significant weight(ironic considering her kidney problem), which of course makes everything worse due to the added pressure on the body. It's a vicious cycle indeed, but also an entangled mess. Despite the goodwill of her doctor, check-ups and monitoring don't do anything in terms of improving the future outlook on health.
The drugs she's taking don't help, and there's nothing to cut out of the body either. When modern medicine can't elicit any improvement either by drugs or surgery then they have nothing else to offer. This is the sad but honest truth every patient needs to keep themselves abreast of.
From the viewpoint of Chinese Medicine of course this patient has what we call "water evil". "Water evil" means this patient has excess accumulation of fluid toxins within the body that are not able to be eliminated by the kidneys properly.
Of course this seems almost common sense considering she only has one kidney functioning at 30%, but the reason of pointing this out is because Chinese Medicine can improve the efficiency of the kidney and gradually restore its health to a certain degree while conventional medicine methods will eventually kill it.
The fluid retention later starts to cause compromises in circulation and immune function, leading to situations such as her lower body and finger joint pains, both of which were diagnosed by other specialists to be some form of arthritis.
For this patient's I gave aggressive acupuncture(stimulatory, with jolts and jumps) treatment to open up the blockages inside the meridian energy channels of the body as well as herbal medicine to improve the function of her kidneys and water metabolism as well as to quell the inflammation and improve overall circulation, among other things.
After 1 month of treatments the patient's condition has improved significantly. The lower body pain used to be from the waist down, whereas now it is only confined to the lower 3rd of her calf. She's no longer taking constipation pills as her bowel movements have normalized. She's also feeling much lighter and her fingers can bend much more freely. As a result of all this, her mood has improved a great deal as well. It is a bit early to terminate treatment right now despite the progress, so she is continuing treatment still.
Earlier I said when modern medicine has no better drugs or any surgery to give, sometimes they will do something surprising - they will perhaps suggest patients to take more stronger drugs or consider more radical surgery. I don't make this up. This patient's doctor is considering her to have back surgery.
I told the patient that now you don't need that anymore but regardless something like that should be the last last last option to resort to(notice 3 'lasts'). Surgery is a one-way ticket apparently. If it goes well, one will see improvement, but probably not as much as one would have hoped, because something like back surgery for example is not meant to cure or even treat back pain; this is something even modern medicine acknowledges but depending on the situation may not be told to patients(and I wonder why surgery is needed). If it goes wrong however, then one's life is 100% over due to the permanent paralysis.
The patient recently went for another kidney exam and the function of the kidney has increased slightly by a few percentages, although this result reflects the conditions in November, and I believe the kidney function should be even better right now. She has also progressed thus far to becoming able to participate in yoga sessions, something she would not have even dreamed about in the beginning. The patient is still periodically returning for checkups and regular treatments.