Someone posts this meme on my Facebook wall every time it comes around and it makes me sad.
Look, I HAVE BEEN THERE. I was in severe chronic pain (9/10 on the pain scale) for years after my car accident. I was supposedly “crippled for life” and I UNDERSTAND the frustration and dark humor that arises from being in that situation. And I am the last person to try to tell you how to feel.
BUT… I also know as a professional healthcare provider, with 20 years of experience treating that chronic severe pain that you will heal better – and handle it better emotionally if it CANNOT be healed – if you are able to think of your body as a sick or injured friend instead of an enemy. Your traps and paraspinal muscles do not hate you. They are struggling.
Imagine you had plans with your friend, and they cancelled because they had strep throat. You wouldn’t be mad at them and call them terrible names. You would wish them speedy healing, and maybe bring them soup, right?
Your muscles have been damaged by injury, repetitive stress, or poor ergonomics. They are doing the best they can. What if they are screaming because they are under duress, and need your help?
LISTEN TO THEM.
Fix your posture (Lift the head and relax everything else – don’t do the forced-back rigid thing). Get some light, frequent movement. Start as small and briefly as you need, even if it’s making snow angels in bed, and gradually increase your level of exercise as you can. Weed out ergonomic problems at your desk. You want to challenge the body part instead of stressing it, which also means avoiding retraumatizing it with violent chiropractic or overly aggressive massage. Find a skilled acupuncturist and / or therapeutic medical massage specialist who can retrain your neurological and fascial systems. If you’re storing stress in your body, try to find ways to release it. Reduce inflammation, via meds if necessary, but also via your nutritional choices (sugar increases your pain). Learn to consciously relax your muscles – it’s difficult at first, but incredibly powerful when you practice, and will change your life. Please talk to me if I can help you learn about these self-care ideas or give you hands-on care.
Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM) is based on energy management. I know that sounds woo-woo, and it was hard for me to wrap my scientific brain around that at first. I thought all those meridians (channels of energetic flow) were just superstition or a handy mnemonic to remember neuro-muscular junctions (where nerves join with muscles to control them). Instead, decades of experience has proved over and over to me that these energetics are real. I think we just don’t have the technology to see it yet, so it seems as mystical as an X-ray would to a medieval doctor.
There is a category of points used to promote the movement of stagnant energy. These are enormously helpful to reduce pain, and I also use them to evict overdue babies (along with some lower back points and the uterus point on the ear). I can usually help mothers avoid a chemical induction that way. For a baby that’s not yet at term, I will need a doctor’s note saying it’s okay to stimulate labor before your due date.
Other acupuncture is perfectly safe for pregnancy. If you have pain, I can use indirect methods to treat it symptomatically, and do the musculoskeletal work to relax your muscles and realign the bones.
If you are pregnant and want to stay that way, AVOID THESE POINTS when getting a massage, etc. The first three have links to more information and pictures.
If you are fully vaccinated, or can be socially isolated for the two weeks before your appointment, I’d love to see you in person! You can read about the safety protocols here: http://rosecityacupuncture.com/blog/soft-re-open/ If that’s not possible for you, we can do a telehealth session over a HIPAA-compliant secure videochat. We’ll focus on immediate relief plus long term strategies. I can also teach your loved ones how to work on you. This will be a full hour (half hours for very simple or followup appts) of customized information and instruction for you, including:
discussion of possible causes of your issue(s) and identify lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your pain, stress, etc.
acupressure, both self-applied treatment and lessons so you can use it in the future
medical massage lessons, so you can treat yourself and your loved ones
teaching your partner / housemate how to do acupressure or medical massage for you
nutrition counseling to reduce pain and speed up healing
movement instruction – including rehab exercises, to build strength and mobility, and stretches (did you know I used to be an ACE-certified personal trainer and bodybuilder?)
anxiety and trauma self-care solutions
explanations of what’s happening in your body and brain, in easy-to-understand language
help with assessing / adjusting ergonomic setups (work space, sleep, etc)
help with reframing your internal monologue
This list is bound to grow, as I discover new ways to help you! Some patients like to take notes, but I will send you an email afterwards with links to information we talked about, acupressure points, etc. so you don’t have to worry about remembering everything.
I invite you to check out my reviews on Yelp and Google.
Here are a few recent ones:
JG: 5 stars
Sharon treated me in a virtual appointment for autoimmune issues (I am not strictly isolating and I respect her safety measures). Not only did she help with acupressure and nutrition advice (which has improved my issues tremendously), she was very considerate of my autism-related communication needs. Thank you so much for the valuable help!
RS: 5 stars
Sharon is a wonderful practitioner, compassionate and dedicated. Even during the time of coronavirus she was able to help me with a virtual session deal with some pulled muscles and give me feedback on stretches, diet changes and other things that would help me move better. It was so great to have access to that and to be able to consult with her. Highly recommend.
AK: 5 stars
I set up a virtual appointment with Sharon for pain in my feet that my other doctors haven’t even talked to me about. Since we are in quarantine Sharon showed me self massage and pressure points that I could do to manage my pain. After only one appointment my feet feel SO much better!
DG: 5 stars
Sharon is the most wonderful, caring, and knowledgeable therapist I have ever seen. She’s the best of both Acupuncture and Manual Therapy all wrapped into the perfect package. I have seen a large handful of other medical therapists and she is the only one who has been able to help with my chronic pain. My only wish is I lived in the same town so I could see her more regularly. I saw her last weekend and when I got home my Physical Therapist exclaimed “who is this woman and where can I find her?!? You look great!”
UPDATE: I ended up taking a week off of work to stay in Portland and get treatment (I live in Spokane, Wa), and a few follow up sessions over the next couple months. After three years struggling to find anyone to help, she finally helped me be pain free in a matter of months!! Anytime I do anything stupid to reinjure myself, I know where to go. There are no words to express my eternal gratefulness for this kind hearted healer. 💕
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. I’m here for you!
I’m currently seeing people who are either fully vaccinated OR strictly isolating in person. Masks are still required. I’m happy to be treating people again! Because many of my patients fall into the higher risk categories, I am taking all possible precautions to reduce our exposure to Covid-19. If you can’t isolate or get vaccinated, read about my telehealth appointments here!
“Fully vaccinated” means two weeks past your second shot (or single J&J shot).
If not fully vaccinated, please limit your potential exposures in the TWO WEEKS before your appointment.
To me, strictly isolating means:
Not going into buildings like grocery stores (I’ve been using Fred Meyer curbside pickup- they don’t charge for it and you can usually get same-day slots)
Not eating at restaurants
Not going to a bar or gym
Not using public transport
Not hanging out with people you aren’t living with
Wearing a tightly woven cotton mask over your nose and mouth if coming in contact with people (when outside, doing curbside pickup, etc).
PLEASE don’t make an appointment if you (and spouses, parents, children, or anyone else you live with or have contact with) cannot stay isolated before coming in. Remember that exposing me means also exposing the rest of my patients, including the medically fragile. Please be considerate and careful.
If you are in a high-risk group, remember I am in a large office building with shared HVAC. The good news is that represents a small risk rather than a large one, but I am building a home office that will open *fingers crossed* in September.
UV-C air sanitizers have been placed in each room. Plastic sheeting is under the linens, and is sanitized between each patient. Of course sheets will continue to be changed between each patient, as always. A touchless thermometer is used to test all patients. Temps above 99F cannot be treated. There is a touchless hand sanitizer (alcohol) dispenser in the waiting room for your use.
2) My actions:
I’ll be wiping down surfaces between each patient. I’ll be masked (N95) and wearing a shield for close contact (neck & facial work). You’ll get an automated email screening the day before you come in. Please complete it, every time. If you are sick, have had any symptoms in the past 2 weeks, or have been exposed to someone you know is sick in the past two weeks, I cannot treat you. I have touchless methods of payment (credit cards via square, paypal, venmo). I can also take cash, but will not have change handy. The cash will simply go into quarantine.
3) Changes you’ll make:
You will get a Covid screening email 24 hrs before each appointment. Please complete it. :)
You will need to wear a mask, and keep it on the entire time. I have a limited number of cloth masks to loan you, but if they are used / not yet laundered, I won’t be able to see you. Please do not bring your entourage. Although I usually enjoy seeing your family and friends, I am limiting companions to those needed for medical disability or language translation. If you arrive early, please wait in your car or outside the building. I will not be able to take you early. Please keep in mind I am spacing patients apart both for extra cleaning time in between, and to allow potential air particles to settle.
I know this all sounds like a lot.
I know this is scary.
By being smart about this, and taking precautions, we can get back to normal life as soon as possible.
Ok, now that you’ve read all that, please schedule online here, or call me (503-964-3422) to book or ask questions. I’m looking forward to seeing you!
A patient came in today with lower back pain. When she got onto the table, I saw this familiar pattern: Take a look at her ankles. Before I started work, both of them looked like the “before” (left) side. This tendency for the foot to turn in is called “ankle supination.” It can be caused by many things, but in her case she had some fascial adhesions on the medial (inside) ankle.
The way our feet strike the ground affects the entire chain … the ankle, the knee, the hips, the back. In extreme cases, a dysfunctional gait can even affect your neck! I knew I needed to address her ankle supination for long-term back improvement. Having canted ankles can also contribute to more foot movement inside the shoe and create blisters / calluses.
After acupuncture to treat her back pain, we did some medical massage. I reset the the function of her back muscles and finished with some myofascial release on the medial ankles. After I worked on the left, the difference was so striking I wanted to share it. Of course after I snapped the evidence pic, I went on to correct the right ankle, too.
When she stood up, she felt good, but a little unsteady. This is normal – she was used to the adhesions doing the work of stabilizing for her. I instructed her to go for a little walk. Now that the musculoskeletal system is corrected, light movement will provide feedback between the brain and muscles. They will reintegrate, and start doing the supporting they’ve been neglecting. Typically, at the end of this walk my patients tell me they feel terrific!
Sit or lie down and take a look at how your feet are aligned at rest. Do they curve in (ankle supination)? Out (ankle pronation)? Or maybe just one is crooked? If the answer to any of those is yes, come see me, and let me help you straighten out your gait! :)
Purely coincidentally, I’ve had two patients in the past two days with the exact same complaint: Lightheadedness / confusion / disassociation from the body. One had gone to get an MRI and X- rays, but everything came back fine. One had severe neck pain, one didn’t.
Both had had dental work recently. Imagine lying back at an awkward angle for a long time, while tense…. Sure enough, both had upper cervical (neck) vertebrae out of place. The bones were cutting off the blood supply to the brain!
I treated both with acupuncture and medical massage, relaxing the muscles and gently easing the vertebrae back into place. Both patients reported instant improvement. Please remember this next time you have a headache / confusion following dental work, or any other stress on your neck.
Last weekend was a full two days of continuing ed – 5 classes! Two were based in Chinese philosophy: Ghost points (used here to treat intrusive thoughts, or “haunting” memories) and Korean 4 needle technique, which is based on the elements. Those two weren’t really clicking with me, but I thoroughly enjoyed the three on Sunday. One covered the energetics of food, and how to adjust your ingredients to match your health needs and the seasons. One covered important legal aspects of running a practice (HIPAA, security, malpractice, etc). But the best one covered my favorite topic of all – the nervous system. Keep an eye out for a followup post that will explain in detail, but the short version is this: In chronic pain conditions, the brain thinks you are being continually damaged, and amplifies its reporting of pain above what’s physically happening in your body. By understanding the how and why of this, we can stop the ramping up and quiet the alarm bells. This both reduces the amount of pain you perceive in the moment, and allows the movement you need to heal. I’m really excited about incorporating this into both my practice and my personal life.
I’ve put this off for a long time… I’ve only raised my rates once (6 years ago) since I started practicing 15 years ago. I prefer to stay accessible to *all* people, but my rent keeps going up and my student loans are still horrific. So, starting July 1st, my new rates (which remain on the low end for my industry) will be as follows:
An hour of acupuncture and medical massage: $100
4 pack of hour sessions: $360 ($40 off)
A half hour of acupuncture OR medical massage: $60
5-pack of half hours: $270 ($30 off)
Birthday hours will retain their $20 discount, for $80. Smoking cessation and Returning Veteran treatments will still be free.
Any packages purchased at the old rates will be honored. In fact, feel free to stock up before July 1st, if you like. Thank you, and I look forward to serving you all for the next 15 years!