Okay, so he wasn’t REALLY having a baby, but he WAS passing a kidney stone. From his description, the kidney stone was at least as big as a “10 pound baby.”
I get phone calls on a daily basis from potential patients asking if I can help with certain ailments–many of which, I treat all the time. The things I treat regularly become second nature.
I’ll be honest, I don’t get very many calls from patients who are in the acute phase of a kidney stone attack. I knew that this was something I had learned about in college and that acupuncture could help, so I told her to bring him right in.
Chief complaint: Acute onset of kidney stone attack
The patient, a 57-year-old male, had worked all day at his office experiencing dull aching pain in his lower back, on the right, and hourly urination. Urination was not painful. As the day progressed, the pain became more intense and radiated into his groin and testicles. He went to the emergency room because the pain continued to increase to a 9 out of 10.
The doctors tested him for blood in the urine, which was positive, even though it could not be seen with the visible eye. A CT scan confirmed that he had a “small” kidney stone which had progressed three quarters of the way down the ureter. He was given medication to dilate the ureter and relieve pain. Then his doctor sent him home to wait it out.
The patient continued to experience pain for the next 24 hours. At this point, his wife called me for an emergency appointment. He had an important business trip the next day and the stone was not progressing. His pain was a 5 out of 10 while he was on heavy doses of hydrocodone, and it increased if he did not stay on top of his medication.
I didn’t have time to go back into my college notes for treatment suggestions. Nor did I have my book on Western medical diseases according to Chinese medicine on hand because it was at my other office. Three resources were available for my use at the moment:
#1: Balance the graph.
The BASELINE graph showed a belt block, so I made note in the chart that I wanted to treat the Dai Mai.
Next I clicked on the YIN/YANG graph to see which meridians that I wanted to treat. I treated the deficient yin meridians first, and then the excess yin meridians. I ignored what was happening on the yang meridians because for the most part they would be taken care of by treating the Dai Mai.
The points that I used to balance the graph were:
- Spleen 3 (the source point also works for tonification)
- Pericardium 7 (the source point also works for tonification)
- Kidney 5 (the xi-cleft point also works for sedation)
Once the tonification points and the sedation point were in, I then treated the Dai Mai.
- Triple Energizer 5
- Gallbladder 41
#2: Treat the symptoms.
In the AcuGraph reference section, under treatments, I found “Urinary Difficulties” which included primary points and subcategories such as with stones and with blood. The points that I chose to treat are as follows:
- Primary Points: Conception Vessel 3, Sleen 9
- With stones: Bladder 39
- With blood: Spleen 10
#3: Auriculo 360 treatment.
I did electrical stimulation on the active points for the Kidney Stones protocol. It is interesting to note that ALL of the points for the protocol were VERY active.
#4: Use my brain.
My brain told me to add electrical stimulation along the channel. The goal was to create enough vibration along the meridian so that the kidney stone would work itself down the final journey of the ureter and drop into the bladder. The pain that is involved with the release of a kidney stone is related to its descent down the ureter. Once it drops into the bladder, the pain subsides.
I chose to put needles in two ashi points on the right side of the lower abdomen where the ureter was located and hooked up electrical stimulation to those needles. I also put needles in Spleen 6 bilaterally, and created an electrical flow between those two points. Spleen 6 is a crossing point for the Liver, Kidney and Spleen channels, so I figured that I couldn’t go wrong with these points. The patient received electrical stimulation for 30 minutes.
The results were amazing. When he got off the table, the pain that he had been experiencing all day, was immediately gone. I believe that the acupuncture caused the stone to work its way out of the ureter and finally into the bladder.
Before my patient left, I gave him one final assignment. I asked him to continue to screen his urine and bring me the stone once it passed so that I could see just how BIG that baby really was. The funny thing is, that he never did see it pass. Once it reached the bladder it slid right through without him even realizing it.
I’m so glad his wife called me. I was able to quickly help alleviate the pain AND I gained a new patient! For some reason men seem to be more skeptical about acupuncture. Once I SHOWED him the AcuGraph reports he had visual evidence of the problem and how I was going to fix it. Everything finally “clicked” for him.
Click the image on the right to see a short video and learn more about the AcuGraph.
I’ve said it before, and I hope to say it as long as I live… I love my job!
See ya’ next week.
Kimberly Thompson, L.Ac.
Acupuncture Research Analyst
Miridia Technology In