“It’s Just My Stiff Shoulders” is not an uncommonly shared statement by people seeking ancient Chinese secrets to a magical solution to a condition that has a cause-and-effect which first must be diagnosed. Muscle tension and other physical complaints require evaluatation to weed out serious conditions, as well as to determine the degree to which a combination of variables are at play. Below are a few possible causes for “stiffness in the shoulders.”
- Blood sugar imbalance
- Improper posture
- Vascular compression
- Heat or Cold Stagnation
- Cervical imbalance
- Repetitive Stress Injury
“Just” is not just. A proper diagnosis must be conducted to ascertain the cause of stiffness. Only then can treatment commence. At times, needles can prove very effective. However, if the problem is blood sugar or blood-pressure related then herbs are going to be most helpful. If the problem is cold stagnation then moxa is essential. Each of the conditions above involve varying aspects of body function. The upshot is ever important: even though a condition manifests at one place in the body, its causes often originate elsewhere. As such, approaches will vary.
Moxa isn’t used in many acupuncture offices because it takes a lot of time to do, plus most office buildings don’t permit the smoke. However, moxa is a super vital tool in the Chinese medicine bag. Moxa is the stuff burned during treatment, a modality which is called “moxabustion.” The herb burned is called “artemesia.” It’s one of the many varieties.
Moxa comes in many forms, but the constant is if something’s burning, it’s moxa. Many people like the smell very much. At the very least, moxa allows for application of very directed heat. The concept of pathogenic cold is a bit of an enigma. The results speak for itself. Moxa is key when conditions do not respond to needles or when the effects from needles do not hold.
I’m not sure if I mentioned that moxa takes much time to administer. It’s not just a matter of dropping needles and letting the patient cook on their own. The doctor has to be present throughout the treatment. Some methods require actively attending to a point or area through a device known as Tiger Wamer.
From the perspective of a proper doctor, no case is ever “just.” Patients are naturally skeptical that they’re being strung along by the practitioner. On the other hand, practitioners are often dealing with multiple issues that will not resolve instantaneously. This is particularly the case if a patient feels better after the treatment but does not feel the benefits building from one session to the next.
Stiff shoulders, especially chronic stiff shoulders, must be diagnosed as any other condition. Sometimes herbs or moxa is a more direct end to addressing the root cause of distress. A single session is not very realistic for problems serious enough to seek the care of a health professional. That said, very early in the course of treatment, you should see enough signs of improvement to give you hope that you are on the road to recovery.