The World Of Acupuncture

Interview with Susan Dembo, Acupuncturist

What is acupuncture and how does it work to treat injuries or as a method of well care?

Acupuncture is based on the principles of Chinese Medicine and it is believed to be about 5,000 years old. This ancient medical system is practiced in most parts of the world and is now one of the fastest growing health care fields in the United States. The goal of acupuncture is to restore and maintain health by activating the body’s innate capacity to heal.

Acupuncture relies on the insertion of extremely thin, flexible needles into specific points on the body in order to regulate the flow of energy (Qi) and establish a balanced state.

Although acupuncture is recognized for pain management and stress reduction, it has a wide range of therapeutic benefits. It is an effective therapy for treating headaches, migraines, depression, asthma, sinusitis, allergies, fatigue, arthritis, low back pain, sciatica, muscle spasms, sports injuries, joint pain, TMJ, carpal tunnel syndrome, insomnia, menstrual disorders, infertility, hot flashes, digestive problems, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, nausea, tinnitus, dizziness, post-stroke paralysis, hypertension, substance abuse and addictions. Acupuncture helps regulate the nervous system, the endocrine system, and the immune system. It increases blood flow and microcirculation bringing oxygen and nutrients to all the cells, tissues, and organs. It strengthens the immune system, regulates hormone levels, enhances sleep, increases energy and vitality, reduces inflammation, releases natural pain-killing hormones, and activates the relaxation response.

Since acupuncture boosts the immune system, it can be used as part of a wellness program to prevent the occurrence of future disease and maintain optimal health.

How do you explain the essence of acupuncture to potential patients who may be nervous about undergoing treatment?

Acupuncture views each person as a unique individual with their own unique set of physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, and social factors that affect their state of health. Acupuncture examines all of these aspects to create a tailored treatment plan that meets the specific needs of each person.

Acupuncture is a gentle and safe healing experience and it is important for the patient to feel safe and comfortable during the treatment. In addition to explaining the procedures and techniques that will be used, I try to educate the patient about some of the underlying principles of Chinese Medicine. Many people are hesitant to try acupuncture because they have a fear of needles and assume that the treatment will be painful. Typically a slight pinch or prick is felt when the needles are inserted, but the sensation is not painful or uncomfortable. Once the needles are inserted, most people are pleasantly surprised at how comfortable they feel.

The needles usually remain in place for 20-30 minutes, and since acupuncture calms the brain waves, many patients feel quite relaxed during the session and may even fall asleep with the needles in place. The effects of acupuncture are cumulative so a typical treatment plan usually calls for a series of 6 to 12 weekly sessions.

For people with chronic pain who cannot obtain enough relief from prescription pain medications, acupuncture is an effective treatment that can alleviate pain and reduce the need for medication.

Describe the different modalities of Chinese medicine that you use in treating your patients.

There are several different modalities that can be used when treating a patient however needle therapy is the primary method. Acupuncture needles are ultra-thin and flexible with a diameter no bigger than a piece of thread. The needles come in sterile packaging for one-time use only. There are a wide variety of acupuncture needles making it easy to find a good match for each patient.

Moxibustion is another therapeutic technique that I frequently use. During moxibustion, heat is applied to specific parts of the body by burning the herb mugwort (moxa). When moxa is burned, its radiant heat penetrates into the body to relieve pain, expel cold and damp, increase blood circulation, relax muscles, stimulate the flow of Qi (energy), regulate digestive system function, and boost the immune system. It is believed that regular moxa treatments are helpful in preventing disease. Patients receiving moxibustion generally enjoy the feeling of penetrating warmth and find it very relaxing.

Cupping is a technique that involves placing glass or plastic cups on the skin at strategic places. A vacuum is created in the cups causing the skin to be pulled upwards. The cups are left in place for about 10 minutes and then removed. Cupping is used to stimulate the circulation of blood, relieve muscular pain, and ease respiratory disorders such as asthma and the common cold.

Electro acupuncture is a modality that is used to relieve pain. Needles are inserted and then stimulated with a low level of electric current.

There is even a pediatric modality called Shonishin. This is a non-insertive technique utilizing a variety of instruments that are pressed, rubbed, tapped or scraped on the skin to give different kinds of gentle stimulation.

Falling Accidents Crowd Emergency Rooms Across U.S.

According to the National Safety Council, falling accidents in the U.S. account for nearly 8.9 million emergency room visits annually. And, as you age, the chances of you falling increases.

Although often the cause of an individual falling is his or her own carelessness, or a result of a physical limitation, there are those times when a serious fall is the fault of someone else. That could include a landlord, a building owner, or the city or state you live in. If you fall as a result of another party’s negligence, you could recover damages and you should speak with an attorney who focuses on personal injury.

What To Do After A Fall

You do what you would do after a serious car accident or motorcycle accident – seek medical care immediately. If you cannot drive yourself or are too injured to be moved, make certain you or someone else calls an ambulance. If you are able, take photographs of the scene of the accident, particularly if there is an obvious object that caused you to fall. Also, if you can, make some notes as to what led up to the accident – if you cannot do this at the scene, then make notes as soon as you are physically able.

Look around you for any witnesses, and try to get their names. Again, if you are unable to do this, and someone you know is with you, have him or her ask witnesses for their names. Should this accident lead to litigation, eyewitnesses may help your case.

After you have been medically treated, make sure you follow the doctor’s advice, AND make sure to follow-up with your doctor, per his or her instructions. I will say this again: medical follow-up can mean the difference between winning or losing your personal injury case.

Proving Your Case

Proving negligence is rarely a slam-dunk. Unfortunately, the burden of proof is on you, the injured party. To begin with, you must prove that you were injured due to a hazardous condition. Then, you must prove that the landlord, owner, city or state government was aware of that hazard and chose to ignore it, rather than fix it. You also will have to prove that the hazard was something you could not have anticipated. For example, a faulty piece of pavement sticking out of the sideway caused your fall. Reasonably, you could not be expected to anticipate that.

The Other Driver Has No Insurance

Everyone’s worst nightmare is being involved in a car accident when the driver at fault is underinsured or not insured at all. In this unfortunate circumstance, and provided you can prove that the other driver was negligent, you may file a lawsuit against him or her, but you may not be able to obtain any compensation.

Normally, if you are involved in a car accident, both you and the other driver will notify your insurance companies. Your compensation is paid by an insurance company, and not by the person who caused the accident. However, if the person who caused the accident has no car insurance, the only way to obtain compensation is to sue that person, directly.

The problem, of course, is that individual may not have the financial wherewithal to hire his or her own attorney, no less to pay you for damages. And, if those damages are accompanied by costly medical bills and lost wages, you may not be compensated at all. You can’t squeeze blood from a stone.

It stands to reason that an individual who cannot afford car insurance likely cannot afford to pay you compensation to cover your injuries or damage to your vehicle.

What To Do

If you have Underinsured Motorist Coverage, your best and only option might be to file a claim with your own insurance company. In that event, you will receive compensation up to the limitations of your own coverage. Although you might want to pursue a lawsuit against the driver who hit you, chances are you would be wasting your time, and possibly, more of your money.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Sadly, the thing people remember most about actor, Christopher Reeve is that he was seriously hurt during a horse-riding accident and suffered a spinal cord injury that caused him to become paralyzed from the neck down. That tragic injury ultimately took his life.

However, there are countless other spinal cord injuries that do not cause that devastating a result, but may cause severe impairment nonetheless. In fact, if you suffer a disc herniation, slipped disc or ruptured disc from an accident, you probably will not end up in a wheel chair, but you certainly could end up in chronic pain. That pain could interfere with your being able to support yourself and your family, and could limit your physical abilities for the rest of your life.

A spinal cord injury can happen if you are involved in a minor or a serious car accident. You can injure your spinal cord if you are a construction worker and merely fall at the site; or if you trip and fall on faulty pavement. If you suffer a spinal cord injury, the damage may not show up on an x-ray. In fact, many times you will need an MRI or CAT scan to see the extent of the damage. That is called a soft tissue injury, and insurance carriers will fight those claims, regardless of the intense pain you are in or the amount of herniations that may be present in your diagnostic tests.

Insurance carriers will seek to prove that you already had that disc herniation or ruptured disc. They will undoubtedly have one of their own physicians write reports and even testify that your condition is a result of aging and not a result of your being the victim of negligence.

That means you need to be prepared. First, seek out an experienced personal injury attorney with an extensive knowledge of these soft tissue injuries who can fight the insurance carrier point by point. He or she will know how to navigate this complicated area of the law.

A good attorney will have a working knowledge of spinal cord injuries, and will know how to gather the medical evidence and present it in order to prove your case.

If you suffer a spinal cord injury due to the negligence of others, you may be entitled to compensation. But you will need professional legal representation to get what you deserve.

If You Are Injured During An Accident, You Might Need A Lawyer

Most people don’t imagine they will get into a car accident on their way to work or school in the morning. But, according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, in 2014 alone, there were nearly 125,000 non-lethal car accidents. Anyone can be involved in a car accident, and just because it isn’t fatal doesn’t mean it won’t cause serious impairment.

Also, just because the other driver appears amicable, doesn’t mean he will be cooperative down the line or that his insurance carrier will be cooperative if you are injured and need to make a claim. In fact, all too often, the other driver’s insurance carrier will seek to prove that you were the one who was negligent. And that other driver who you thought was so apologetic suddenly will change his story. He won’t remember, or he will suddenly remember that you did something wrong, even though he hit you from behind while you were stopped at a light. Anything can happen.

What To Do

As I have said time and again, if you ever are involved in any kind of accident due to someone else’s negligence and you are physically able, be aware of your surroundings. If you can, write things down, and try to write down the names and contacts of any eye witnesses – you never know if and when you might need their testimonies.

Make sure you tell paramedics and later doctors exactly what happened and where you hurt. Don’t embellish, but don’t leave anything out either. If it comes down to a lawsuit, you will need to document the facts as they actually happened.

Sadly, even when you are truly a victim of someone else’s negligence, obtaining the compensation you might need can be grueling. Even though the opposing insurance carrier may call you constantly and act as if they are on your side, don’t be fooled. Insurance carriers only are on the side of their shareholders. Say nothing to them.

Although you may be severely and obviously injured, you will be in the position of having to prove that the other driver was in the wrong. You can’t do this on your own. You will need an experienced, knowledgeable personal injury attorney to handle the insurance carrier and represent your interests.

Don’t try to handle this by yourself. It takes a
professional to cull all the details and wade through the legal process. Seek the advise of a personal injury attorney whose only goal is to get you the compensation you need and deserve.

A Gotcha Defense – You Haven’t Treated In How Long?

In the past, I have stressed the importance of continuing your treatment. It is critical for any plaintiff during a personal injury case to be consistent about seeing your doctor (or doctors) regularly, as medically recommended. However, often times, the defense will latch on to a gap in your treatment as ‘proof’ that you are not really seriously hurt. Although this would not be the optimal scenario, a knowledgeable plaintiff’s counsel can adequately challenge this defense so long as you keep him or her apprised on the mitigating circumstances surrounding this supposed treatment gap.

Let’s say, for instance, that your neurologist wants you to have another MRI of the lumbar spine, but your insurance company will not cover it. If you are not working due to your injury and do not have the financial resources, a lack of coverage could delay your decision to have the additional MRI. Or, perhaps due to your injury you cannot drive and must rely on a family member or friend to take you to your medical appointments. That means you have to wait until someone is free and can take you. Or maybe you are a single parent who must make arrangements for someone to watch your children. As you can see, there are numerous reasons why an injured plaintiff does not follow-up appropriately with medical treatment. And the defense will play “gotcha” by arguing that you must not be seriously injured or you would not have these gaps in treatment.

Remember, insurance companies are not in business to pay out personal injury claims; they are in business to make money for their shareholders.

So, you can expect their defense attorneys to challenge you at every turn. Also remember that there are many weapons they will use against you, like surveillance, for example. Just like gaps in your treatment, a videotape of you sweeping the driveway can appear to be much more incriminating than it actually is. A good plaintiff’s attorney will be prepared for every such challenge, so chances are it won’t be ‘the end of the world.’ If you communicate regularly and honestly with your attorney, he or she probably will be able to tear down the defense’s ‘gotcha’ arguments.

Of course, let’s not lose sight of the importance of follow-up treatment. Putting aside all of the reasons you can’t have that additional MRI, remember to listen to your doctors. Unless you have a good excuse, keep all of your scheduled appointments. It’s better for your health, and better for
your personal injury case.

The Truth, The whole Truth And Nothing But…

From the very moment you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, you must try hard to remember every detail of the accident, gather witnesses, if you are physically able, call the police, then seek out an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you. At every step in this process, one of the most important things you need to do is tell the truth. An injury that warrants a possible lawsuit needs no embellishment. Nor does it need you to be stoic and withhold important details of what transpired. The truth and nothing but the truth is crucial to your case.

When you meet with your attorney, it is especially critical to give him or her every detail of the accident as you honestly remember it. If you cannot remember everything, just tell her those
facts that are clear to you. A good personal injury attorney has solid investigative skills, and usually can fill in the blanks where your memory falters. It is not helpful to your case if your attorney proceeds with the facts as you give them, only to find out much later in the process that one of those facts is wrong or untrue. Worse even, is when the opposing counsel points this out. This could harm your credibility and adversely affect the outcome of your case.

When You Testify Or Give A Deposition . . .

If you do not understand a question or cannot remember an answer, it is especially important for you to say simply, “I do not remember.” No one can be expected to remember every detail, particularly when injured in an accident. Also keep in mind that you should never offer more information than you are asked to provide. If you are testifying and your attorney feels she wants you to elaborate, she will let you know.

Sharp Rise In Construction Accidents

Perhaps not surprisingly, it has been reported that in 2013, there were more than 15,000 pedestrian and bike riders injured in New York City traffic. Of those, over 150 people were fatally injured. In truth, anyone who has ridden in city traffic, probably would say the numbers must be higher. But aside from traffic accidents, New Yorkers simply walking to the nearest bodega or to work in the morning have to be on their guard for construction sites and the many hazards associated with them.

For example, in January of last year, an elderly worker way past retirement age, but insistent on staying active and productive, was busy working on a construction site when the floor above him gave way. He died due to massive head trauma.

Just last month a huge construction-saw blade came loose during use, and flew through a work site in Hell’s Kitchen, striking a woman as she walked by. Recently, a 380-foot crane fell onto seven construction workers in Queens – three were seriously injured.

New York City construction site accidents rose a whopping 31% from 2011-2012; climbing from 119 to 157. Injuries to pedestrians and construction workers jumped from 128 to 187 – that is a 46% hike!

Why the drastic increase? It has been reported that building inspections were cut nearly in half, leaving owners, managers and contractors to police themselves. That means fewer accidents are being reported, and therefore, fewer negligent individuals and corporations are paying the price of their negligence.

However, if you’ve been injured due to negligence at a
construction site, you might consider hiring a personal injury attorney. A civil lawsuit at least holds an individual or company responsible for not taking the necessary precautions to keep workers and pedestrians safe.

If you have been injured in a construction accident you should speak with an experienced personal injury trial attorney as soon as possible who can investigate the cause of your construction site accident, work with the necessary experts to prove negligence, and litigate your personal injury claim to trial against all the parties that may be responsible for your personal injuries. Waiting too long is not advisable, as witnesses could be difficult to find, or you may forget the facts as they happened.

If You Trip And Fall . . .

If you experience an injury from tripping and falling (or slipping and falling) on private property or on a public sidewalk, and that fall was the result of a dangerous condition such as faulty pavement or an obstructed walkway, you may have the right to compensation.

The same rules apply with a trip and fall as with an automobile accident. First and foremost, make sure you get the medical assistance you need. If you are able, look around to see if there are witnesses and take their contact information, listen to the medical advice you are given, and, of course, seek out an experienced personal injury attorney to ascertain whether you have a case.

In a trip and fall accident, it is critically important to have the accident scene photographed as soon as possible, in the event the conditions change. Your attorney no doubt will arrange for investigators to examine the scene, and he or she will want to review all medical evidence. Please note, that if you fall on New York City public property, your attorney must serve the City with a Notice of Claim. This type of case can be complicated, and an experienced attorney understands all of the legal responsibilities that are required in order to win you compensation.

Follow-Through Can Make Or Break Your Case

If you have been injured in an accident, following through on your medical treatment is crucial. That seems logical, right? Yet, I find myself having to repeat this advice over an over again to many of my clients.

It all starts in the emergency room. From the moment you are given discharge instructions, you have a responsibility to adhere to them. If the doctor told you to elevate your leg, you need to do it. If she told you to follow up with your primary care physician, you need to do it. If you are advised to return to the emergency room the next day, you need to return. Then after your emergency treatment, when you begin treating with your own doctor, you will need to follow his or her instructions, whether that means going for appropriate diagnostic tests or physical therapy. Should you require more invasive treatments such as epidural injections or surgery, of course it makes sense to consult with your doctor and ask the proper questions, or even to seek a second opinion. But the bottom line is – you must follow through with your treatment.

Why Is This Important?

First of all, in order to recover from your injuries, you must follow the directions of your doctors. Some injuries don’t affect us immediately, but left untreated, have long-term consequences. Second, if you need to prosecute a claim, you don’t want to give the insurance company any excuses (or a viable defense) to deny to your claim. Under New York law, the defense attorney can argue that if you stop your medical treatment, you do not have a permanent condition. In other words, that’s a good way to lose your case.