How to treat Post-Stroke pain

△ The scalp acupuncture technique was proven to be effective for the treatment of post-stroke patients. imageⓒAdobeStock_Africa Studio.

Applying acupuncture treatment and herbal formulas for the symptom

By Winston Lee L. Ac, Ph.D., KMD

Cerebral infarction (as known as stroke) damages tissues in the brain due to a loss of oxygen to the area. Also called ischemic stroke, a cerebral infarction occurs due to disrupted blood flow to the brain due to problems with the blood vessels that supply it. A lack of adequate blood supply to brain cells deprives them of oxygen and vital nutrients, which can cause parts of the brain to die off.


Because the central nerve, not the peripheral nerve, is damaged, it is almost impossible to treat the stroke itself. In the past, when a stroke occurred, there was not much possibility of receiving medical help except in the acute phase. Therefore, it is orthodox of the medical field that there is no specific treatment to date.


In Korea, it is common to visit an oriental medicine hospital as an emergency immediately after a stroke to receive oriental or western treatment simultaneously. In this case, emergency treatment through drug administration is performed simultaneously as the diagnosis such as CT scan of western medicine in oriental medicine hospital, and at the same time, acupuncture treatment and herbal medicine administration in eastern medicine prevent worsening of symptoms. When it comes to chronic conditions, they prefer eastern medicine treatment more than western medicine. This is because the effect that can be expected through western medicine treatment is not positive anyway. A significant number of patients with post-stroke sequelae in Korea receive special treatment to prevent further sequelae and recurrence at local oriental medicine clinics or oriental medicine hospitals.


Let’s take a look at a paper called ‘Chronic Central Post-Stroke Pain Treated with Scalp Acupuncture and Traditional Korea Medicine: A Case Report, Jang Mi Park 7/29/2019’. It shows how Korean Medicine treats post-stroke disorders. They used scalp acupuncture for acupuncture technique. The acupuncture points on the scalp were MS1, MS5, MS10, MS11, which are temporal bone and occipital bone areas of the head. Each session of electroacupuncture lasted for about 15 minutes. These points were chosen and agreed upon by physicians globally, especially by the World Health Organization / Western Pacific Regional Development in 1984. 

Scalp acupuncture technique was performed in the process of traditional scalp acupuncture. During the procedure, the needle was rotated 200 times per minute after insertion. After 1-2 minutes of rotation, the needle was retained for 5-10 minutes. However, due to the difficulty quantifying the stimuli method, the technique was replaced with low-frequency (2 Hz) electrodermal stimulation at the following sessions.  


They usually used this formula for post-stroke pain patients. Soonkiwhalwheultang gami has been applied to patients. Soonkiwhalwheultang gami is Soonkiwhalwheltang with Cinnamomi Ramulus(Gui Zhi). 
The formula of Soonkiwhalwheultang gami is as below.
Xiang Fu Zi 8g Yu Yao Quin Pi 6g Ban Xia, Fu Ling, Cang Zhu, Daung Gui, Chuan Xiong, Chi Shao, Jie Geng, Zhi Ke 4g Bai Zhi, Mu Xiang 3g Gan Cao 2g Sheng Jiang 12g

Also, direct moxibustion was performed on five acupoints once per day for five days a week. The five acupoints were LI11, LI10, LI4, ST36, LR3.


As long as you try to find it, you can see more reliable case studies in notable clinics and hospitals. Presentations are frequently made through papers and medical journals. You can google it or log on to some online database regarding medical research. In each case study, treatments for various diseases are explained in detail. In addition to objective diagnosis data such as X-ray, CT scan, MRI, etc., frequency of the treatment, treatment period, acupuncture point, formula of the herbal medicine, etc., that we are curious about is presented in great detail. In other words, these papers disclose standard treatment protocols. Suppose you are looking for the standard treatment of a disease. In that case, it will be very useful if you search the papers and find acupuncture treatments or formulas of the herbal medicine that are publicly available in them and use them well.






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