In my practice lately I have seen an alarming number people with blood clots; more than I have ever seen before. My records show that I identified and provided therapy for 3 individuals with blood clots last year. This year I have seen over 50 cases! Most of those clients were unaware that clots were their problem and came to see me for something seemingly unrelated. Therefore, I feel it is abundantly appropriate to share knowledge that may help people without medical background assess for themselves the possibility of whether or not blood clots could be the main cause for certain symptoms.
What Is A Blood Clot
Normally, blood clots form to seal small cuts or breaks on blood vessel walls and stop bleeding. After the bleeding has stopped and healing has occurred, the body naturally breaks down the blood constituents and removes the clots. Many factors can lead to clotting of the blood, limiting or completely blocking blood flow. Blood clots can travel through arteries or veins and become lodged in the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and limbs, which in turn can cause heart attack, stroke, facial paralysis, damage to internal organs or even death. The medical names for these potentially deadly types of clots are “pulmonary embolism” or “deep vein thrombosis”.
How Do I Know If I Have A Blood Clot?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), for 25% of people with blood clots the first symptom is sudden death.
For many people with blood clots there may be no warning signs whatsoever. For others, sudden awareness of pain, particularly in the arms or legs, is often the first indicator that one may have a blood clot. Right above or below the knee seems to be the favorite place for this phenomenon to manifest. This may be precipitated by roving aches and pains throughout the body; the kind of pains that are localized and aggravating enough to be aware of but, not of concern enough to make a trip to the hospital. The pain associated with a blood clot is persistent and nothing seems to make it better. Typically, the feeling is a pain you can put your finger on but, massage, heat, anti-inflammatory medications, analgesic patches won’t help. Gradually, the pain gets worse. The clotted area may be significantly warmer than other parts of the body. Pain can become excruciating, enough so that by this time people are frightened into making a trip to the hospital emergency room. If you have these symptoms don’t wait to get help and don’t settle for a diagnosis or treatment until you get a thorough explanation of what’s going on.
Keep in mind that a blood clot can remain very elusive to doctors even though tests may have been conducted to confirm the diagnosis. I have frequently seen contradictions to medical tests during my physical examinations. The possibilities for discrepancy are: tests were performed improperly, test results were not properly evaluated or test results were not accurately depicted in the doctor’s report.
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Assessment According to Chinese Medicine
Assessment of a blood clot according to Chinese Medicine principles is a very delicate matter. Since there is typically no ultrasound or similar diagnostic equipment in an acupuncturist’s office, the assessment must be made according to medical history, description and anatomic location of pain described by the patient and the practitioner’s ability to accurately palpate bodily structures and distinguish a blood clot from any other structure.
Treatment According to Chinese Medicine
Chinese herbal formulas are well suited for safely and reliably dissolving blood clots. The herbal formula I have found the most useful for dispersing blood clots is Blood StasisClear by ActiveHerb Company. This ancient formula is known by its classical name Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang (Drive Out Stasis in the Mansion of Blood Decoction). It comes in pill or tablet form so, it is convenient and easy to take and the dosage can be easily modified as appropriate. When taken as directed by a TCM practitioner, generally over the course of 2 to 8 weeks, this formula works to break down the solid constituents of blood clots encouraging normal blood flow and growth of new blood cells. Therefore, cholesterol can be reduced and blood pressure regulated.
Blockages in the bloodstream can occur due to plaque or heavy mineral deposits. GallbladClear by ActiveHerb is appropriate for use in conjunction with Blood StasisClear in these instances . Mineral deposits fill capillaries in the joints, often in the extremities and cause the joints to become increasingly larger, painful and eventually immobile. Such can be the case with gout (crystalline uric acid deposits) or osteoarthritis (bone deposits). GallbladClear is versatile enough to be used for other solid deposits like kidney stones and gallstones, hence the name.
Mr. M, a 56 year old man entered my office complaining simply of pain behind his knees that he had not had before. The pain was not excruciating but of concern because it had lingered for several days without improvement. Detailed questioning led to the discovery that the pain started after driving for 15 hours in a single day. His profession was a limousine driver. His family had a history of blood related disorders including clots. Careful examination revealed that he had blood clots in both legs just above the knee. The conclusion was that the blood clots derived from sitting for long periods of time. He was recommended Blood StasisClear for a period of 2 weeks at which time he would be scheduled for reexamination. At the 2 week interval he had no pain but still had residual signs of clotting behind his knees. It was recommended that he continue the Chinese herbal formula for another 2 weeks. At the 4 week interval he had no discernable clots.
A 65 year old former female patient (Mrs. M) called me desperately urging me to come to her house. She believed she had suffered a stroke only hours before and called me as soon as she was physically able. When I arrived at her home I found that she had right sided paralysis. She was standing when the incident occurred so I checked her for injuries that may have been sustained during a fall. Upon confirming that she had experienced a stroke and discerning whether or not she could swallow I gave her a dose of Yunnan Baiyao immediately and commenced a gentle whole body massage. I recommended that she continue Yunnan Baiyao for 3 days. After 3 days I recommended starting a regimen of Blood StasisClear to clear up residual clots. An Asian Bodywork routine was performed bi-weekly for 1 month to stimulate blood circulation. After 1 week she had regained enough muscle control that her family or friends could not tell she suffered a stroke. After 3 months Mrs. M consulted doctors in fear that she may suffer another incident. Doctors discovered only slightly elevated blood pressure. I attribute the elevated blood pressure to the stress and worry of having had a near death experience. She committed herself to physical therapy to refine motions requiring the use of the smaller muscles. After a monitoring period of one year I am pleased to report that Mrs. M has had no blood or heart related health issues. It is not expected that she will suffer any blood related incidents that commonly occur after an initial stroke. Blood tests performed by medical doctors after the 1 year mark did not indicate any significant health concerns. (Other herbal formulas were administered during the course of therapy as appropriate. Only those pertinent to the topic were mentioned.)