Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs for Herpes Zoster (Shingles)
Chief Complaint: burning pain in the left hip which referred to the genital region.
Western Diagnosis: herpes zoster.
Medical History: 29 year old female with a history of vaginal infections as well as genital herpes. She is currently sexually active with several partners and is currently taking oral contraceptives.
Questioning exam: Patient complains of burning pain in her left hip which refers to her genital region. Onset of pain was on week prior to coming for treatment with progressive pain daily. The area of pain is marked by red vesicles which appear to be fluid filled. Lesions can be seen in the areas from UB31 to GB29 and to the inguinal groove on the left side.
Pulse exam: 90 bpm. The quality of the pulse is thready to wiry with elements of a slippery quality especially in both guan positions.
Tongue exam: Pale pink body with red pappilae at the tip and sides of the tongue. The coat is thick and turbid dry and lightly yellow.
OM Diagnosis: Externally contracted toxic damp-heat stagnating in the Shao Yang, Dai and Yang Wei channels with Qi and blood stagnation. Because the patient was sexually active and had a history of herpes outbreaks, she easily contracted toxic damp-heat. When damp-heat stagnates in the Shao Yang, Dai and Yang Wei channels, it intermingles with and obstructs the Qi and blood. This produces heat in the blood, reddish skin lesions, vesicles and severe pain along the channel’s pathway.
Treatment Principle: Clear toxic damp-heat, remove channel obstruction and stop pain. Regulate Qi and blood.
Point Prescription: Surrounding needles were used around the perimeter of the lesions, with transverse insertion at a maximum of 5-10 degrees. Other points used were: GB1(L), ST30(L)- (bleed both points to clear damp-heat. GB34, SJ6 and SJ2 clear damp-heat and remove obstruction from the channels on the sides of the body. GB41, SJ5 and GB26 were used as a second point combination in the 4th treatment to open the Shao Yang, Yang Wei and Dai channels and eliminate damp-heat. SP6 and SP9 strengthen the spleen and resolve dampness. PC3 and UB40 were also used in combination to reduce fire toxin in the blood.
Herbal Formula: Long Dan Xie Gan Wan for a period of 2 weeks.
Lifestyle Prescription: Patient was given advice about safer sexual practices and the importance of using contraceptives for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. She was also given advice about dietary habits including the elimination of all spicy and greasy foods and the addition of more dark leafy green vegetables and whole grains.
Results: The vesicles began to lighten in color and started to shrink after the first treatment. A sterile needle was used to drain fluid from the vesicles and they were cleaned with betadine solution. By the fourth treatment the vesicles had disappeared. 10 days later 90% of the pain and redness was gone. By the third week of treatment the patient had completely recovered.
Synopsis: This case demonstrates the successful use of the theory of the Shao Yang, Dai and Yang Wei channels.