A Case Study for the Seven Tigers (77.26)
The client’s primary complaint was upper left neck pain in the region of C4 - C5, it also extended down to SI 13. The pain was sharp and piercing, worse with computer work and sitting. With palpation it was clear that levator scapulae was the primary muscle involved. This was a chronic condition, caused by a neck injury many years prior. When it was severe there was also pain in the trapezius, though GB 21 was not necessarily a target point. The pain was more diffuse in the trapezius, and frequent tension was present from the medial occipital ridge, across the top of the shoulder, through the scapula, and down the thoracic vertebra. The pain also wrapped around the back and into ribcage on the left side, and into the region between the fourth and sixth ribs.
In keeping with the primary pain location at the middle cervical vertebrae, and extending to SI 13, we can identify both of the tai yang channels being involved. It was also useful to notice that the pain was primarily localized in levator scapula.
While needling the achilles tendon points could have been called for with the pain in the cervical vertebrae, since the pain was also present in the scapula, the trapezius, and ribcage, it made more sense to needle the Seven Tigers. As they are located between the UB and GB meridians, and treat pain in the scapula, they were a better choice for this particular case.
With one session the patient felt a 80 - 90% improvement in the symptoms. Movements for the neck and shoulders were also taught to the client, as well as basic postural alignments relevant to extensive desk work. After more than three weeks the patient still reported dramatic improvement. Follow up sessions were done once or twice a month to maintain the benefits. He reported that the exercises, stretches, and posture adjustments were very useful and helped him to maintain good health. When he spends a lot of time at office and desk work the symptoms increase, but he has learned that a single acupuncture session will typically give him benefits for a month, even in spite of long and demanding work schedules.