|▲ Ahnkang Pain Free Hospital / CEO Ahnkang|
Ancient Egyptians knew that electric stimulation could help treat pain. Luigi Alsoisio Galvani (1737~1798) also found out that our body had an animal electricity. A few years ago, I myself had a pain on the shoulders and both sides of the body, while moving my stuffs to my new house. I had this kind of pain time to time and had it reduced the symptoms by getting the steroid injections; but this time it did not work. The doctor rather said that frequent use of steroid could degenerate shoulders faster. So I recently met Dr Ahnkang, the founder of Ahnkang Pain Free Hospital, and also known as Korea’s top doctor in pain medicine, and asked him several questions to quench my thirst.
Q. What is the difference between acute pain and chronic pain?
A. Acute pain is temporal until the healing process but also can be seen in a process towards chronic pain. If the acute pain disappears itself within 2 to 3 weeks, it means our body healed itself naturally. Our body has a function to recover the damaged parts and makes ‘inflammatory response’ in order to heal. Generally speaking, the acute pain is painful because of this ‘inflammatory response’. Ironically though, we use steroid to remove this ‘inflammation’ but losing the inflammation can mean a loss of proper regeneration and degenerate our body faster. What we need to know is that the chronic pain is not related to inflammation, so steroid will not work well and the pain is likely to come back again. That’s why it’s called ‘chronic’.
Q. Could you make it simple?
A. To make it simple, chronic pain remains like a ghost in our body and comes back at any time even after you think it has gone. Medically saying, the ‘neuronal synapse’ is formed and the brain receives it as ‘neuronal plasticity’; in other words, the brain programs the pain as ‘chronic’. If the pain is persistent, a ‘pain matrix’ is formed in our brain. Chronic pain can develop complications such as depression, anxiety, insomnia and chronic fatigue when it gets worse. Your shoulder and side pain in the past was either acute pain or in a process towards chronic pain; and your pain now in the parts are chronic.
Q. So what must I do if it has become chronic?
A. First, you must accept the fact that the chronic pain cannot be easily removed. There is almost no such case like some people said as ‘miraculous healing’ by one or two times of treatments only; it requires continuous and repetitive stimulation treatments, exercise, diet and others that helps the healing process.
Q. Can artificial joints such as appearing in the movies be an alternative cure for chronic pain?
A. Cats land nicely on surface from the tens of meters high because they have this ultimate ‘impact absorbing system’ of the joints in the spine. However, human do not have it. What my point is that a surgery must be done when it is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, surgery or ratification body parts will ruin our body worse than before.
Dr Ahnkang is a peculiar man. After his medical examination, he went to China to learn a medical massage before taking the internship exam as he thought it is more important to know better about our body in order to understand the problems of patients. He then went to Canada and the US to continue his study. Back in Korea, he established the Cha Chronic Pain Center of Cha Medical Center Gangnam and devoted his life as a general director of the center for more than 10 years.
In his young years, Dr Ahnkang had a great interest in stem cell treatment. But the more he knew about stem cell, the more he became convinced that it had almost no possibility of help; he came to realize that most of stem cells died before even could be of help to our body. One thing he found, however, was that the knee pain was dramatically improved when he injected a needle onto ‘Tibia’ below the knee as a preliminary stage of applying stem cell; in other words, he realized the fact that the injecting a needle by itself, damaging and stimulating without damaging soluble started the our body’s healing process, not by the stem cell.
FIMS is a treatment that uses a specially developed medical round needle that does not inject any medicine. The treatment stimulates patients’ pain causing area so that the damaged part and pain causing area recovers all together by our healing process.
Q. What is FIMS?
A. Doctors normally treat the area where the patients feel pain. It is important to find the reason of the pain but treatments need to be careful when dealing with the pain causing area because inflammation already started and the area is weakened and it might damage our body. It is always better to find the anatomic area that causes the pain rather than the painful part that patient feel. A while ago, a patient complains pains on his back and side of his arm and shoulder when he hurls it backwards. The pain in the arm was ‘impingement’ caused by tendons, called supraspinous muscle, being crumpled; and the pain in the shoulder was caused by excessive tension back and below joints; in chronic pain-point of view, the brain is in error to set the part with excessive tension. Now the treatment is that we should not touch the in-between shoulders or the damaged tendons as they could get worse otherwise; instead, we should find specific parts back and below of shoulder joints, and apply a needle if found any closed parts in order to release the pain. It is easy to find the painful part and give a treatment. In most cases, however, there is predisposing factor of the pain. If we cannot find this factor, we are likely to fail the treatment. This is about FIMS; finding the predisposing factors.
When I visited Ahn Kang hospital, doctors at Ahn Kang hospital were evident and did not loose a concentration on the lecture and Q&A of their weekly debate and study of the updated medical knowledge and cases. Lectures were giving English and among doctors, young arab professors from Kuwait and Qatar. I could witness their passion on medicine and authentic efforts and firm faith. When I have a pain, I will not hesitate to ask doctors at AhnKang hospital to treat my pain.
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