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From Chronic Pain to Hope: Susan’s Journey with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Listen to the whole inspiring story on our podcast, Episode 120

Meet Susan

Susan, a 30-year sufferer of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), shared her remarkable journey in search of relief from her chronic pain during a recent interview on the Well Connected Twin Cities’ Podcast.

For two decades, Susan underwent various traditional medical treatments, including medications, injections, and spinal cord stimulator trials, only to be told that nothing more could be done. Frustrated by the lack of progress, Susan’s pain psychologist encouraged her to try acupuncture. Through this, she encountered Said Isayed, a Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor with a special interest in neurological disorders.

Said’s unique approach to Chinese medicine offered Susan a glimmer of hope. Unlike Western medicine, which tends to specialize in specific body parts, Said viewed her as a holistic entity, recognizing that everything in the body is interconnected. He didn’t limit her to a 15-minute consultation for a single issue but instead delved into her overall well-being. He asked about her family, stress levels, sleep quality, and any changes in her condition.

With Said, Susan found a partner in her healing journey. He didn’t simply prescribe medications and send her on her way. Instead, he actively involved her in her recovery, giving her exercises and herbal remedies tailored to her needs. He even customized herbal supplements, ensuring that Susan knew exactly what she was consuming.

What set Said apart from conventional medicine was his personalized approach. Unlike the standard treatments for CRPS, which often involve medications and invasive procedures, Said’s approach was unique to each individual. Cupping, Guasha, and herbs were all tailored to the specific needs of his patients.

In Said, Susan found not just a practitioner but someone who saw her as a person, not just a medical case. His holistic, individualized approach provided Susan with hope and tangible progress on her long and painful journey towards managing her CRPS.

Minnesota Integrative Health Center Prioritizes Health Equity

Minnesota Integrative Health Studio, led by Said Isayed TCMD, places a strong emphasis on health equity and accessibility. Said’s commitment to community healing is deeply rooted in his upbringing and is a core mission of the studio.

Said’s approach is straightforward: he treats everyone who comes in, regardless of their ability to pay or employment status. This is particularly important for individuals with chronic conditions who often face financial challenges. The studio offers a community room where people can receive Chinese medicine treatments at affordable rates, paying what they can afford.

A lot of people with chronic conditions, they end up on disability. They don’t have enough money to pay for their treatments. . . So that’s why we create this kind of this kind of business where we care and hear and learn from people experience and try to help them everyone needs to make a living, but. I’ll work out, help people and everything will work out. So that’s how it goes.

-Said Isayed, TCMD, Ep 120 [00:46:58]

Said’s focus is on the long-term well-being of the community, and he’s not solely driven by short-term profits. He recognizes the disparities in healthcare access, especially for people of color, minorities, and non-English speakers, and strives to bridge those gaps.

Susan, a patient, attests to Said’s commitment by highlighting practical measures like sliding scale fees, monthly specials, and packages to make treatments more affordable. While insurance doesn’t always cover his services, Said remains dedicated to providing accessible care.

Minnesota Integrative Health Studio’s uniqueness lies in Said’s unwavering commitment to the community. He’s actively involved with local businesses and residents, even working on weekends to accommodate busy schedules. In essence, the studio’s pragmatic approach focuses on making holistic healthcare accessible to all, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Listen to the Whole Story

You can listen to the whole story on the podcast. Ep 120 Provider + Patient: Traditional Chinese Medicine for Complex Conditions with Said Isayed and Susan Smith and even message them directly from the directory – Minnesota Integrative Health Studio.

More on Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), is a chronic pain condition that typically affects one limb, often after an injury or trauma. It is characterized by severe, continuous pain that is disproportionate to the initial injury and may spread over time. CRPS can also lead to a range of other symptoms, including changes in skin color and temperature, swelling, muscle stiffness, and abnormal sweating.

Key Points about CRPS:

  1. Onset: CRPS usually develops after an injury or surgery, but in some cases, it can occur spontaneously without an obvious trigger.
  2. Types: There are two main types of CRPS. Type 1 (CRPS-I) occurs after a minor injury with no confirmed nerve damage, while Type 2 (CRPS-II) follows a known nerve injury.
  3. Symptoms: CRPS is characterized by persistent, intense pain, often described as burning or throbbing. Other common symptoms include changes in skin texture, temperature, and color, as well as joint stiffness and muscle weakness.
  4. Progression: CRPS can progress through stages, with early intervention often leading to better outcomes. Early symptoms may include increased sensitivity to touch or temperature, while advanced stages can involve muscle atrophy and limited mobility.
  5. Diagnosis: Diagnosing CRPS can be challenging because there are no specific tests to confirm it. Doctors typically rely on a combination of medical history, physical examination, and ruling out other conditions.
  6. Treatment: Treatment for CRPS focuses on pain management and improving function. It often involves a multidisciplinary approach, including physical therapy, medication, nerve blocks, and psychotherapy.

Statistics on Diagnosis:

CRPS is known for being underdiagnosed, primarily due to its complex and variable nature. Statistics on the length of time it goes undiagnosed can vary, but studies have suggested that the condition is often not recognized or diagnosed for months or even years after symptom onset. This delay in diagnosis can lead to prolonged suffering for patients and difficulties in managing the condition effectively.

It’s important for individuals experiencing symptoms of CRPS, especially after an injury, to seek medical attention promptly and advocate for thorough evaluation to ensure timely diagnosis and intervention. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve the prognosis for individuals with CRPS.


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