Chapter 8 Emotional well being

 A case of severe coughing

We know how important the mind has to the well being of our body. The manifestation of disorders caused by the stress upon our mind is unpredictable. Here is an example case.

Severe Coughing,  sinus?

A 60 year old female had complaint of sinus problem. The issue had been bothering her for a long time. She suspected that it is related to allergy.  She went through lots of allergy tests with no clear diagnosis.

She frequently had  stuffed nose, was treated with acupuncture and had good result. Now her complaint was having too much sinus fluid. Several times a day, so much fluid was produced that caused her to choke, with severe coughing. Such problem varies the severity with no clear pattern.

She also had issues with skin,  especially in the front aspect of upper leg. There was burning sensation just under the skin. Numerous reddish capillaries were visible over this area and no significant abnormity in appearance.   The skin over these troubled spots were not particularly warm to the touch. Frequently, she had eczema eruption on the palm between thumb and index finger. She had prescription lotion (low potency hydrocortisone) for this problem. This cream turned her skin to scaly, itchy surface.

At work, she had a lot of responsibility.  Job was stressful but she was able to handle it well. The coughing though often interfered with her work. It got much more severe when the job got stressful.

Pulse: wirly, Tongue thin white coating, front light red.

Past History: One of her parent was an American Indian. She had issue of feeling security as a kid. She frequently reacted with excessive fluid secretion in the throat that caused her to choke. She also experienced sensation of gasping for air and coughing.

Treatment and result:

Allergic  sinusitis is relatively easy to treat (refer to other articles in this web site). Depending on the sign and symptom, traditional Chinese herbal formula such as Xiao Feng San ( translation, extinguishing wind powder, which treat certain skin allergy as well), Pe Ming Gan Wan (for allergic sinusitis) are quite effective. In certain constitutional weakness situations, Yu Ping Feng San (Jade Screen Powder) will be quite beneficial. This can be done in conjunction with acupuncture at points: St 2, LI 4, Lu 5, especially coupled with electrical acupuncture.

Her problem was actually more complex. IN TCM (traditional Chinese Medicine), there are five kinds of coughing, all of the five Yin organs can have disorder (namely- Heart, Lung, Liver, Spleen and Kidney) that causes coughing. In her case, in addition to “Lung cough” due to “allergic” sinus issue, she also had “Liver cough”, which was aggravated when she became stressed, which was too common in her job. It was interesting to note that her coughing problem started as a child which was not an easy life for her. In any case, she and all the health care doctors since all attributed her coughing to the sinus allergy, which of cause had not worked too well.  

To resolve the Liver Qi congestion issue, a formula called Xiao Yao Wan (also called relax Pill) or Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan (Relax Pill with added ingredients) often does wonder. Such is the case for her. Together with electro acupuncture, her problems disappeared almost entirely in just a few months (once a week treatment). It did not return since then. In the mean time, she learned to be better at relaxing at work. Interestingly, the skin problem which bothered her for a long time also started to ease and became a non issue.

Note: Coughing can be very difficult to treat, both by Eastern and Western medicine. It is the irritation of nerve causing a paroxysmal spasmodic reflective response of muscular event. Most of the time, it is the result of inflammation and /or infection due to a cold or allergy. In such instances, either clear or green yellow sputum are produced through coughing. For such cases, the most important treatment goal is to remove the inflammation/infection process.  Failing this, the coughing will not stop.