Chronic Health Issues

Pain, Sports Medicine, and Arthritis

Sports medicine and treatment of pain are my original specialty. I was first exposed to the magic of Chinese medicine through my practice of martial arts. One of the things I learned over the years as part of my training was how to treat injuries and pain. Friends I trained with would invariably twist a joint, strain a muscle, or have some aches and pains associated with aging. I learned to treat these with acupuncture, Tui Na Chinese massage, joint mobilization, and topical liniments, poultices, and salves. The treatment of injuries, pain, and arthritic joints is a specialty within Chinese medicine known as dit daa or trauma medicine and has historically been practiced by martial artists. I have taught this both internationally and at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine here in San Diego.

Over the years I’ve worked intimately with many orthopedic surgeons and pain management doctors to effectively help patients with acute and chronic injuries and arthritic pains. I’ve helped broken bones to heal more quickly, helped professional fighters recover from surgery and get back in the ring, as well as helped the average person who twisted their back playing golf or doing housework. My treatments have allowed countless sufferers of arthritis to stop their chronic use of NSAIDs and pain medicines. This is truly a specialty of mine, and an area where Chinese medicine can offer a great deal of help to those suffering with pain.

“Justin was an associate of mine at CORE Orthopaedic Medical Center for over 7 years. He has particular expertise in evaluating and treating patients in the preoperative and postoperative periods following orthopedic procedures ranging from arthroscopy to fracture fixation to joint replacement. Justin’s interventions were highly successful in achieving accelerated joint mobility, musuloskeletal function and pain control in this setting with exceedingly high patient satisfaction.”

Dr. Gregory Loren, Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon, Fellowship Trained in Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy

“Justin has consistently demonstrated significant knowledge in the art of acupuncture and significantly ameliorated and, in many cases, was able to absolve ongoing acute postoperative pain and chronic pain associated with chronic illness. He has an expansive knowledge of acupuncture and the anatomy of the body and pain circuitry. He is exceptionally effective in using acupuncture, herbal medicines and nutritional supplements as they apply to orthopedics and internal medicine.”

Dr. Robert Gelb, Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon, Fellowship Trained in Hand Surgery

Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA is an autoimmune disease that shows up as severe joint pain and degeneration. It can be quite debilitating when not well managed. The pharmaceuticals used to control the pain and inflammation of RA often have significant side effects and reducing benefits over the years.

My expertise in helping patients with this disease grew of out my extensive experience treating injuries and pain. My specialty is helping my patients to reduce, and often eliminate, their need for prescription pharmaceuticals. I use a combination of acupuncture and herbal medicines to reduce the inflammation, control the pain, and help reset your immune system so you have fewer and fewer flares. This allows you to get back to doing the things you love and improves the quality of your day-to-day life.

Chinese medicine is exceptionally effective in helping manage RA with minimal to no side-effects.

Digestive Health

Many people suffer from digestive problems in our culture today. From acid reflux/GERD to IBS/IBD to Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis to SIBO to leaky gut to various food allergies, it seems digestive health problems are an epidemic in our society. There is also the ever present challenge of weight loss and Type II diabetes. The fact is that more American’s have digestive problems today than do not. From an anthropological perspective, we are probably living in one of the most malnourished times of human history even though we have such abundance of “food”. If you stop and think about that it is actually quite remarkable – and disturbing.

There are many reasons for this, certainly more than I can cover in a web page, but there are several aspects of digestive health we can learn about from Chinese medicine. The first is to realize that we have to “digest” much more than just our food. The Stomach acupuncture channel goes to the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and brain. It tells us that we have to digest everything we see, smell, taste, hear, and think. According to Western medicine, we might think that is untrue because the only physical thing we digest is food, however, we all know that certain sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and thoughts can make our stomach churn or even make us nauseous. Ultimately every bit of information that comes into our body has to be digested – we have to take it in, transform it into something useful, and get rid of the parts we do not want or need. This is true of food and information. If we stop and think about how much information/stimulation we are exposed to in modern times it becomes clear that our “digestive” systems are working overtime.

This may help explain why some people’s digestive symptoms don’t change despite making many drastic dietary changes. Sometimes despite trying every new dietary trend from low carb to Paleo to gluten-free to dairy-free to vegetarian to vegan to the Mediterranean to… sometimes it’s not the diet but the other factors in our lives that are at the root of our digestive problems. Sometimes the problems we face have nothing to do with the foods we eat but have to do with how we were nourished as children or our family life. Repetitive exposure to antibiotics has been shown to damage the digestive system as has birth control pills and other medications. Sometimes it can come from exposure to a bad case of food poisoning or a parasite here in the US or while traveling abroad. The fact is many different things can cause problems with our digestion and to figure out what is happening in your case requires detective work. This is my specialty.

Together we will look at your past and present to figure out how to make your future better. You can heal.

Lung & Breathing Disorders

Being able breath freely is central to a good life. To effectively treat lung and breathing diseases requires an intimate knowledge of all aspects of breathing. Breathing is not just about inhaling and exhaling. Many things can affect how well we breathe, from the physical health of our lung tissues to muscular tension in our chest or diaphragm, to emotional stressors, to allergies, and chronic inflammation. Each of these will affect our lungs and breathe in different ways and need to be treated differently.

My expertise in treating breathing disorders comes from my intimate knowledge of Chinese breathing exercises (qi gong). I’ve practiced and taught these exercises for decades and developed a deep understanding of what can affect a person’s ability to breathe. This has allowed me to help many people with complicated lung diseases over the years. I’ve effectively helped people with everything from a common cold or bronchitis to uncontrolled or idiopathic asthma to COPD and bronchiectasis. Using the powerful tools of Chinese medicine, I’ve helped many people reduce and even no longer need their inhalers and other medications, get back to exercising and be able to lead a much more gratifying life.

If you have a lung or breathing disorder please call to set up an appointment. Let me help you improve the quality of your life and get back to doing the things you love.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) demands the honesty and power of true Integrative Medicine. As is the case with most chronic degenerative diseases, my role is to support both the patient and their immediate family and caregivers. I am here to provide more than just technical information and integrative treatments — I am here to provide compassionate empowering care as you face this frightening diagnosis.

On a technical level, research into the causes of Alzheimer’s disease has clearly shown there are MULTIPLE factors that can influence the development and progression of this disease. In some cases, an individual may have an inherited family risk (eFAD with APP, PS1, or PS2). Some cases may be associated with other factors like the ApoE or MTHFR gene variations. Other studies show symptoms may develop from uncontrolled diabetes or chronic exposure to food allergens that result in neurological inflammation in the brain. There has also been research that points to the possibility of chronic infections playing a role in the development of AD. We have seen studies that highlight the impact of exposure to neurological toxins like aluminum and mercury. There has been research that looks at the role of multiple concussions or head trauma and the development of AD. Some studies have pointed to low cholesterol as a factor. Inflammation is always a factor. Some of the more cutting-edge research is even questioning the role of beta-amyloid plaques and how they may be just a sign of the disease rather than the actual cause.

The bottom line is that many factors play a role in this disease process and effective care MUST be focused around what is affecting you as a unique individual. Since so many potential factors can play a role in this disease, it is both short-sighted and disempowering to think we must wait around for researchers to find one single cure.

Even for patients with Early-Onset Familial Alzheimer’s Disease (eFAD), the study of Epigenetics has demonstrated that just inheriting a gene does not always mean we are destined to have a certain disease. Genes can be turned on or off based on multiple dietary and lifestyle choices. This means it is most crucial to look at these many varied factors in patients with genetic markers. In other words, genetic disorders demand the power of an integrative approach when the goal is to truly prevent or reverse the symptoms of the disease.

My role is to help research what is happening in your case. I will look at YOU as an individual — your personal genetics, your health history, your lifestyle, your diet, your environmental exposures, inflammatory factors, and much more. My job is to help empower you to take control of your health. My goal is to support you and your family in this emotionally challenging process.

Based on my medical training there are many technical tools that I can draw upon to support you, but the most important thing I can offer you is to be a partner in your journey.

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