Choi Woojeong, the Head of Division
in Kwangdong Oriental Medicine Hospital
Are there any diseases that break out a lot according to age/gender in the field of joint/spine?
If there is a problem in the neck at all ages, a problem will arise in the waist sometime over time. One of the unique perceptions over pain is “there is a pain in the neck and in the back” if you are tired.If you are healthy and aren’t tired, you will have no damage from external stimulus like spraining because you have good muscle tone. But if your condition as patient is not good, your muscular strength or joint flexibility is not enough and your muscle or ligament is likely to be damaged by external stimulus. So the Traditional Oriental Medicine focuses on patient’s condition and energy rather than on pain if passing through the acute phase in treating pain.
Is there any appropriate treatment time or treatment phase in treating joint/spine?
The treatment time varies depending on disease because there are a lot of disease symptoms, but if it is divided into acute phase, medium phase, and late phase, the acute phase is 1~3 days after the onset of disease. In this acute phase, inflammation and edema are severe in the damaged area. So keep equilibrium and use a cold therapy largely. In the medium phase, concentrate on pain relief therapy. If pain disappears to some extent, in other words, in the late phase, concentrate on muscle strength training or rehabilitation therapy in the damage area. In the acute phase, use cold herbal acupuncture therapy, wet cupping, cold physical therapy, and drugs that alleviate the heat and release the extravasated blood and combine with anti-inflammatory analgesic drug in the Western Medicine if necessary. In the medium phase, use herbal acupuncture therapy, cupping, and physical therapy for relieving pain. In the late phase, help enhance joint flexibility and prescribe the rehabilitation medicine that makes muscles and joints smooth and the herbal medicine that reinforces joints.
It is often said that spine/joint patients are very sensitive to weather changes. Is there any difference in what patients feel depending on weather and season?
There is an obvious difference in patients’feeling depending on weather and seasons. The Traditional Oriental Medicine classifies constitution or disease symptom into yin and yang, heat and cold, and weakness and strength in treating patients. Even inside of the patients, there is a difference between hot and cold, and even in external environment or weather, there is a difference between hot and cold or between dry and wet. Depending on the patient’s constitution, for example, whether the patient has a hot body or cold body: if the affected areais red and has a severe pain, it is considered as ‘hot,’ if it’s swollen up, as ‘wet,’ and if dried, as ‘dry,’ herbal acupuncture therapy, acupuncture therapy, and herbal medicine prescriptions may differ.
I heard that the shape of leg or foot changes with the distribution of various fashion shoes.
Yes, it is right. If you wear bad shoes, your foot will be corrected wrong. As bonesand joints in our body are connected from tiptoe to head, small bones in a foot are displaced due to the uncomfortable shoes and in this case, it may cause problems in bones of lower limb, patella, thigh, pelvis, spine, and even skull because they become twisted imperceptibly.
Do you have preventive means essential to protect spine/joint in everyday life?
Chronic pain patients complain about their pain or often get hurt in the hour of rising in the morning. The main characteristic of chronic disease is that when one moves one’s body first after lying with one posture all night, one’s body is not relieved and at this time, feels pain, and if one moves little by little, gets better gradually. To prevent injury, wash your face after getting up in the morning but rather stretch your neck, waist, and legs briefly and move.
What kinds of service is Kwangdong Oriental Medicine Hospital providing to foreign patients?
The Hospital provides translation service of six languages including Japanese, English, and Chinese and has a separate treatment room for an individual patient to respect patient’s privacy. It provides herbal medicine information through SNS and continuously manages patient’s health through mail or mobile messenger, or through International Medical Center even after returning to home country.
60-70% of the patients who visit this hospital are from Japan and the rest are from various countries including Russia, Kazakhstan, China, English-speaking world, and Arabic-speaking world. In the early days, it started with oriental medicine cosmetic method, acupuncture therapy, and diet treatment and expanded to western medicine dermatology through word of mouth.
I’d like you to let me know your goals in the future.
One of the philosophies in this Kwangdong Oriental Medicine Hospital is ‘Bon-Chi-Ju-Eui(본치주의 in Korean),’which means understanding the fundamental cause of pain. Fundamental healing by understanding the entire body beyond treating a disease, space for true rest and healing, and respect and consideration of each and every patient are this hospital’s philosophies and promises. We are doing our best to keep our promises.