Cold invading the Channels joints and muscles

At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 痛痹      Pinyin name: Tòng Bì

Pattern nature: Full

Causes

Common causes: 1. External Cold, 2. Weak constitution

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Joint pain Stiff neck Joint stiff Swollen joints Pain in the muscles and one other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Floating (Fu)

Tongue description: White coating

Treatment

Treatment principle: Warm the Channels, disperse Cold from Exterior, relieve pain

Common formulas: Wu Tou Tang

Pathology

It is a type of the Painful Obstruction Syndrome (Bi Syndrome 痹证). The Chinese name is called Tong Bi or Han Bi (痛痹 / 寒痹). 

The Defensive Qi can be penetrated by external Pernicious Influences when the patients is in poor health. When the Cold invades the Channels and joints and settles there, it causes intense pain and stiffness, often in a single local place. 

The Cold can also invade muscles and sinews and lead to pain and stiffness there, especially around shoulders and neck area. 

This pain can be relieved by applying heat and worsen when exposed cold. 

Causes

External Cold: External Cold, Wind and Dampness can penetrate the Body's Defensive Qi and settle down in the joints and muscles.

Weak constitution: Weak constitution means the Defensive Qi is not strong enough to fight against the external Pernicious Influence invasion. It can be due to genetic defect, overwork, lack of exercise, or long term sickness.

Diagnosing Cold invading the Channels joints and muscles

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin) or floating (Fu)

Tongue description: White coating

Main symptoms: Joint pain Stiff neck Joint stiff Swollen joints Pain in the muscles Numbness of the muscles

Diagnosis commentary: Key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the intense joints pain and stiffness which can be  relieved when applying heat.

Treating Cold invading the Channels joints and muscles

Treatment principle

Warm the Channels, disperse Cold from Exterior, relieve pain 

Herbal formulas used to treat Cold invading the Channels joints and muscles

Wu Tou Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Warms the channels and remove obstruaction. Disperse Cold and Dampness. Warms the joints. Relieve joints pain.

Formula summary

Wu Tou Tang is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that warm the Meridians and disperse Cold.

Besides Cold invading the Channels joints and muscles, Wu Tou Tang is also used to treat Painful Obstruction Syndrome.

Read more about Wu Tou Tang