Every year we see headlines like " Summertime is 'trauma season' for hospital ERs" and "Emergency room visits rise in summer." From articles like these we learn that visits to the ER tend to increase by 25-30% in the summer. Obviously the warm weather encourages us to spend more time outside doing chores as well as engage in many recreational activities. Soft tissue or joints injuries from trauma such as falls, overuse, or lack of conditioning tend to make up for a majority of the injuries suffered in the summer.
To understand how acupuncture can help for these injuries, we will review the stages of injury as well as the optimal acupuncture treatment principles.
Stage 1: Swelling, pain, and redness are the key symptoms. The range of motion (ROM) is greatly impaired. During this time using acupuncture points in the ear and distal to the injury we reduce the swelling, heat, and pain. Very often there is a quick change and fast relief.
Stage 2: There is still swelling and pain but it is less severe. The injured area will have significant bruising (black and blue), weakness, spasm, and secondary tissue damage. Using acupuncture with motion we are able to improve ROM and increase circulation.
Stage 3: During this stage there is usually stiffness and aching. It is not uncommon for some people to not heal completely without further treatment. To prevent this, acupuncture and moxibustion therapy are used to increase blood and fluid circulation as well as tonify channel or tissue deficiencies. Stretching and strengthening exercises are prescribed to regain full strength, function, and ROM.
The focus of acupuncture treatment is to speed healing and reduce pain in an acute injury situation while preventing the injury from becoming a chronic problem.
Christian Hoffert L.Ac.
Outside the world of Chinese Medicine, Christian enjoys hiking, trail running, reading, martial arts, and cooking as well as chasing his cat Uke.
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