Pain, Injuries, & Scar Tissue
Back pain, shoulder stiffness, neck tightness, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, knee weakness, you name it! Most body pains are a combination between decreased circulation, increased inflammation, increased tension, and decreased strength. This does not include physical differences, broken bones, extra bones, or absence of soft tissue where there should be some, yet even in these cases, the pain often comes from inflammation, tension, and weakness of the tissues surrounding the initial problem.
Symptoms acupuncture can help with:
• Reduced circulation.
• Slow wound healing.
• Loss of sensation or numbness.
• "Pins and needles" sensation.
• Tightness at or beyond the scar.
• Stagnated lymph, puffiness, edema, swelling.
Circulation and Inflammation:
Acupuncture brings circulation to areas needing more lubrication like joints, and needing more vitamins, minerals, and oxygen like muscles. Better blood flow increases our body's ability to flex and release as needed, and regulate temperature as well. When muscles and joints are cold for too long, they tense up causing aches and stiffness, much like cold causes water to freeze. When muscles and joints are hot for too long, they feel irritated and aggravated, like a mild burn due to fire dancing too close to flammable materials.
Tension and Weakness:
Muscles work hard to protect us. They are the shapers that keep us standing, moving, or changing shape. When one muscle is fatigued, overworked, or damaged, the muscles surrounding it quickly adapt to help us continue moving. In some cases, the muscle that was hurt gets overshadowed by its helping muscles so much that the body forgets to repair. Becuase these surrounding muscles had their own jobs to do, but is now taking on the job of the hurt muscle, eventually other areas of the body connected to them have to change to compensate as well. This is why prolonged hip pain can lead to knee pain, and shoulder pain becomes back pain.
In a shoulder pain treatment, acupuncture tells the body to increase circulation to the joint, strengthen the weakened rotator cuff muscle, and to release tension from the surrounding muscles that have tightened the shoulder causing pain when reaching to put a shirt on or grabbing something off a high shelf.
When working on pain, the number of treatments you will need depends on the severity of the problem and how long you have experienced the pain. A typical course of treatment is to receive a minimum of 2 treatments in the first and second week focused on reducing the pain, then in week 3 switching to 1 treatment to watch how long the pain reduction holds, and to look for triggers, if any, that cause the pain to return. When the pain is manageable, we reduce the frequency of treatments until you can taper off entirely.
Injuries and Surgeries
Acupuncture focuses the body's attention to heal the wound and bring circulation to the area. It innervates the nerves so that if they are numb or tingly, sensation can return by awakening or creating new nerve pathways. To swollen areas, it reminds the body to bring fluids to areas of inflammation and to bring contaminants out.
Scars / Scar Tissue
For symptoms starting afterwards that may not even seem related, acupuncture helps the body to move energy through and past the scar tissue (whether it is visible or minimal) so that our body's ability to flow is restored. This flow, although it can seem "woo woo", has improved insomnia, depression, anxiety, and other symptoms in many patients.
When an injury or procedure is years or even decades old, people think they've "had the problem forever". This is especially true if the symptoms begin a year after the injury or procedure, because the event and their current experience don't seem connected. If the problem may be related from an East Asian Medicine perspective, we may work around the scar in addition to other acupuncture points.
Pelvic Floor Pain & Dysfunction
Pelvic floor dysfunction is often caused by a trauma, however, it is not always physical trauma. Dysfunction can be either holding the pelvic floor too tightly 24/7 or losing strength or ability to clench properly. This can be caused from sexual trauma, medical trauma during a gynecological procedure such as IUD insertion, or from pregnancy and childbirth.
Dysfunction can be described as a struggle to regain full pelvic control or worse; pain in the pelvis or lower abdomen during various activities like sex or first morning urination. Whether you experience urinary incontinence when you sneeze or jump, have to pee frequently, or pee in multiple streams as you struggle to fully relax due to urinary retention, these are all symptoms that can be helped with pelvic floor exercises following acupuncture treatments to help the muscles both soften and strengthen as needed to return to better health.