Acupuncture for Sports Injury and Trauma by Dr. Leia Melead
Many people have asked me how acupuncture works to relieve the pain and inflammation caused by trauma or accidents.
To Westerners, it does seem absurd that the body can be healed by poking or sticking tiny pins and needles into various parts of it.
However, this ancient form of healing has been, and is continually being proven to be effective for all kinds of physical pain and discomfort.
The underlying premise of acupuncture lies in the energetic system of the body, which consists of Chi.
Chi is energy which circulates throughout the body and is responsible for the proper harmonious functioning of all of the organs and processes of the body. When the Chi or energy becomes blocked or deficient, or travels in the incorrect direction, then dis-ease ensues.
By strategically placing the acupuncture needles in different points along the meridians or energy conduits of the body, the acupuncturist is able to direct the flow of this Chi, to unblock the meridian of “stuck” energy,or to control the increase or decrease or balance of Chi throughout the body.
In modern western terminology, there are several theories which might explain acupuncture’s effectiveness for pain control. One such theory postulates that the acupuncture needles trigger the release of endorphins, or neuro-chemicals in the brain, which are responsible for the feeling of well-being.
There are 14 major pathways or meridians of the body through which this Chi flows. Each meridian is named after a certain body organ, such as the lung or the large intestine. Each meridian is either yin or yang. If it is a yin organ, it is paired with a corresponding yang organ. Together, this organ pair orchestrates a balance and flow of positive and negative energy or Chi throughout the body, thus keeping the body healthy, vibrant, and pain free. It is when this Chi becomes “stuck” or blocked that pain ensues.
Most of the injury cases which I have seen have been due to a Chi and blood stagnation caused by trauma. When an area of the body is injured, then it may swell up, become painful, hot to the touch, inflamed, tender, stiff, and the muscles may cramp or even spasm. These reactions to trauma or injury are normal, even if uncomfortable and downright painful.
Acupuncture through its delicate balancing ability, is able to work wonders with pain relief of stiff and tight muscles, joint pain and tenderness, helping to reduce swelling and inflammation of the injured area. It also is great at stopping muscle spasms and cramping, and throbbing sensation. It also speeds up the healing process by increasing the flow of Chi and blood into the affected area.
I had one patient, a basketball coach, who was accidentally pushed down by one of his players. As a last resort, he reluctantly come into my office, seeking relief from his pain. He had severe daily chronic pain for 6 months, mostly low back and sciatic pain, running down his right leg. He had tried medical doctors who had given him pain pills which didn’t help very much, a physical therapist who gave him exercises and therapy, and also a chiropractor who adjusted his spine.
However, the problem continued to persist. After his first acupuncture treatment, this patient went out and played 90 minutes of racketball, much to my chagrin. He felt that good! After two more acupuncture sessions, he was still doing well, with no recurrence of his pain, so he didn’t need to come back for any further sessions.
This patient had an exceptional response to acupuncture, in his amazing recovery from a chronic painful condition.
Each individual will have varied results.
Just a short while ago, I injured and severely strained my foot and ankle. My entire foot became swollen, inflamed,red, and was so extremely painful that I was unable to walk upon it for almost one week. When I received acupuncture on it, I could feel the Chi response in the point where each needle was inserted. When one of my stomach points on the leg was needled, I could also feel a sensation in one of my stomach points on my face! How can this be? Acupuncture points are connected to each other by way of a meridian or pathway which runs up and down the body.
The stomach meridian just happens to run the length of the body, from the bottom of the foot to the top of the face. And because I knew
the acupoints, I could verify that the energy or Chi was becoming unblocked as the needle was inserted into the foot. The trauma had created a blockage of energy, which I could feel all along the meridian! Such a sensation is magical when one feels it. And I am in awe of the process of acupuncture healing even after eighteen years of studying and working in this field.
Clearly, acupuncture has proven, and continues to prove effective in relieving bodily pain in all parts of the body. So, instead of reaching for that pain pill which might temporarily numb the pain, give yourself a treat, and reach out to acupuncture, and see how tiny little pins can relax your whole body, and help to speed up the healing process, instead of just masking the pain.
By Dr. Leia Melead