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.