Your Ultimate Guide to Acupuncture for Injury

By: StacyAtZeel

Whether you're an injured athlete or you pulled your back while changing the light bulb (hey, it happens!), we talk to Zeel Expert Aram Akopyan to learn how acupuncture can be a paramount part of the recovery process.

Injured joints and tendons are a common complaint of many of my patients. Wear and tear is a normal part of life, and these injuries vary in severity and require different levels of intervention. For example, a simple joint injury from hyper-extension or overuse does not necessarily imply underlying structural damage, and can be easily addressed with rehabilitation, reduced activity, massage techniques and acupuncture.

A more severe injury, however, can occur when chronic overuse or extreme activity has caused structural damage, such as torn ligaments, worn joint substrates or even injury to the meniscus or the joint capsule itself. These often require longer rehabilitation times, extended integrative treatment approaches and, if all else fails, possible surgical intervention.

The table below shows the treatment regimen I prescribe depending on the type of injury. Note: Any injury to the bone, or tear of structure, will often require more invasive intervention, so make sure to check with your physician and order the proper imaging studies to rule out serious conditions.

As always, home care is as important to the healing process as the actual treatment. Often, immobilizing the affected joint for a short period can help calm down the inflammation. Furthermore, an anti-inflammatory regimen either with natural herbal products or with prescribed NSAIDs may be required to help reduce inflammation.

Proper physical rehabilitation at home can also help facilitate the healing process. These would often be prescribed by your attending physician or your acupuncturists. There are many range of motion (ROM) rehabilitation exercises that your physician may recommend. Check out some ROM exercises for the wrist here.