Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine for Musculoskeletal Issues

The musculoskeletal system consists of connective tissues including joints, ligaments, and tendons.   Problems with the musculoskeletal system can result in inflammation and pain and, ultimately, reduce the body’s overall health.   Increasingly, people are looking for more natural approaches to help relieve painful musculoskeletal conditions instead of relying on medications. Acupuncture is a good therapy choice because it has no side effects and can be helpful for all types of pain, regardless of what is causing the pain or where the pain is located. Some studies have shown the pain relief provided by acupuncture can last for months. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain before and after acupuncture treatment for pain shows dramatic decreases in brain activity, up to 70 percent. This decrease in brain activity in certain areas of the brain is thought to be the reason for the reduction of pain caused by the acupuncture treatments.

Acupuncture & Musculoskeletal Conditions

Acupuncture has been proven as an effective form of treatment for a range of musculoskeletal conditions. Pain, stiffness, swelling and soreness, in muscles and joints can lead to an obstruction of energy (Qi/Chi), causing problems to the normal function of the whole body. An acupuncturist can restore these disturbances by inserting fine needles into specific points to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Acupuncture is recommended in the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines for back pain treatment. Many musculoskeletal conditions can cause symptoms of pain (ache, sharp, shooting, darting, soreness) or swelling or tenderness in the area. However there are other symptoms which are also connected with these such as sleep disturbance, fatigue, lack of energy or lethargy, anxiety and stress. Acupuncture attempts to treat the body as a “whole” and not just the localised symptoms. Acupuncture is regularly used in the treatment of the following musculoskeletal conditions:

  • Back Pain & Sciatica
  • Carpal Tunnel (wrist/hand)
  • Stroke
  • Arthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Sprains & Strains
  • Sports Injuries
  • Neck Pain & Arm pain
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Jaw Pain &/or teeth grinding
  • Chronic periodontitis: Weak Gums
  • Knee Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Myofascial Pain

Acupuncture for muscle spasm

One of the more common complaints in the 21st Century relates to computer use and the damage to the “mouse” arm and hand, resulting in a very stiff neck and shoulders. Sometimes people suffer “tennis elbow” or “golfers’ elbow” from operating the mouse. This results in pain in the medial board or between the spine and the edge of the shoulder blade or the scapular. When people are operating the com­puter mouse six to eight hours a day, it will really test out the musculature of even the healthiest person. So unless there is some remedial action taken lifestyle-wise in these situations of overexercise, heavy physical labour, excessive sweating or extended computer use, it is common for muscle spasms to occur. From an Acupuncture perspective, we can view the body as a living tree – we have roots in the ground that draw the fluid up which travels through the trunk of the body to keep the limbs supple. So, if you like, we could use that analogy in relation to the musculature of the body. So from a cramping or muscle spasm perspective, we are looking at insufficient fluids being available in the extremities. The tendency of the area to spasm or tighten up is heightened by this lack of coolant or lubricant in its function through the body. We call this Yin deficiency (or the dark side of the circle deficiency). In Sage Wellness Center – Acupuncture & Herbs, we use our capacity to tonify what we call the Yin energy, and specifically the kidney and liver Yin energy, to help mollify the extreme circumstances that will produce muscle spasm and muscle pain. So we are not just looking at dealing with the symptoms and taking the pain away. We really want to get behind the scenes from the perspective of traditional acupuncture and nourish the roots of the tree, the analogy for our body. Flexibility and suppleness then are by products of the acupuncture treatment. From the Sage Wellness Center – Acupuncture & Herbs perspective, we are looking not only at taking some of the dead wood out but also looking to invigorate the growth and suppleness of the extremities of the body.

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