New research from Duke University Medical Center points to the positive impact that acupuncture has on reducing postoperative pain, and their need for powerful opioids to treat the pain.

Patients reported a significantly reduced need for painkillers.

Half the focus of our clinic is for the reduction and management of pain. We work to lessen the intensity and duration of musculoskeletal pains. In addition, we aim to reduce the need for powerful painkillers.

We use acupuncture and heat therapies to mitigate pain and increase range of motion.

Ms. Westhauser is a former DC Road RunnerĀ member and treats many athletes for sports injuries, muscle strains, IT Band tightness and knee, ankle, hip and back pains. She understands the mindset of an athlete and attempts to reduce pain enough so that her patients can return to a modified level of training, in hopes of maintaining and eventually returning to full activity levels.

Seven Star needling, Shanghai, China
Seven Star needling, Shanghai, China
The Eastern View

The main focus in trauma treatment can be summarized as an attempt to reduce or eliminate swelling so that healing can begin. Secondary injury is any further damage to the tissue peripheral to the locus of injury that occurs as a result of improper movement by the patient or aggravation from the inflammatory response itself. The former can be controlled through stabilization, but the latter must be controlled through topical applications of ice, herbs or both in conjunction with acupuncture.

The pathophysiology of secondary injury is chiefly related to the swelling factor. Swelling creates pressure; pressure decreases blood flow to the injured area by compressing blood vessels to the point where they can no longer transport enough oxygen to the injured area. Swelling also restricts fluid flow between cells. Whereas icing limits swelling, Chinese herbs are very effective at invigorating blood flow and promoting vessel repair. Blood stasis is always present in injury. Treatment focuses on controlling swelling and reducing the formation of blood stasis. The goal of dispersing stasis is to decrease pain and to clear the way for the tissue regeneration.

Tissue healing begins as the inflammatory process starts to slow down. Once inflammation is sufficiently restrained and there is enough space, new capillaries begin to sprout, bringing fresh blood to the region. This is known as revascularization. Chinese herbs and acupuncture can help reduce the formation of scar tissue that may occur from tissue damage. Depending on the severity of the initial damage, remodeling of new tissue can take a few weeks to a year. During the remodeling phase the new tissue orients according to the stresses imposed upon it. It is therefore important to gently stretch so as to optimize the strength of the new tissue.

Golden Flower 2010, “The Internal Treatment of Traumatic Injury.”

The Western View

“Acupuncture is a mystery to many of us in the Western world. While acupuncture and Oriental medical theories have slowly been integrated with modern medicine in just the past few decades, its history dates back over 5000 years. Along with this integration comes the task of translating concepts and ideas that have been explained and recorded in Oriental cultural terms. All this talk of Yin and Yang, Qi and Blood stagnation and other foreign terms can lead the Western trained mind to confusion and disbelief of how and why this ancient form of medicine actually works.

Viewed from a Western perspective, acupuncture can be explained through the laws of physics and physiology. Just as electrical brainwaves circulate the brain, and electromagnetic impulses keep the heart beating properly, the body as a whole is filled with tiny pathways or meridians, which carry very subtle electrical impulses throughout. Meridians are more basic than the circulatory or nervous systems, however they travel very close to one another and work as a team to keep the body’s systems running smoothly. These subtle electrical vibrations cannot be seen with the naked eye, but their effects are greatly noticeable. Meridians can be detected with the use of special infrared imaging. The meridian system will typically appear more transparent in nature, than the surrounding, more opaque, tissue and fluid.

Stimulating specific points on the meridians will create a change in the vibration or oscillation of energy, which in turn, induces the release of certain chemicals and nutrients. These chemical reactions lead to the relief of pain and inflammation and release of mood enhancing neurotransmitters, such as endorphins and serotonin. The amazing part is that no outside chemicals need to be introduced to the body. All chemicals are already residing in the body, so there are no harsh side effects from treatment.

In example, a patient complaining of back pain was given acupuncture at a point behind the knee, historically used to treat back pain. A thermogram (imaging system detecting heat) was taken before treatment, showing areas of bright red and yellow on the back, indicating heat or inflammation. After 27 minutes of acupuncture, the second thermogram showed no red or yellow areas. The inflammation as well as the pain had subsided. With a series of treatments, the inflammation can be permanently reduced or eliminated.”

Kathy Veon, AP, DOM is an Acupuncture Physician and Doctor of Oriental Medicine. She practices acupuncture and nutritional healing methods at Central Florida Preventive Medicine in Orlando, Florida.

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