Injuries

An injury is any harm or damage done to the body. They can be obtained from accidents, falls, collisions, or overuse of muscles or joints. Injuries can vary in severity. Some are from minor cuts and bruises, and others are more severe conditions like fractures, sprains, strains, or even life-threatening trauma. Body parts such as bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, and skin can be affected by injuries. Treatment for injuries depends on their type and severity and includes rest, medication, physical therapy, surgery, or other treatments.

What injuries respond well to physical therapy such as acupuncture?

Acupuncture can be used as a complementary therapy for various types of injuries. Acupuncture often provides relief from pain and promotes healing.

Here are common types of injuries that acupuncture may be used for:

  1. Musculoskeletal injuries: Acupuncture can be beneficial for treating muscle strains, ligament sprains, tendonitis, and other soft tissue injuries. It may help reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and promote tissue repair.
  2. Sports injuries: Athletes commonly suffer injuries such as tennis elbow, runner’s knee, shin splints, and sprained ankles. Acupuncture may aid pain management, improve mobility, and speed up recovery.
  3. Back pain and neck pain: Acupuncture is often utilised to relieve chronic or acute back pain and neck pain resulting from injuries, poor posture, or muscle tension. It can help relax tight muscles, reduce inflammation, and release endorphins, natural pain-relieving chemicals.
  4. Joint pain: Acupuncture may alleviate pain and stiffness associated with joint injuries or conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or bursitis. It can improve joint mobility and function.
  5. Headaches and migraines: Some injuries, such as head trauma or whiplash, can lead to chronic headaches or migraines. Acupuncture may help manage these symptoms by reducing muscle tension, improving blood flow, and modulating pain perception.
  6. Post-surgical rehabilitation: After surgery recovery, such as reconstructions, rotator cuff repair, or spinal fusion, acupuncture can be part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and facilitate recovery.

Nevertheless, It’s important to note that acupuncture can be a valuable therapy for many injuries, but it should not be used in an emergency.

Tennis or Golfer elbow

Tennis or golfer elbow, also known as lateral or medial epicondylitis, is a common condition characterised by pain and tenderness on the outer or inner part of the elbow. Despite its name, tennis or golfer elbow is not limited to tennis or golf players. It can affect anyone who repeatedly uses their forearm muscles, particularly those used for gripping, twisting, or lifting.

The primary cause is repetitive stress or overuse of the forearm muscles and tendons. This overwork leads to small tears or inflammation in the tendons that attach to the lateral or medial epicondyle, a bony bump on the outside or inside of the elbow. Additionally, activities that involve repetitive wrist extension and forearm rotation, such as playing tennis, golfing, typing, painting, or using hand tools, can contribute to the development of the disorder.

The symptoms of tennis and golfer elbow typically include:

Pain or tenderness on the elbow’s outer or inner part may radiate down the forearm.

  1. Weakness in the affected arm, particularly when gripping or lifting objects.
  2. Difficulty with activities that involve wrist or forearm movement, such as shaking hands, turning a doorknob, or lifting a coffee cup.

Treatment for tennis or golfer elbow usually involves a combination of rest, activity modification, physical therapy, and the following pain management strategies:

  • Resting the affected arm and avoiding activities that make symptoms worse
  • Using over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Performing exercises to stretch and strengthen the forearm muscles.
  • Wearing a brace or splint to support the elbow and reduce tendon strain.
  • Have corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
  • Trying alternative therapies such as acupuncture or massage therapy.

In most cases, tennis or golfer’s elbow responds well to conservative treatments, and symptoms improve within a few weeks to months. However, surgery may be recommended to repair the affected tendons and alleviate pain if symptoms persist despite conservative measures or severe tendon damage.

Lower back pain

Lower back pain is an overall condition that ranges from mild discomfort to severe, debilitating pain. It can affect people of all ages and can be caused by various factors.

Some common causes of lower back pain include:

  1. Muscle or ligament strain: Overuse, poor posture, or sudden movements can strain the muscles or ligaments in the lower back, leading to pain and stiffness.
  2. Herniated or bulging discs: The discs between the vertebrae of the spine can bulge or herniate, putting pressure on nearby nerves and causing pain, numbness, or tingling that may radiate down the legs (sciatica).
  3. Degenerative disc disease: Wear and tear on the spinal discs over time can lead to degenerative changes, such as loss of disc height and integrity, resulting in pain and stiffness in the lower back.
  4. Spinal stenosis: Narrowing the spinal canal can compress the spinal cord or nerve roots, causing lower back pain, weakness, or numbness that may worsen with walking or standing.
  5. Spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebra slips forward over the one below it, potentially compressing spinal nerves and causing lower back pain and stiffness.
  6. Muscle imbalances or weakness: Weak core muscles or imbalances between the abdomen, back, and pelvis muscles can contribute to lower back pain by placing extra stress on the spine.
  7. Arthritis: Osteoarthritis or other forms of arthritis can cause inflammation and stiffness in the spine’s joints, leading to lower back pain and reduced mobility.
  8. Traumatic injury: Falls, car accidents, or other traumatic events can cause fractures, sprains, or strains in the bones, muscles, or ligaments of the lower back, resulting in acute or chronic pain.

Treatment for lower back pain depends on its cause and severity but may include:

  • Rest and activity modification
  • Ice or heat therapy
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy or exercise programs to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility
  • Manual therapy techniques such as chiropractic adjustments or massage therapy
  • Injections of corticosteroids or other medications to reduce inflammation
  • Surgical intervention in severe or persistent pain or if there is nerve compression or structural instability.

Ensure that you ask a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment plan tailored to your needs and circumstances. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, proper posture, and weight management, can help prevent and manage lower back pain.

Photo credit: Photo by Towfiqu

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