Acupuncture is a well-established treatment method for musculoskeletal problems like back pain, tennis/golf elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. In that respect, acupuncture overlaps osteopathy and patients usually choose either method.
However, there are some conditions in which acupuncture can be used along with osteopathy for quicker and better results.
I’m Dr Bartosz Gorecki and in the series of articles, I would like to present a closer look at these conditions.
Long or not full healing after trauma or surgery
Have you been experiencing repeated injuries or long healing after an injury?
Have you been forced to withdraw from your regular physical activity for longer than you expected?
Muscles are responsible to produce power but in fact, the tendons are the ones that transmit that power and make us able to perform physical activity. They connect the muscles with the bones and if there is too much tension, they are the ones which usually get injured. Who has not experienced an ankle sprain? Very painful injury.
And sometimes when the tendon has not fully recovered, it’s prone to repeated injury.
The role of connective tissue and immune system in healing
If the injury is not too serious, usually after a week or two we are back on track with our normal physical activity. The one, which is responsible for swift healing is our immune system. Its ability to produce an inflammation process, which is a natural way of repairing damaged tissues, guarantees to heal.
The tendons and immune system belong to one of the primary tissues in the body, which is called the connective tissue. For me as a medical professional, it’s very interesting to observe how the condition of the immune system influences the tendons.
So what happens when the healing of tendons takes enormous time or there are repeated injuries of the same part of the body?
It means that our connective tissue got weak so our immune system got weak and the tendons follow.
There are numerous causes, which can make it happen. Just to name a few:
- In prolonged stress we’ve used too many resources of our body to compensate for the stress; which makes changes in the delicate balance of our hormonal and immune systems.
- When we eat too much sugar, we change our body environment making it more friendly to pathogenic bacteria and fungi. They exhaust our immune system and over time they make it weaker.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome is a state of deep exhaustion of our body including immune and hormonal systems. (This is a subject for a separate article)
- Toxins like alcohol, drugs, medications such as antibiotics, steroids, immunosuppressants.
- After a serious disease or surgery. Usually, such conditions leave a big wound in the body and the healing process can take a long time and consume a lot of energy.
The role of acupuncture in enhancing the healing
How to bring your connective tissue to shape again?
As a medical doctor, I’ve found out that medicine does not offer much to enhance the immune system, besides serious cases like immune deficiencies that are usually caused by other treatments like chemotherapy.
However, as an acupuncturist, I find this method superb in releasing potential resources in our body in order to boost our immune system to speed up the process of healing.
I recall one of my patient, Anna, with Baker’s cyst. From a Chinese medicine perspective, the reason for her problem was an improper function of the digestive system. She accumulated too much fluid because of her high sugar intake which affected with a bump under her knee. With diet changes and acupuncture, she underwent a speedy recovery.
Another patient, Grace, came with neck and shoulder pain and tension which had started half a year ago after an accident. Because she also was suffering from asthma and allergies I suspected disbalance in the immune system. So I decided to add to standard treatment for neck and shoulders pain, points that stimulated the immune system. It appeared to be a good strategy that affected Grace’s recovery after 3 treatments.
These are just a few examples of how acupuncture works in my clinic. Looking at science we can find more proofs for the effectiveness of acupuncture in conditions that involve the immune system.
Acupuncture has established or potential positive effect for conditions such as:
- allergic rhinitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome
As the number of studies on acupuncture rises twice as in conventional medicine, we can expect more data on acupuncture’s positive influence on the immune system i.e. in autoimmune diseases.
Written by Dr Bartosz Gorecki