Prolonged or incomplete 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 for producing power but tendons transmit that power to allow us able to perform physical activity. They connect the muscle with their bones are usually the bit that gets injured. If they fail to heal completely, they can suffer repeated injury.
The role of connective tissue and immune system in healing
If the injury is not too serious, we are usually back on track with our usual physical activity with a week or two as our immune system creates an inflammatory process, which is the body’s way of repairing damaged tissues.
Both tendons and the immune system belong to one of our primary tissues — connective tissue. As a medical professional, I’m very interested in observing how the immune system influences tendons.
What is happening when tendon healing takes excessive time or there are repeated injuries to that tendon?
That answer is that our connective tissues are weakened causing our immune system to weaken preventing the tendons and connective from repairing fully.
There are numerous causes for this:
- In prolonged stress we’ve used too many resources of our body to compensate for the stress, unfavourably altering 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 alter the delicate balance of hormonal and immune system
- After 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
So how do we shape up your connective tissue (and immune system)?
As a medical doctor, I’ve found that medicine has little to offer for enhancing the immune system and is more likely to create immune deficiencies, usually caused by other treatments like chemotherapy.
As an acupuncturist, I find traditional acupuncture superb at releasing potential resources in our body in order to boost our immune system to speed up the process of healing.
One of my patients had a Baker’s cyst. From the perspective of Chinese medicine, the cause of her problem was 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 dietary changes and traditional acupuncture she made a speedy recovery.
Another patient, reported neck and shoulder pain and tension which had six months previously after an accident. Because she also suffered from asthma and allergies, I suspected disbalance in her immune system. So, in addition to standard traditional acupuncture points for neck and shoulder pain, I added points that stimulated the immune system. Grace was painfree after three treatments.
These are just a few examples of how traditional acupuncture works for my patients. The scientific literature evidences the potential effectiveness of acupuncture in other – usually chronic – conditions involving the immune system:
- allergic rhinitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome
As the number of studies on traditional acupuncture accelerates, we can expect more data on traditional acupuncture’s positive influence on the immune system i.e. in autoimmune diseases.
Written by Dr Bartosz Gorecki