Relieving Knee Pain with Acupuncture, Moxibustion & Cupping
Have you ever fallen down and injured your knee? Of course you have! We have all done this many times before. Do you have any kids? Toddlers and infants learning to walk fall hundreds of times a week. Have you ever fallen so hard you tore an Anterior Cruciate Ligament, Medial Collateral Ligament , Lateral Collateral Ligament or meniscus? These injuries are traumatic physically and emotionally. I experienced an ACL and meniscus tear that required reconstruction. I thought I would never recover from that but thankfully I did and I am much stronger mentally and physically for it. The older we get the less we fall, but when we do, there is a greater chance of severe injury or surgery. The important thing is that if we fall down 7 times, we get up 8. Life’s great lesson. Acupuncture and moxibustion can help relieve knee pain from traumatic injury, surgery, over use, arthritis or degenerative joints. Moxibustion can obviously improve in the clinical symptoms for the patients with knee osteoarthritis, such as pain, stiffness and motor disturbance. It is a safe and effective therapy. I am happy to say that with regular acupuncture treatments, at least once per month, I have zero pain and enjoy chasing my toddler Theodore, surfing, crossfit, flow fit, tac fit, volleyball and golf if I ever get free time.
I had a recent patient who came in after a nasty fall off a skateboard. She fell on her wrist and knee and was experiencing constant pain for more than two weeks. She had tried the standard of care R.I.C.E. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, with little relief. The wrist and knee pain was diminished but remained at constant 5/10. This pain increased with walking or any wrist movements including typing and driving. This pain was affecting her sleep and quality of life. She appeared to be limping while walking through the office. Most of her pain was on the medial side of the knee, there was slight swelling on the medial aspect of the knee and it was cold to the touch from icing. I palpate this frequently in clinic where a patient has iced a joint or muscle too frequently after an injury. My favorite Chinese Medicine joke is that ICE IS FOR DEAD people. Ice is good in the acute stages of an injury, the first 15 minutes, however this is debatable with Doctors of Chinese Medicine. Acupuncturist love to use Moxibustion, cupping and blood letting to relieve the pressure of swelling instead of ice. Unfortunately most patients don’t come in the day of the injury so acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping with out blood letting, and external herbal soaks or liniments are used to decrease pain and swelling. In my clinical experience icing after the first 15 minutes, and icing repeatedly, can slow down the healing process. I have had patients that came in years after an ankle injury with swelling and bruising still present. Icing congeals blood and fluids in that tissue or joint space. Joints, tendons and ligaments already have a decreased blood supply so icing an injury can dramatically decrease the blood flow for weeks. In Traditional Chinese Medicine we would use Moxibustion, acupuncture, cupping and chinese herbal soaks or liniments on a knee injury. Regular treatments could prevent patients from requiring surgery or help them recover more quickly from surgery.
In a study comparing Acupuncture and Moxibustion to the use of the NSAID diclofenac, Acupuncture & Moxibustion outperformed the NSAID by a long shot. NSAID Drugs are a quick fix and can knock inflammation and pain down for a day or two but are not meant to use long term. Long term NSAIDS can harm your kidneys, stomach and intestines. I have taken care of patients as a nurse in renal failure from taking advil. Acupuncture & Moxibustion decreased pain dramatically over time but also improved the range of motion in the knee.
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