Yes, it is the time of home repair projects (some ending up a little more extensive than we imagined), softball, three-legged races, hiking, water skiing, and more. That means we are seeing more injuries and sore muscles in the acupuncture clinic.
Many people do not know that acupuncture is a really quick and easy way to help those sprained ankles, tennis elbows, golf elbows, sore backs and knees, and of course, sore necks.
Acupuncture can be used in a variety of ways to help. Many practitioners will simply place needles in the affected area. That can be really helpful. In addition, many acupuncturists like to use needles in other parts of the body that will improve the function of the painful area. For example, if your knee hurts, we can use your elbow as the treatment site, since there is a relationship between the elbow and the knee. Another possibility is using the point for knee that is located on the ear surface.
In the Chinese medicine system the knees are associated with the Kidney energy center, so we might use points along the Kidney meridian to help the knee. Or, if your pain in the knee is along the Gallbladder meridian, we would use points on the Gallbladder meridian in the foot to help the knee.
Acupuncture reduces swelling, decreases stiffness and increases movement of joints and muscles involved in injuries. It does this primarily by increasing blood flow to the area, and helping to clear toxins out of the tissues. It also stimulates nerves to work better, and keeps the brain from getting the pain signals from an injury.
Acupuncture, along with the usual RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation is a really smart way to take care of yourself when you are hurting.
By the way, it also works really well at helping take down swelling after surgery, as well as increasing the range of motion and helping nerves regrow after an operation.