Muscle sprains and strains can occur due to a sudden twist, fall or movement, or repetitive movements. Sprains are injuries to a ligament and strains are injuries to a muscle or tendon. The body's natural defense mechanism is inflammation as fluid flow increases to the injured tissue resulting in pain and swelling.
Acupuncture reduces inflammation. Researchers have been investigating why acupuncture can reduce levels of pro-inflammatory biochemicals called cytokines. For example, Korean researchers pinpointed specific biochemicals and how they regulate the vagus nerve which modulate the inflammatory response.1
Other musculoskeletal disorders are chronic, such as arthritis - but they are still inflammatory conditions - and inflammatory conditions can respond to a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine and attention to diet and lifestyle.
Musculoskeletal disorders include:
- Tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, knee pain, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - these joint injuries often result from overuse in sports or work activities. TMJ - while a muscle disorder - stress is a contributing cause.
- Sciatica, back pain - these can occur due to a pinched nerve, injury to the back, a sedentary lifestyle.
- Knee pain, arthritis - Some types of arthritis pain are not alleviated by easy daily movement, others are. In both cases, inflammation is a contributing cause.
- Fibromyalgia pain arises from chronic inflammation and can be addressed through acupuncture, diet, lifestyle and herbal medicine.
1. H.D. Lim, et al, Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Acupuncture Stimulation via the Vagus Nerve, PLoS One, March, 2016.