Kim Finley LAc.
Auto accidents can be pretty traumatic, even after a fender bender at slow speed. And although many people will feel pain right away, it may take days or even weeks before your body responds to the event. Thankfully you have survived, yet physically, you may experience anything from disorientation to extreme pain. This might also include symptoms of anxiety, nausea, exhaustion or PTSD, along with a variety of painful sensations or whiplash. Whatever your symptoms may be, Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can be a huge help during your healing process.
During the acute stage right after the accident, one should rest from any demanding activities. Yet receiving acupuncture treatment right away can help you physically and emotionally, while your nervous system readjusts. There also may be swelling, bruising, pain or even numbness in the areas of trauma. Your body is experiencing a natural stage of inflammation, while the tissues and Immune System attend to these new demands. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, the prolonged use of ice, for instance, is not very helpful. Pain is considered to be a stagnation of Blood and Qi, and enhancing circulation to the location of the trauma is dire. Ice may feel better temporarily, but if the early inflammation/new circulation to the area is compromised or halted, true recovery may still be taking place more than a year later. If you do use ice to help reduce swelling, limit its use to the first 6 hours of trauma.
Acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal formulas, are both highly effective at increasing the circulation while promoting healing to the bone, muscle and tissues involved. Acupuncture can treat a variety of symptoms at once, as well as having a deeply, relaxing effect on one’s emotional wellbeing. You may experience feeling more “grounded” or reconnected to your body, after the often traumatic event and relief from anxiety.
Lastly, and most importantly, there are several stages to the recovery of tissues, ligaments, tendons, bones, etc. It is imperative for early treatment of any condition, so that these can take place naturally, and the body can remain structurally sound. A variety of modalities like acupuncture, chiropractic and massage used together, can help to reduce recovery time. Chronic conditions can result if the injury is neglected during the acute or sub-acute phases. The shoulder that never healed properly or the hip that gets aggravated in cold weather, etc., can be associated with improper healing. It may not heal with an ideal outcome, including full flexibility, while minimizing scar tissue, especially as we get older and cells are replaced much more slowly. Ask your practitioner for their recommended protocol for healing traumatic injury to make the most of your recovery.