Acute VS Chronic Treatment Protocols
It can be a tough call to know exactly how many treatments each individual client will need. They each look at me with hopeful eyes asking "How many treatments will I need?" and as I try to give some kind of an answer I always say "Every patient is different and it's hard to tell." Yet one thing is for sure there is a system that I do follow for Acute injuries compared to Chronic conditions.
NO, I swear that I am not trying to get you in more often to suck every penny out of you! Each Acupuncture treatment builds on top of the other. Much like the gym where you need 4-6 weeks of exercise to see any promising results. One does not simply walk into the gym one time and say "Why am I not Fit yet?!" It's because our body does not function like a microwave. We need time and long term effort for our bodies to gain memory in the cells and change for the good.
If you follow these treatment protocols for Acute or Chronic, and actually follow through with the length of treatment recommendations, then you should notice a significant difference in your health. (Note that this is not promising a cure in any way but rather a hope and a will for a solution to a problem.)
Stage 1: The Acute or Inflammatory Phase (Day 1-3 after injury)
This phase is immediately after the injury where there is usually inflammation seen in the area. This is a natural response of the body to protect the injured area, by releasing cells and hormones that help with the pain and discomfort. Scar tissue also starts to form at this stage of healing.
- local and severe pain
- swelling in the area that is hot to touch
- bruising that is tender
- muscles spasms
- lack of range of motion
- redness that happens at the injury site.
Recommended: Apply "RICE", which is Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. I suggest receiving an Acupuncture treatment immediately, up to 2 treatments within the first week. Have them close together and generally a day apart is best. Acupuncture is the best method for ridding any inflammation in the body. A deep tissue massage is not recommended as it may damage delicate tissue repair in the area.
Stage 2: The Sub Acute Phase. (Day 4 - 3 Weeks)
In this stage the body starts to grow more tissues, and starts repairing what was damaged in the first place. Since the tissues are new, you must be very careful not to re- damage them, as this could result in even more pain than the original trauma.
- tender area (scar tissue is forming)
- yellow, green, or brown bruising
- range of motion is still diminished but increasing
- inflammation decreases
Recommended: Mild exercises like a brisk walk can help to create a better blood flow. Applying heat to the area helps the tendons and muscles repair. I suggest to see your Acupuncturist at least once a week for up to 4 weeks, so at least 4-5 treatments total to see any results. A deep tissue Massage is recommended at this time to start working on breaking down the scar tissue that has set in. Also, certain Herbal formulas can be taken daily for up to 2 - 4 weeks that can assistant with the healing process.
Stage 3: The Chronic Phase (3 Weeks - Months, or Years) The area that sustained injury is now well into healing and scar tissue has now been set in place by the body. By this point, people usually will not feel any more pain, except with overuse or when the joint reaches its full range of motion.
- a constant dull ache, not particularly sharp
- pain with certain range of motions in the joints
- a dull ache at rest
- bruising has subsided
- inflammation has gone but there may still be fluids
- scar tissue has set in which might create a small lump
Recommended: At this point I recommended at least 8-12 Acupuncture treatments and deep tissue Massage sessions to see results. Along with a proper home care of strengthening and stretching to assist with the recovery of the tendons and muscles. Also, I suggest taking a Herbal formula long term for chronic pain such as Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Osteoporosis, Degenerative disc pain etc. These specific herbs are recommended to be taken daily for up to 3 months to see the best results.
In Conclusion, as a Therapist all I want to do is help you get rid of your pain in the best way that I know how, and that's by providing you with treatments. I ultimately can't make the decision for you of how often you are going to come in, but it may affect how fast or how slow your healing process is. So have a little faith and trust that I have your best interest at heart (which I do!) and follow through with the recommended treatment plan that you were given. Your body will thank you!
Thanks so much for reading!
Leave a comment below with any questions that you may have. :)