Concussions and Acupuncture

Head injuries are all too common in our modern world. Whether from automobile accidents, falls at any age, athletic injuries from contact sports, or fist fights in a bar, they can have debilitating long-term effects. Acupuncture treatments are very effective for treating concussions naturally.

In emergency medicine the head is described as an 8-pound bowling ball on the end of a pencil. When this bowling ball comes to an abrupt stop while moving rapidly (as in a fall where the head hits the ground) the brain inside floating in a sea of fluid sloshes to the side of impact and runs into the surface of the skull. This contact can cause injury to the brain ranging from bruising to bleeding and usually involves a loss of consciousness. As with impacts anywhere else on the body, our immune system shows up to contain and repair the injury. All the signs of inflammation occur: swelling, heat, and pain. Swelling of the brain inside the rigid container of the skull leads to a rise in pressure known as increasing intracranial pressure. This leads to often severe headaches, blurred vision, confusion, and slurring of words. The pressure inward compresses brain tissue which can lead to long-term brain damage if it persists for too long.

Acupuncturists understand well the energetic mechanisms of a concussion. The idea of inflammation is central to our way of understanding these injuries. With our understanding we can treat both the acute stage as well as very old problems that have lingered from older head events.

Immune function is called Wei chi ( literally defensive energy). Wei chi is hot like a vapor and arises anywhere in the body instantaneously when injury occurs. This is the heat present in all injuries. Fluid is simultaneously released from the tissue to cause swelling to immobilize the area. When Wei chi stagnates or concentrates in a specific location it causes pain which, together with swelling, serves to remind the owner not to move and cause further injury.

Wei chi is distributed in our bodies in the sinew channels. These channels provide our exterior defense system and articulate our limbs since escape is part of our defense. For our head, the sinew channels serve to hold it upright and allow it to look up and down as well as side to side. These are again movements of defense, of observation to assess danger. The channel system is described in detail in my book Does it Hurt? A Dialog to Help you Understand and Trust Acupuncture available on Amazon and at all major booksellers.

When head injury occurs, some or all of the sinew channels can tighten due to their protective response to the impact. They remain tight to immobilize the head and neck in order to prevent further injury and allow time to heal. Almost without exception every concussion patient I have treated has neck or upper back pain and difficulty with some direction of movement of their head. Sometimes external factors such as the application of ice or anti-inflammatory medications can cause the tension in the sinew channels to linger on and on over an extended period. Their use can also make the head injuries more difficult to treat.

Treating the sinew channels with acupuncture needles to release the tension can help acute or very old head injuries heal. I strongly recommend seeing an acupuncturist as soon as possible after a concussion. Treating these traumatic problems early can speed recovery and prevent many long-term, lingering problems seen so often in head injuries. With all concussion issues like headache, neck tension, memory disruption or depression, treatment with acupuncture is very effective, often ending decades-old symptoms that no other treatment has helped.

Does It Hurt? A Dialog to Help You Understand and Trust AcupunctureYou will find more in-depth descriptions of these theories in my introductory book on acupuncture,

Does It Hurt? A Dialog to Help You Understand and Trust Acupuncture

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Photo above by Hanson Lu on Unsplash

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