One of the most common things I treat in my practice is pain. That is pretty common as an Acupuncturist because pain is one of the things that Acupuncture has been widely researched to treat successfully, though it is far from all we can do. Interestingly, a significant portion of the pain and arthritis I treat is EXACTLY in the area of an injury 10-15 years before. To me, this speaks to mild injuries left untended and surprisingly, mild auto accidents are the culprit of much more than we realize in the moment.
SO the question becomes - if you’re in an auto accident and have mild (or major, frankly) whiplash, back pain or headaches, what can you do to resolve the immediate pain, return to function and PREVENT lasting pain and complications? Sans drugs and surgery, you know, if you're not into that stuff.
Here are three easy actionable steps I’ve put together based on my medicine and experience that you or someone you love can take immediately to help your body restore and repair as quickly and successfully as possible:
Three Easy Steps to Kick Pain To The Curb
I’m keeping it short and sweet today because more than anything, I want you to act if you have an accident or injury! Not waste time reading all the (wonderful, of course!) things I have to say. If you want to know more about back pain after a car accident or whiplash and what to do, please search through my blog for more information using the search bar at the top or contact me. You can comment in the comments section below or email me using the contact form HERE. You can also book in for an appointment or a free consult online anytime - I’d be overjoyed to see you or answer your questions with a phone consultation!
Until next time, thanks for tuning in!
According to the Oregon Department of Transportation there were 49,798 car accidents reported in 2012 and 36,085 people were injured in those accidents. That is an average of 136 crashes PER DAY in Oregon alone! And did you know that the highest incidents of crashes occurred on Fridays and in October? [Note to self; try not to drive on Fridays in October!]
All levity aside, a car accident is no joke, as the 36,000 injured people in 2012 can attest. The force of impact that the body is made to endure in even a minor car accident causes a ripple effect of muscular tension which can result in whiplash, headache, back pain, decreased range of motion and sciatica to name just a few.
None of these things should be left untreated and the sooner you get in for treatment, the sooner you can head off pain and injury in the early stages and avoid major problems down the line. Some of these effects such as whiplash are immediate, but others occur due to compensation over time and the best remedy is to get treatment early - within the first two weeks of an accident ideally.
Acupuncture for auto accident recovery is highly effective, and if you combine acupuncture with Physical Therapy and Massage your recovery is expedited even more.
Acupuncture by itself gives great hope for recovery. It can:
Testimonial from an Auto Accident Treatment Patient
After my auto accident, my pain levels made it hard for me to both concentrate and to physically sit long enough to do my work. My acupuncture treatments with Rebecca were and continue to be a critical part of my recovery from the accident, as they provided immediate relief for the acute pain and gave me three or four days of respite from it after treatment. Of all the healing modalities I tried - massage therapy, chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, and acupuncture - acupuncture proved to be the one that was the best at keeping pain to manageable levels, thus allowing me to get back to the work I love doing.
Combining Modalities in Car Accident Treatment Gives Best Results
Massage or foot reflexology is something I add into all of my acupuncture treatments for at least 5-10 minutes, but I encourage all patients who come in for auto accident treatment to come in for 90 minute acupuncture + massage sessions so we have more time to spend on bodywork (massage). It helps that if you have an auto accident in Oregon, acupuncture and massage are covered 100% by your auto insurance without a referral!
I often incorporate Cupping and Gua Sha - traditional Chinese myofascial release techniques to relieve pain and stagnation - into car accident treatments as well. This too, I find, helps patients recover faster after an auto accident or MVA (motor vehicle accident) by helping the body relieve tension and flush out toxins that may be associated with tense guarded muscles.
Lastly I always recommend patients see a Physical Therapist as part of their car accident treatment plan, because while acupuncture can help balance the body, reduce and often completely relieve pain from whiplash, headache, back spasm, sciatica and certainly helps to increase range of motion, it can’t assess your posture or potential repetitive motion injury sources in your daily life that could aggravate your pain and delay healing.
In my experience as both a motor vehicle accident treatment patient AND a provider, no one is a better mechanic for the body than a Physical Therapist, and when you combine the pain relief and Qi balancing of Acupuncture and massage, with the mechanical reprogramming of physical therapy exercise, your results are quick and long lasting.
The most important message here is that no matter what you do, get treatment early. Ideally within those first two weeks of having a car accident. Sometimes it takes 10-14 days for the full effects of a car accident to “wear in” to the body, so if you can get in before your body really sets into the pain, you have a much better chance of heading it off and avoiding the worst effects the injury has to offer.
If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact me via email or book a free consultation anytime. If you’ve had a car accident and are looking for treatment, please book in for a new patient 90 minute appointment so we can assess your situation and we will take it from there! I have excellent Physical Therapists in SW, SE and downtown that I refer to for auto accidents regularly and I would be honored to help coordinate your care.
Until next time,
How Can Acupuncture Help Me?
As a Licensed Acupuncturist with a degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture treatment is a central focus of my practice. One of the most common questions a new patient asks beyond “does acupuncture hurt?” and “what can acupuncture treat?” is “how can acupuncture help me?”
This question is so common that today I’m going to do my best to answer it for some of the more common complaints I see in the treatment room.
Its important first to realize that 3,000+ years ago, acupuncture and Chinese medicine were the only medical options available in China, and therefore they were used (and still have protocols today) to treat everything from colds to acute infections, back pain, and more. With the advent of modern medicine, it is clear that some things - especially anything that would warrant a trip to the ER - are best suited to Western medical treatment while other things are treated very successfully and naturally by Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Here is a short list of some of the ailments best suited to acupuncture treatment:
There’s quite a bit more, but these are most common ailments I see in my clinic. The top two complaints I see are Pain - especially Neck, Back, Knee and Auto Accident Recovery - and Women’s Health Issues.
How Can Acupuncture Help My Pain?
The benefits of acupuncture for pain treatment have been widely researched and show that acupuncture can cause the body to release pain-relieving endorphins and cause the brain to change the way it perceives pain by changing opiate receptor sites. Neither of these completely explain all the benefits of acupuncture, but acupuncture has received endorsement from the National Institute of Health for pain treatment.
Acupuncture uses hair-thin needles strategically placed along meridians and around the site of pain or injury to balance the meridians. When we balance the energetic body, the physical body follows suit finding a physical state of balance to match the energetic one and in so doing returning the body to a pain free state.
Even when meridians, or energetic channels, are treated locally, the whole meridian from its branches connecting internal organs all the way to the skin layer are affected.
This means that the benefits of acupuncture are widespread - not only will acupuncture treat and resolve the pain, but it will also balance the body on a deeper level in order to maintain the pain free state. Many other things are improved as a by-product of acupuncture treatment such as enhanced immunity and stress reduction - two of the most common acupuncture side effects.
This is true for any type of pain, but is especially successful in treating auto accident recovery. After even a minor car accident, your body is in a state of distress - whiplash, rib subluxation, back spasm. You can also suffer from high stress associated with dealing with the aftermath of an auto accident such as managing multiple appointments and dealing with insurance claims.
Acupuncture will treat the physical pain - relaxing muscles, moving stagnation, decreasing inflammation - and also the stress and physical effects of the trauma such as insomnia and anxiety.
How Can Acupuncture Benefit Women's Health Issues?
The same is true in the treatment of Women’s Health Issues such as PMS, menopause and infertility. Not only can acupuncture balance hormones and reduce cramping, irritability, insomnia, hot flashes etc., but it can also help reduce the stress and anxiety associated with difficult or irregular menstrual cycles.
Indeed, I’ve seen patients with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome who haven’t had a regular cycle or unmedicated period in a decade return to normal cycles in as little as 3 months using acupuncture and herbal treatment alone.
How Can Acupuncture Help Me?
So the short answer to the original question, “How Can Acupuncture Help Me?” is that it can help you by balancing your meridians. This resolves both physical and energetic imbalances which can relieve pain and hormone irregularities. Common acupuncture byproducts include stress reduction and immune enhancement so acupuncture can benefit you on many levels, even ones you may not be actively seeking assistance with. Once balanced, acupuncture can help you maintain a healthy state for years to come.
If you have questions or want to know more please don’t hesitate to contact me or book a free consult anytime!
I am very excited to announce that my husband, Brian Kitzerow, DPT, is now working at Goodell PT in SW Portland and is accepting new patients! We are very excited that he is working in an outpatient setting and that we can share referrals now. I was so excited that I had to blog about it, and I can't wait to see what our collaborations bring for our patients.
With a strong background in biochemistry, a long history of physical activity including soccer, track & field and martial arts, he has the education and experience to excel in his work and I can tell you that he does. He has a special interest in chronic and neuropathic pain and is enjoying working with ESD patients in particular - a specialty at Goodell. ESD stands for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, an inherited connective tissue disorder, so if you know anyone with chronic pain, EDS, neuropathic pain or someone who has been in a car accident lately, please think of sending them his way with Rebecca's double thumbs up.
I also have to share that I believe the combination of Acupuncture and Physical Therapy can be pretty amazing. It can be difficult to commit to so much regular treatment, I understand that (from experience), but if you can commit to the time required to combine therapies, your results will be accelerated and longer lasting.
Acupuncture can straighten out your energetic system, decrease stress and pain, and re-habituate your body to a state of balance. Physical Therapy will balance the body physically, improve strength and flexibility, and give you the tools you need to heal and continue your preferred activity level without incurring new injury. Its a winning combination because the two approaches are just the right amount of different and complementary.
I feel like a personal testament to this powerful combination because while you may not think it to look at me, I've had a lot of injury in my life. I've had tendonitis, bursitis, meniscus frays and tears, ACL tear and knee surgery, piriformis syndrome, dislocations, subluxations, back spasms and a motor vehicle accident. I'm one of those people that dreads filling out new medical forms because there is never enough room for all my injuries on there and because the doctor usually gawks at my list.
This long list, however, means I am very well acquainted with pain and pain treatments experientially and professionally, and I have no problem sharing that my best results have come from combining Acupuncture and Physical Therapy. That is why I am so excited to be able to refer patients to my husband in this setting because I know he is top notch and an excellent physical diagnostician. That is also why I often recommend Physical Therapy - its effective, covered by insurance, and gives YOU tools that you can take home with you and apply to the way you use your body for years to come.
So with this note, please welcome my husband to the world of outpatient clinics, and if you have a physical therapy need or know someone who does think about sending them his way!
Until next time,
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.