Injured? Acupuncture Can Help by Regenerating the Nerves
This is a special acknowledgement and thanks goes to Dr (TCM) John Tsagaris and his London acupuncture clinic for putting this article together for us.
Injuries – either sport-related or accidental – usually affect the lower limb (particularly the ankle and knee) and are commonly seen in the elderly or people with an outdoorsy lifestyle.
Injuries can be caused by trauma, as a result of sudden impact or unpredictable movement, or can develop over time often due to continual use of the same joints or muscle groups.
How Can Acupuncture Help?
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical healing intervention, which can be used to regenerate the damaged nerves and help in nerve repair in an effective way, especially after an injury.
Electromyographic nerve conduction tests of acupuncture patients with nerve injuries document “an effective response” – and this in 80% of patients.
Electromyography confirms that acupuncture works by facilitating motor nerve conduction velocity and promoting functional nerve repair. A special set of acupuncture points resulted in good to clinically significant responses at a very high rate.
Acupuncture is performed using localised points (effective rate of 38.5%) complemented by points on the Du (Governor Channel) acupuncture meridian the rate increased to 80%.
Neuronal cell body communicates through its pathway with peripheral target tissues, releasing neurotrophic factors (a group of peptide or protein biomolecules which support the growth, survival, and differentiation of both developing and mature neurons).
Therefore, the neuron network is interdependent, determining regulated functioning under pathological conditions. (Wu et al., 2006).
What Happens After Nerve Injury?
After peripheral nerve injury, nutrient transport is interrupted or obstructed, causing the cell bodies to lose target-derived neurotrophic factors, resulting in apoptosis (Himes et al., 1989).
Therefore, to ensure the injured peripheral nerve has renewable materials available, preventing neuronal apoptosis, is an important strategy to improve the structural and functional recovery of peripheral nerves after injury. This is achieved by employing acupuncture and electro-acupuncture on the Governor channel acupoints to aid functional repair after peripheral nerve injury due to the anti-inflammatory relief of the local microenvironment. It also ensures continuity between the peripheral and central nerve.
The peripheral nervous system (PNS) controls sensory and motor communication pathways of the limbs. Nerve damage has a direct effect on sensation and functional efficacy. Neurotransmitters neuropeptides send chemical messages by way of the nervous system. A recent study showed that bone and periosteum are innervated by sympathetic and sensory nerve fibres, implicating the peripheral nervous system in bone metabolism, indicating sensory and sympathetic neurotransmitters which have crucial trophic effects essential for proper bone formation and nerve regeneration. Wang, Yan et al, “Effects of Treatment of Treadmill Combined with Electro-Acupuncture on Tibia Bone Mass,” pg 7.
Microglia are central nervous system immunity cells that release pro-inflammatory and neuro-stimulant mediators. Acupuncture reduces pain by triggering these responses, providing neuro protection and neuro-regeneration. The acupuncture treatment increases:
- the total number of healthy neurons
- activity of acetylcholinesterase (AChE)
- the total number Nissl bodies (large granular body found in neurons)
non-neuronal cell line, provide support and protection for neurons in the central and peripheral nervous system. The glial cell network stimulates neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in mRNA
Acupuncture operates via its effect on inflammatory cytokines, neurotransmitter signalling and neuro-hormone release. Schroder S, Liepert J, Remppis A, Greten JH. Acupuncture treatment improves nerve conduction in peripheral neuropathy. Eur J Neurol. 2007;14:276–281
Can Acupuncture Help?
Acupuncture can be a very useful tool for tissue and nerve rehabilitation with very satisfactory results. It works as a preventative measure, to increase tissue recovery and boost alleviating the toxic micro-environment of the injury from inflammatory bio-products. It can also significantly increase the healing body responses for muscle and nerve rehabilitation and recovery.
Disclosure: This is a collaboration post.