Car accident - Acupuncture can help

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Millwoods Acupuncture Center
102, 2603 Hewes Way
Edmonton AB,   Canada

Phone: (780) 466-8683



Car Accident



How to understand a car accident

 Although the title of this brochure is car accident, the principle of the diagnosis and treatment here for a car accident is the same if the accident is due to fall down, beat, electric shock, lift heavy stuff, physical exercise (including Yoga, or martial art), or any mechanical trauma to the body.

When the accident just happened

Everyone, the accident suffer or doctor, should pay much attention to a hidden damage after a car accident, beside an open wound. In the western countries, the emergency service staff is the fist called to the accident spot. They should know how to deal with an open or hidden damage. But it is not always true.

Do not have strong physical exercise within one week after an accident.

We remind you not have strong physical exercise within one week after the accident, since you do not know if there is a hidden damage, such as linear bone broken, that you or your doctor do not realize in acute phase of accident (they cannot scan whole of your bone to detect it). In clinic, so many time we see people get pain in the body, where it is usually not the damaged place that have attracted the doctors’ attention in the acute stage.

The extent of your physical activity should match the healing process. Extensive physical exercise does not speed up your healing at all. In fact, it is opposite.



Do not use ice patch for more than half hour.

It is so common that people use ice patch on the damaged body surface with the hope to reduce pain. It is true that ice patch may work to reduce the blood supply and to reduce the signal transduction in the nerves, so to reduce the swelling and pain. However, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it will also cause the invasion of Cold Qi (Qi here means something that may cause disease if it comes into the body).

In TCM, the Cold Qi is one of the most common reasons for pain in muscle, joints and inside organs. It blocks the energy flow to the tissue. Pain is the result of the block of bio-energy in the tissues. If you never have concept of such Qi in the body, please check our website for more information.

It can also be understand that the ice patch reduces blood supply to the damaged tissue, so reduces the nutrition and oxygen supply to the cells, therefore to speed up the death of cells, resulting in a prolonged healing process and turning the acute damage to chronic. 

When the car accident has happened for a long time

In TCM, we should know if the patient has any other disease along with the chronic pain due to car accident. If it is, we need to decide if we should pay attention to that disease first. If yes, the treatment of a car accident is only a part of the whole treatment program. For example, if a patient has Qi deficiency and/or blood deficiency, only work on the damaged part of body with acupuncture does not work well or the healing progress will be slow, or the pain is easy to come back later, if the doctor does not or have no ability to solve these deficient conditions. Similarly, if the patient has very strong emotional stress, such as anxiety or depression, or if the one is very sensitive, the healing has to target to the correction of the emotion disorder too.

How we treat a car accident

In our clinic, we use several remedies of TCM for the treatment. They are acupuncture, herbal oil, herbal tea, massage, cupping, moxibustion, etc. depending on the area of the pain and the body reaction of patients to each of the remedies.

(1). Acupuncture

Acupuncture is popularly used in a car accident, especially in North America since other therapies, such as herbal therapy, is not available in most clinic.

Acupuncture works to release pain, reduce swelling, soften scar tissue, and reduce bruise. It should be performed at least twice a week during the first several weeks. Some practitioner uses electric acupuncture, but most of us use primary acupuncture. We do not feel that the electric acupuncture works better than the primary acupuncture technique. The most important in the treatment is to let patient feel needle feeling (not the pain) in the acupuncture spot. To reach the healing effect, it is needed that the practitioner inserts each needle with high focus on what he is doing. In theory, the subtle hand feeling of the practitioner on the tip of needle is very important.

Sometimes you may also heard laser acupuncture. We tried it and feel that it is only a choice for those who cannot tolerate the needle acupuncture. Instead, we may recommend you to have an “acupuncture machine” with which you only need to put stimulating probes on specific acupuncture points for the treatment. Your acupuncture practitioner should be able to tell you these acupuncture spots. If you cannot find such machine, you may try Tens Machine.

(2). Herbal therapy

Herbal therapy is the main part of TCM. We also use it quite often. With the combination of acupuncture and herbs the healing is much faster.

The herbs work to improve blood circulation in the affected area, improve recovery of cells (including nerve cells), so to speed up the healing. In Chinese, we say that it improves bio-energy flow in that area, and removes “block” on the path of the bio-energy flow. The block can be dead blood, that we call it “stagnation of blood”, Cold, Phlegm (the phlegm you cough out is only a narrow concept in TCM), Wetness, or Dryness. Based on your feeling and others, each kind of “block” needs different herb or herb formula to work on it.

A special issue in the TCM treatment of car accident is that the affected people usually have stress or anxiety. Such emotion makes the connective tissue, including tendons, spasm so to increase the pain and make the pain in chronic. A herbalist must also work to solve the disorders in the emotion to ensure the recovery of whole body function.

Typically you have to bring the herbs home and cook by yourself before you can drink the tea. In our clinic, the herbs are already-cooked. You only need to mix it with water to dissolve it before drinking.



Herb oil or herb patch

Commonly we also use herbal oil or herbal patch on the affected skin or joint area. They work from outside and herbal tea works from inside. They work to release pain and reduce swelling. The weakness of the patch is that it may cause skin reaction (skin rash and itch) in some people. If you have it, simply stop to use it. The skin reaction is normally not a big problem.   


Cupping is another common way in TCM for treatment. In old times, Chinese family uses it for treatment by themselves without need to go to a doctor. It is still used these days since it is good to relax muscle, improve blood circulation, so to release pain.

The weakness of the cupping therapy is the dark mark on the skin after cupping. But it is only on the skin for a short time, it never is a permanent problem. If you have dark mark, it means that you have trouble in your body. If you are healthy, there is no mark at all after cupping. So, come to check the skin mark to see how healthy you are!

We recommend that you keep a cupping set in your hands so you can have treatment at home by yourself without come to us. It is easy to learn how to use it. We can help you.

How effective

In our experience, the healing of a car accident is, sometimes, not as good as of an arthritis. It really needs several times of treatments to reduce swelling and pain, then needs a maintenance program to really “fix” it. So often, we found that the pain returns because the patients stop the treatment when their pain have gone and they turned to normal physical action too early. A maintenance program is needed usually.


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