Pain is a common driving force to motivate a patient to seek treatment. Establishing the character of the pain is essential to correctly managing and resolving pain. Pain can be described in many ways including dull, throbbing, burning and stabbing. Each of these descriptions of your pain gives us an indication of how best to diagnose and treat your condition.
Stabbing or boring pain which is often fixed in a specific location (you can point to it) is diagnosed in Traditional Chinese Medicine as Blood Stasis. It usually involves strong pain and patients will rank their pain highly on a pain intensity scale. The pain may be made worse through particular movements or staying still too long, when subjected to cold temperatures or when emotionally tense. The pain is caused when the blood is unable to circulate freely and stagnates, causing further obstruction.
Blood stasis can occur through out the body. Obviously, some musculoskeletal pain could be classified as blood stasis. Often a trauma or injury will be a causative factor of blood stasis such as a torn muscle, fractured bone, acute bulging disc or sprained ankle. Bruising is a visual sign of blood stasis. Sharp, stabbing headaches may be considered blood stasis. Blood stasis is also commonly found in the uterus. Here the signs are intense period pain, passing of menstrual blood clots and dark coloured or brown menstrual blood. Endometriosis could be considered a blood stasis condition. Blood stasis can be present in more serious disorders including within the gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, lungs and as a factor in tumours. Additionally, blood stasis signs may also include a purplish hue to the tongue and lips.
As blood stasis can manifest in a wide range of conditions the treatment will vary depending on the specific problem. More serious blood stasis conditions may require medical intervention. Acupuncture has specific points that can be used in blood stasis conditions. Herbs such as cinnamon, turmeric, dong quai, dan shen and calendula may be used to promote the movement of blood. Heat may also be used to promote the movement of blood and subsequent reduction in pain.
Your practitioner will assess your individual symptoms and constitution to diagnose and provide the appropriate treatment for your pain.