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Strain and Sprains

Sprains and strain treatment potential for acupuncture and herbal medicine in traditional chinese medicine

Strains and Sprains and their explanation in both estern and western views

(Organ names in Chinese medicine differ from Western medicine's understanding).

Strains and sprains are common musculoskeletal injuries that can happen to anyone, whether you're an athlete or not. In Western medicine, a strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon, while a sprain is an injury to a ligament. The symptoms of both can be similar, including pain, swelling, and limited movement. Treatment may involve rest, ice, compression, and elevation, as well as physical therapy and, in severe cases, surgery. Pain medication may also be prescribed, but it is important to consult a Western doctor before taking any medication.


In Chinese medicine, strains and sprains fall under the category of "bi zheng" or "blockage syndrome." According to Chinese medicine, an injury creates a blockage of qi and blood flow in the affected area, leading to pain and inflammation. The injury also disrupts the balance of the meridians, which are pathways that carry qi throughout the body. Qi is believed to be the vital energy that flows through these pathways and maintains health and wellness.


To manage the symptoms of strains and sprains in Chinese medicine, practitioners may use various approaches. Acupuncture is a common treatment option, which involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points along the meridians. This stimulates the flow of qi and helps to reduce pain and inflammation. Herbal medicine may also be prescribed to promote healing and reduce swelling. Additionally, dietary therapy may be recommended to support the body's natural healing processes.


In Chinese medicine, the treatment approach may vary depending on the location of the injury. For example, a strain in the TCM-leg muscle may be treated differently than a strain in the TCM-arm muscle. Tui na, a form of therapeutic massage and Cupping techniques, may also be used to help promote the flow of qi and blood in the affected area.


In both Western and Chinese medicine, rest and manual therapy may be recommended for strains and sprains. Chinese Medicine uses Tui Na (deep Chinese Massage techniques with relating pressure points) However, the approach to management may differ, with Chinese medicine focusing on promoting the flow of qi and blood to support the body's natural healing processes, which may utilize the use of cupping and acupuncture. A complementary approach using both Eastern and Western medicine may be beneficial for managing the symptoms..


In conclusion, strains and sprains are common musculoskeletal injuries that can cause pain and limit movement. Western medicine focuses on the injury to the muscle, tendon, or ligament, while Chinese medicine views the injury as a blockage of qi and blood flow. Treatment may involve rest, manual therapy, and medication in Western medicine, while acupuncture, herbal medicine may  also be used in conjunction in the attempt to move blood and qi to assist tissue recovery in conjunction.   A complementary approach using both Eastern and Western medicine may prove beneficial for managing the symptoms of strains and sprains. Often a combination of both these disciplines may prove more beneficial than using one approach alone.




  1. Maciocia, G. (2015). The practice of Chinese medicine: The treatment of diseases with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Elsevier Health Sciences.

  2. Liu, J., Zhang, R., Du, Y., Zhu, H., Jin, R., & Wu, X. (2014). Clinical observation on acupuncture combined with Tuina for ankle sprain. Journal of traditional Chinese medicine, 34(3), 344-349.

  3. Thomas, K. (2016). Sports medicine and sports science in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Elsevier Health Sciences.

  4. Yu, J., Chen, L., Zhang, X., Wang, Y., Liu, J., Guo, X., & Wei, X. (2017). Acupuncture for the treatment of ankle sprain: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 32, 123-130.

  5. Yang, Y., & Zhang, Y. (2021). Acupuncture for the treatment of lateral ankle sprain: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, 14(2), 83-89.

  6. Li, S., Liang, Y., Zhang, D., Li, Y., Liu, Z., & Li, J. (2018). Efficacy of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of acute ankle sprains: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 38(1), 56-63.

The primary objective of Chinese Medicine is to treat the whole person rather than a specific disease or its given name.  It is an adjunct to Western medicine, with a distinct focus on identifying the underlying cause within Chinese medical  theory and using it's principles in a safe and modern clinical setting.

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