Acupuncture for post op ACL reconstruction is a key therapeutic method to reduce pain and accelerate time and quality of the healing process. This case study exemplifies the use of acupuncture for post op ACL reconstruction.

Case Study – Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine for Post Op ACL Reconstruction

A 47 year old female wished to have Patrick Lynch of Sky Ridge Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine provide regular acupuncture care as a means to reduce pain, inflammation and accelerate the healing process after ACL reconstructive surgery.

The patient also inquired about an herbal formula to assist with pain reduction, inflammation reduction and assisting with mending the tissues of the new ACL to the bones.

Week 1

Day 2 after surgery – Patient had extreme pain below the medial eye of the knee. Dr. Tan method of acupuncture was performed with 1 needle for 90 seconds. The needle was inserted at a tender point on the posterior aspect of the elbow on the opposite side of the body as the affected knee. The needle was stimulated for 90 seconds. The patient reported an 80% reduction of pain for the rest of the day, overnight and in to the next day.

Day 5 after surgery – Patient as been icing the knee with an ice machine for most of the day every day since the surgery. The knee was still bandaged and wrapped during the treatment. No needles were used locally on or around the affected knee. The patient reported knee swelling comes and goes, but overall has decreased since the operation. The knee pain was present, but more manageable. There was extreme tightness on the TFL of the affected knee. The patient had not taken any pain medications since day 2 and had not planned to take any more. Xi cleft points of the bladder channel, gallbladder channel, spleen channel, liver channel, and Kidney channel were needled along with GB34 on the leg of the affected knee. Pain and inflammation reduced by the end of the treatment. The tightness of the TFL had deceased by the end of the treatment. The patient felt as if her whole leg and knee was more relaxed after the treatment.

Week 2 – Week 6: Two Treatments per week

All xi cleft points were needled on the leg of the operated knee along with GB34 and GB35 to tonify the essence of ligaments, tendon and bone. Each time the patient reported having less swelling and pain with increased flexion and extension.

As soon as the wrap and bandages came off, ST34 was needled and made a difference in pain reduction, flexion and extension.

Week 3, luo points were included.

As soon as the incisions of the knee eyes healed, they were needled. More progress regarding feeling freedom of knee tension was made immediately post treatment.

Physical Therapist reported the patient had more flexion during week 2.

Post op follow up with surgeon: Surgeon reported the patient’s knee is less inflamed than normal and flexion is farther along in the healing process than normal.

Progression Phases

Week 1 – Pain and inflammation reduction – no pain meds after day 2. Leg lifts on affected leg with assistance.

Week 2 – Pain and inflammation reduction. Able to walk up and down stairs with crutches. Increased flexion and extension. Leg lifts on affected leg without assistance. Allowing flexion in the brace.

Week 3 – Pain and inflammation reduction. TFL tightness reduction. Able to walk without brace, walk up and downstairs without brace. Walk around block without crutches, wearing brace. Increased PT.

Week 4 – Pain and inflammation reduction. TFL tightness reduction. Walking and getting around without brace normally. Shopping with brace. Walking around the block with brace.

Week 5– TFL tightness reduction. Walking and getting around without brace normally. Shopping with brace. Walking around the block without brace. Increased PT with squats. Increased strength, flexion and extension.

Chinese Medicine Herbal Formula

Herbal formula -Jin gui shen qi tang, modified.

Herbs used:

  • Yan hu so – Chief herb for pain reduction. Accelerate healing.
  • Ru xiang – Reduce pain and inflammation, mend tissues.
  • Shu di huang – Tonifes blood, tissue regeneration. Mending of bone/tendon/ligament.
  • Shan zhu yu – Tonifes blood, tissue regeneration. Mending of bone/tendon/ligament.
  • Shan yao – Tonifes blood, tissue regeneration. Mending of bone/tendon/ligament.
  • Zhi fu zi – Pain reduction, increase speed of recovery.
  • Gui zhi – Pain reduction, increase speed of recovery.
  • Rou gui – Systemic recovery, pain reduction, increase speed of recovery.
  • Ze xie – Systemic recovery, pain reduction, increase speed of recovery.
  • Fu ling – Helps moderate rich properties of the tonification herbs.
  • Mu dan pi – Helps moderate the properties of the rich tonification herbs. Also pain reduction herb.
  • Niu xi – Pain reduction. Guiding herb to move Qi and blood into the lower extremities fo the body.
  • Xu duan – Tonify blood. Chief herb for mending and tissue repair.
  • Chuan xiong – Pain reduction. Dilates blood vessels and promotes healing.

Patrick Lynch MAOM, DAOM, intern

© Sky Ridge Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

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Sky Ridge Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

© Sky Ridge Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine