Stages Of Injuries and Pain (Part 1)

Throughout our lifetime, we all have experienced some form of physical injury.  

They come in different forms: cuts, bruises, sprains, strains, tears, and fractures.  

Minor cases will resolve on their own after a couple of days, while severe conditions might require surgical intervention. (Please read the legal disclaimers below) 

Today, I want to give you an introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine’s view of injury and pain.  

Injury and pain are not the same thing. Pain is being perceived by our brain. However, we might not sense any pain while we are injured.  

For example, athletes sometimes play through a game while they are injured, and then they find out and feel the pain at the injury site much worse than before. It also happens to soldiers, fighters, or ultra-marathon runners, who all have higher pain tolerance than most people. David Goggins finished his first marathon even with fractured legs.  

Injuries come in three stages: acute (less than 7 days), post-acute (7-20 days), and chronic stage (more than 21 days).  

The sooner you treat an acute injury properly, the easier it is for recovery, and prevent it from progressing into the chronic stage.  

The most common signs of acute injuries are redness, swelling under the skin, pain and warm to the touch.  

These are classic signs of inflammation, which is a natural body response to fight infection or to protect the injured site. 

Inflammation has been demonized in recent years, mostly because of the confusion between acute and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation is an important signal for the organism to know that an injury has occurred and for the body to heal.  

In contrast, chronic low-level inflammation can be problematic. For example, when damaged tissue is not restoring to a healthy issue properly during the acute stage, low-level inflammation can be sustained for a long period. Continued inflammation can cause calcium to be deposited in the muscles, tendons, and joints, which we see as scar tissue. The body creates more inflammation as a result and perpetuates the cycle.  

What to do? Take care of acute injuries properly as soon as possible.   

One of the basic Chinese Medicine principles to treat an acute injury is to reduce inflammation (if excessive), remove blockages (such as stagnant purple and dark blood), and restore the normal flow of blood and circulation near the injury site (or one joint higher).  

痛則不通,通則不痛- 李中梓

“When there is a blockage, there is pain; when there is no blockages (there is free flow), there is no pain.” -Li Zhong Zi, Ming Dynasty

“Blockage” can be physical blockages like fluid accumulations, stagnant blood, debris, and scar tissue.  

“Blockage” can also be psycho-emotional, such as unresolved emotions and traumas.  

When we guide and help our bodies to process and release traumas (both physical and emotional), pain can be resolved. 

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This is NOT medical advice, nor can I give you medical advice. I AM NOT YOUR DOCTOR. This does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Anthony Wong and you.  
Everything here is for general informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing medical advice. Information in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and it should not be used to self-diagnose nor should it substitute for a medical exam, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or other recommendations by a professional medical doctor. You should not make any changes in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Users should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice from health care professionals for any medical condition.