Using Acupuncture to Treat Residual Pain After an Injury

I get this question time and time again –

How does an acupuncture needle help get rid of my pain from an old injury?

When patients ask this question they are not looking for the Traditional Chinese Medicine explanation, they are looking for some scientific proof.  A recent article written by Helene M. Langevin provides research-based evidence on how connective tissue is related to post-injury pain and how acupuncture can be used to treat the pain.

Connective Tissue and Scar Tissue


Connective tissue and scar tissueConnective tissue supports and connects all the bones, muscles, organs, blood vessels and nerves in the human body. It’s what holds all the parts of our body in place.  Connective tissue creates a link between our head, arm and foot.

Scar tissue forms in the body after there has been trauma to a tissue. Various cells are recruited to deposit collagen and contract the tissue back together, but in doing so they form a dense matrix known as scar tissue.

Why is there pain after the injury has healed and scar tissue has formed?

If the previous injury becomes irritated and inflamed, the cells are signalled to deposit excess collagen.  This will subsequently increase the tension and contraction in the tissue,which limits range of motion leading to pain. One of the reasons that pain can be difficult to manage is that many people do not have a detectable malformation.

So how do we deal with the Scar Tissue?

Static stretchingAcupuncture can help relax the tension in the connective tissue. How does it do this? When an acupuncture needle is inserted into the skin and rotated, the connective tissue actually becomes attached to the needle causing it to stretch and change shape1. The tissue continues to remain stretched as long as the needle is in the skin and the changes occurring in the tissue are related to relaxation of the tissue.  The restructuring of these tissues is a slow process therefore it is important to be patient as it may take a few treatments to feel the results.

Learn how acupuncture can be used to treat your lingering pain.

Jessica Zerr is a Registered Acupuncturist at Qi Integrated Health

To learn more about Jessica visit Jessica Zerr Acupuncture


  1. H.M. Langevin et al., “Mechanical signaling through connective tissue: A mechanism for the therapeutic effect of acupuncture,” FASEB J, 15:2275-82, 200