Acupuncture for Shoveling

By Marcie Bower, Lic.Ac, MAOM, Dipl. OM /

Acupuncture for Shoveling

When the snow stops, the sun comes out, and people have begin the long and arduous process of shoveling out their cars, sidewalks, and front steps, you might start feeling the usual aches and pains from the muscular exertion. The good news is that acupuncture can help.  Here's how.

Acupuncture Treats Low Back Pain

The most common shoveling-related injury is muscle strain or sprain to the lower back. This strain can be caused by improper posture while shoveling, by quickly rotating the trunk while holding a shovel full of snow, or by picking up too much weight too quickly. Numerous studies have shown the benefit of acupuncture for treating low back pain. In an acute state like this, too, you likely will respond very quickly to the needles while they increase blood flow to the sore area, reduce muscle tension, and lessen pain.

Acupuncture Reduces Tension in the Neck and Shoulders

Another common result of too much snow shoveling is tension, or “knots,” in the muscles of the neck, upper back, and shoulders. Acupuncture can increase blood and energy flow through these areas to reduce tension and pain. Acupuncturists can also needle trigger points and motor points on the muscles to let the knots release. In cases like this, adjunctive techniques like cupping and gua sha are also very effective, helping the muscle fibers to unwind and relax. Therapeutic massage is also a great way to get the knots out.

Acupuncture Treats Forearm Pain

Right now, the forearms are where I am feeling all the shoveling that I did today the most. I plan to do some self-acupuncture care in just a little while! Acupuncture has been shown to be an effective treatment for many types of forearm pain, including tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, and carpal tunnel. All of these pains respond well to acupuncture increasing movement of energy through the muscle fibers, reducing adhesions, and creating more space for nerves and blood flow. From an acupuncture perspective, treating sore forearm muscles is similarbut easierthan treating any of these other more chronic forms of forearm pain.

Acupuncture and Herbs Can Help Reduce the Length of Bruising.

Lastly, hopefully you did not slip and fall while you were shoveling. But if you did, you can also use acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to reduce the severity of the bruise. First thing, apply arnica gel to the area as soon as possible – this reduces swelling and bruising substantially. But then get in to your acupuncturist to treat the symptoms at a deeper level, and have you back to your normal self in no time!

Marcie Bower, LIC.AC, MAOM, DIPL. OM received her Masters in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the New England School of Acupuncture, and is a winner of the Tsay Fellowship Award for Excellence in the Art and Science of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Marcie has a passion for and extensive experience in alternative medicine research. Her ultimate goal is to better integrate Chinese Medicine into the dominant medical system, thereby making it more available to more patients who will benefit from its use. Outside of the office, Marcie enjoys spending time with her husband Karl and their two young children, as well as running, doing yoga, reading, and networking with other entrepreneurs. You can learn more about Marcie at steppingstoneacu.com.

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