Ankle Pain Treatment – The Best Sequence 5/5 (38)

Here are some questions that I get from practitioners on a regular basis:

    1. Is there a best sequence for treating pain?
    2. Do you graph EVERY patient?
    3. Do you graph patients who are just coming in for back pain?
    4. What if they just have shoulder pain, do you graph them?
    5. How about a sprained ankle? Do you need to graph them?

The answer is–YES, YES, YES, YES and YES!

Let me share an analogy that resonates with me. As you all know, I’m a mom with lots of kids. Cleaning day at my house can be a bit overwhelming.

Have you ever tried to clean a house that is a complete disaster? Imagine that every room in disarray, and you showing up with your cleaning bucket, your rubber gloves and a sponge. You are ready to clean but you can’t even get close to the dirt because everything is disorganized.

Before you can even think about cleaning, you have to spend time organizing and putting everything in its place. Once everything is put away, you can finally dig in and scrub the counters, mop the floor, dust and vacuum.

Can you imagine a house that was supposedly “cleaned” but the dirty dishes are still on the counter, toys are all over the floor, beds are left unmade, trashcans are overflowing, and dirty laundry is all over the floor??? If you tried to ignore the disorganization and jumped right into cleaning, you really wouldn’t get very far.

In the end, you may have a few countertops that were wiped off, but your home would still be cluttered and dysfunctional. The real goal of “cleaning house” is to put everything in its place AND have the house sparkling clean!

It’s taken me years to train my kids that we can’t clean until everything is put away and organized. We have a two-step system we follow on cleaning day. First, we put everything in its proper place and THEN we clean.

So, what does my housecleaning analogy have to do with acupuncture and AcuGraph?

Ankle sprain2Acugraph helps to create a “system of organization” for treatment before you jump right in to “clean up” the patient’s chief complaint. You will be most effective with your acupuncture treatment if you follow this important two-step program:

  • #1: Graph your patient first. AcuGraph creates a visual picture of where energetic “disorder” is happening in the body. It’s important to treat the meridian imbalances BEFORE you address the chief complaint. Once the energy is flowing smoothly in the body, it will be easy to address the chief complaint.
  • #2: Treat the chief complaint. Even if your patient is coming in with problems such as low back pain, shoulder pain, headache, digestive issues or a sprained ankle–you will get better results if you have addressed the meridian imbalances first. This is especially true if the patient is presenting with a qi and blood stagnation issue. If you don’t organize the meridian systems first, where do you expect the energy to go? Open pathways are very important!

If the meridians are in disarray or “unorganized”, then your treatment will only last for a short time–kind of like cleaning a house that is still messy!

Case Study:

Recently, I had a patient who came in with a sprained ankle. This is what his graph looked like:

Can you tell which ankle he sprained and which meridians were affected? Take a look at the foot meridians. AcuGraph was very accurate in showing that his RIGHT ankle was injured. Notice how the Spleen and Liver channels are higher on the right than the left?

Now, let’s take a look at the Energy Cycle graph.

This graph represents how the energy is supposed to flow through the body from channel to channel–beginning with the Lung and ending with the Liver. The patient’s chief complaint has to do with the splits in the Spleen and Liver channels.

  • If we simply treated the Spleen to move qi and blood stagnation along the channel, what would happen when we reached the Small Intestine? There is an obvious blockage.
  • Even if we could break past the Small Intestine, the Pericardium shows up as excess to block the normal flow as well.

If I chose to simply treat his chief complaint, without addressing the imbalances in the organ system, then I would get minimal results.

So, how did I treat this patient? As always, there were two steps involved.

#1: First, I balanced the graph.

#2: Then, I treated the local area of pain to move qi and blood with acupuncture, liniments and electrical stimulation.

I saw the patient the next day and he was amazed at how much better he was feeling.

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I have found that if I spend a little time organizing the meridian systems first, by treating the tonification and sedation points to balance the graph–my treatment typically lasts twice as long–regardless of the patient’s chief complaint.

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Remember, great practitioners use the best tools!

My favorites are listed below. Click there or on the link to the right to learn more about each one.

1. AcuGraph

AcuGraph Video demo

.2. Auriculo 360

.Auriculo logo

3. StimPlus Pro

Stimplus Pro1.

If you’re uncertain where to start…give us a call. We always take time to answer your questions!

You’ll love how much these tools help in your practice!

Have a great week!


Kimberly Thompson, L.Ac.

Acupuncture Research Analyst

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Dr. Kimberly Thompson, DACM, L.Ac.

Dr. Kimberly Thompson, DACM, L.Ac. is a US licensed acupuncturist in the state of Idaho and certified in the treatment of acupuncture, Oriental medicine and Chinese herbology by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Kimberly wears multiple hats in the acupuncture community. She owns her private clinic, Meridian Family Acupuncture. She has spent the last 10 years working for Miridia Technology as an acupuncture Research Analyst–where she helps plan, develop, and integrate modern diagnostic and treatment tools for the ever-evolving scientific world of acupuncture. Kimberly is a world-renown teacher, blogger, columnist, and mentor in the acupuncture community.

6 Replies to “Ankle Pain Treatment – The Best Sequence

  1. This was a great message! I ask myself this question often. Thanks for your answer. I always look forward to these post, the really help me understand how to use this tool!.

  2. I totally agree Kimberly…I graph everyone no matter what they come in for! I always balance the graph first as well, but at times have been squeezed for time. Do you ever treat the imbalance and the issue (ex: ankle) at the same time or do you always treat one then the other? When squeezed for time, I have found I follow the same idea as when treating the Extraordinary Vessels in Menopause…leave 5 min and then add the rest. It seems to work. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks for your input…I always look forward to your posts…always interesting and helpful!!

    1. Hello Jackie,

      Often I will treat the imbalances on the graph with a quick tack, and then move on to the rest of the treatment. Once the tacks (or needles) are in, I immediately begin any other form of treatment that I have planned for that day. In my experience, you don’t have to create two separate treatment times. One is sufficient. I hope that this helps create a little more time in your day.

      I really love the versatility of tacks…

      Best regards~


  3. de acuerdo al gráfico, los meridianos sobre la linea basal de color rojo están en exceso, se trata con puntos en dispersión o con puntos Xi. Y cuando los meridianos están bajo la linea basal de color azul, en deficiencia, se tratan con punto de origen o puntos de tonificación.
    Mi pregunta es: ¿ para los meridianos que se encuentran entre la linea basal de color azul y roja, que puntos y técnica se debe utilizar ?

    1. Question translated via Google translate:

      according to the graph, the meridians over baseline red color in excess, is treated with points or points Xi dispersion. And when the meridians are under the blue baseline in deficiency, treated with origin point or points of toning.
      My question is for the meridians found between baseline blue and red, which points and technique should be used?

      Answer via Google Translate:

      ¿Estás hablando de los puntos que son verdes, y dentro del rango normal? Usted no los trataría en absoluto. Sólo es necesario tratar los desequilibrios excesivos -, deficiencias y fraccionamientos. Si hay una división, que trataría con el punto Luo.

      Are you talking about the points That are green, and Within normal range? You would not treat them at all. You only need to treat the imbalances – excess, deficiencies and splits. If there is a split, you would treat with the Luo point.


  4. Thanks for a great article…..just makes me want to purchase even more. Hopefully, after the new year.

    I hope you have a great holiday!

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