Why You Should Consider Acupuncture For Vastus Lateralis Pain


Together with the vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and rectus femoris, the vastus lateralis is one of the four muscles that make up the quadriceps. This muscle is located along the lateral side of the thigh and connects the upper thigh to the knee. The largest muscle in the quadriceps, the vastus lateralis adds stability to the knee and the hip to create fluid movement. If you’re an athlete, you’re at risk of developing a quad strain. But acupuncture for vastus lateralis pain can make a huge difference and is worth your consideration. 

Acupuncture eases knee pain and inflammation, and can improve your strength and flexibility by encouraging strained vastus lateralis muscles to relax. Regular acupuncture sessions encourage proper healing so you can feel better faster. 

What causes vastus lateralis pain?

Vastus lateralis pain can be caused by acute overextension. If you strain the muscle while running, hiking, skiing, or a similar activity, this can lead to stiffness and discomfort. Repetitive use is another contributing factor. 

Sometimes, vastus lateralis pain isn’t caused by a direct injury to that muscle. Instead, your vastus lateralis pain may be the result of a back injury which has led to pinched nerves. Maybe you have a bulging disc or sciatica, or maybe you just sat a little too long in the car on a road trip. All of these things can trigger vastus lateralis pain as well. 

Even though vastus lateralis injuries are more likely to happen to athletes and active individuals, you can still suffer from this type of pain if you live a sedentary life. All it takes is getting up from your desk the wrong way and, boom. You’ve got a sprained vastus lateralis that can cause pain for weeks or even months. 

Remember, the vastus lateralis is the largest muscle in the quad region. Because it’s so big, it can cause more widespread pain throughout the front of the thigh. The pain may feel sharp or achy, bruised, and dull. The leg may be swollen, and you’ll probably experience a reduced range of motion. 

Left unaddressed, vastus lateralis pain can contribute to widespread musculoskeletal dysfunction, including psoas pain, tensor fasciae latae pain, and knee pain

Why is acupuncture effective for treating vastus lateralis pain?

Acupuncture is incredibly helpful when it comes to treating knee pain, whether you’re dealing with arthritis, osteoarthritis, or a vastus lateralis strain. Acupuncture allows you to address pain and inflammation naturally by working with your body and allowing it to heal itself. 

Good circulation is essential for healing injured tissues. The body relies on oxygen and red blood cells to produce healthy new tissues. The uptick in blood flow to the damaged muscles also escorts pro-inflammatory byproducts away from the injury site, significantly reducing pain. 

At the same time, the needles themselves force tense muscles to relax. Creating microscopic tears in the muscle fibers stimulates strained, hyper-flexed muscles so they twitch and relax, releasing all of that uncomfortable tension. Acupuncture needles physically trigger your muscles to ease up, which dramatically improves your flexibility and comfort level. 

Finally, acupuncture has a wonderful effect on the mood. Chronic stress can make us tense up, and, likewise, having a tense muscle can make us feel stressed out. But acupuncture stimulates the release of “happy” neurotransmitters, including serotonin and endorphins. This uptick in neurochemical activity has the added benefit of increasing your pain threshold. 

All in all, acupuncture is a safe and highly effective all-natural treatment for vastus lateralis pain, and can support you as you embark on your path to recovery.

What should you expect during your first acupuncture session?

If you’ve never had acupuncture before and have no idea what to expect, it can be a little intimidating. Needles make some people nervous. But acupuncture needles are incredibly thin, about the width of a hair, so you barely even feel them being inserted. At most, you may feel a sense of pressure, followed by relief as your muscles relax. 

Since we’ll need to address the underlying cause of your vastus lateralis pain to help you recover, we may ask you to perform a series of “tests” to get to the root of the problem. These tests may include stretches or certain exercises, so be sure to wear comfortable clothing to your session

Once we determine the best trigger points, we’ll insert needles and ask you to relax and stay still for 20 to 40 minutes. At the end of your session, the needles will be removed, and you can get back to business. 

We may provide you with a few exercises to perform later on to enhance the effectiveness of your session. Alternatively, we may advise you to rest and take it easy for a few days. It all depends on your unique circumstances. 

What other treatment methods should you consider for vastus lateralis pain?

We usually recommend biweekly treatments for several months to address vastus lateralis pain, but this timeframe can vary depending on the severity of the condition as well as the underlying cause. 

You may also benefit from other alternative therapies. Electrostimulation is a great choice for individuals suffering from knee pain, as it promotes healthy muscle function. If your vastus lateralis pain has radiated, then cupping can also be therapeutic, as can soft tissue mobilization

Utilizing a variety of therapies in addition to acupuncture is especially helpful for individuals who have experienced widespread musculoskeletal dysfunction as a result of their vastus lateralis pain. 

We will work with you to determine which therapies will work best for you, and allow you to meet your wellness goals as you begin the road to recovery. Because every body is different, your treatment strategy may require adjustments as you progress to ensure your muscle function continues to improve. 

Book your appointment with use today

At Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture, we have years of experience treating patients for all sorts of musculoskeletal conditions. 

If you’d like to learn more about how acupuncture can help you overcome your vastus lateralis pain for good, get in touch with our clinic today. Our friendly staff will help you book an appointment and get started. 
From your first visit, we’ll listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have. We’re committed to providing each of our clients with customized treatment protocols that produce long-term results.

Ready to get started?