Sports Medicine

Condition of the Month: Sciatica

What is sciatica?


 Sciatica is an umbrella term often used to describe pain along the lower back, in the buttocks or into the leg which occurs in up to 40% of the population. The type of pain can be variable; including sharp, dull, aching, throbbing, tingling, numbness or burning pain. The sciatic nerve originates from the lower lumbar and upper sacral spinal nerve roots, which combine to become the largest nerve, by diameter, in the body. It is common for this large nerve to become compressed or irritated, especially as it exits the spinal column or as it runs through the gluteal musculature.

 What are some common causes of Sciatica?

·      Joint restrictions in the spine

·      Tight, weak and/or irritated low back and gluteal musculature

·      Repetitive or overuse injuries to the lower back or hips

·      New or old traumatic injuries

·      Piriformis syndrome

·      Pregnancy

·      Degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis or disc herniations


What are the best treatments?

 The following techniques are often used to help address sciatic pain, as they help restore motion to the spine, reduce inflammation and increase strength:

·      Chiropractic manipulation

·      Soft tissue manual therapy

·      Acupuncture

·      Therapeutic exercises and stretches

·      Nutrition


The combination of conservative techniques can be very successful in reducing sciatica symptoms and preventing future injuries from reoccurring.

If you or someone you know is suffering from sciatica, we can help! 

Call Inner Gate Acupuncture today at 971-279-2294 or 503-284-6996 to get scheduled.

Can Acupuncture Heal Damaged Ligaments?

Woman lifting dumbbell.

Ligaments are strong connective tissue bands that connect bone to bones. They are similar to tendons which connect muscles to bones. Ligaments are found between most bones of the body and function to limit movement between bones. Ligament damage often occurs during injuries. Once damaged they cause destabilization of joints and are often slow to heal.

What is a Torn Ligament?

Torn ligaments occur when joints are stressed beyond their normal range of motion. This happens when we twist quickly or change direction abruptly.

A ligament stretched beyond its capacity will begin to tear. The degree of tearing can be minimal to completely torn depending on the force. Ligament injuries are graded based on their severity.

The 3 Grades of Ligament Injury are:

  • Grade I - mild ligament tear

Grade I sprains often heal within a few weeks. The strength of the ligament will recover fully after six to eight weeks. It is important to rest to avoid reinjury while healing.

Treatment with acupuncture helps improve circulation to the ligament supplying important nutrients for recovery and providing natural pain relief.

  • Grade II - moderate ligament tear

Grade II sprains are more significant. There may be more swelling and bruising with these injuries. These injuries rest and stabilization of the joint.

After a grade II injury return to activity is more carefully monitored and requires recovery of coordination and joint stability. This can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks depending on the injury.

Acupuncture treatment improves circulation to the ligament aiding healing. Acupuncture also improves proprioception to the muscles involved in stabilizing and moving the affected joint. This is an important part of complete recovery.

  • Grade III - complete ligament tear

Grade III sprain is a significant injury. This is a complete tearing of the ligament and will often require surgical intervention for a complete recovery

Acupuncture helps improve recovery time by increasing circulation to the joint, stimulating the muscles involved and by relieving pain and reducing the dependence of pain medications which have been shown to slow recovery.

Call Today!

Ankeny Clinic 503-284-6996

Halsey Clinic 971-279-2294

Bob Perna LMT joins Inner Gate Acupuncture

Bob Perna LMT

Bob Perna LMT

A lifelong athlete, and a coach for the past decade, Bob has a passion for fitness, movement, and educating his clients. He has a certification in personal training and uses this to provide holistic treatment plans for clients seeking to improve mobility and create sustainable movement

Bob’s primary focus is therapeutic massage. He combines deep tissue, myofascial and sports massage techniques to help alleviate pain and restore joint mobility. His style is methodical and intentional; he loves to help clients discover the roots of their pain and movement dysfunctions, and provide them with comprehensive self-care plans to create lasting benefits.

Outside of massage and personal training, Bob has a deep passion for the sport of lacrosse, having played and coached players of all ages for the past ten years. He is a US Lacrosse certified coach and coaches’ trainer, and teaches clinics locally and nationally. When not in the massage studio or on the lacrosse field, he enjoys reading books on the body and spirituality while cuddled up with his pug, Dutch.

Massage therapy is a hands-on therapy that promotes health and well-being through the use of pressure and movement on the body and muscles.

He is available on Tuesdays and Fridays at our NE Halsey clinic.

Call Today to schedule

NE Halsey Clinic 971-279-2294

Exercise, but why?

I think we all know that we should exercise, but why?

Exercise offers us a number of health benefits from stress reduction to prevention of chronic illness.


Benefits of Exercise:

  • Helps to manage and decrease weight

  • Lower blood pressure and insulin levels

  • Prevent low bone density and bone fractures

  • Supports a healthy heart and cardiovascular system

  • Heightens mood and energy levels

  • Improves sleep and can even increase libido

There is no absolute exercise prescription that works for everyone, the basic guideline is to find a number of exercises that you enjoy, some of the benefits of stress management may not apply if you are dreading the workout. 

To get more specific, a combination of cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise and strength training exercises will cover the basis of general health. The Mayo Clinic recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week. Along with 2 days of full body weight training per week. Always discuss any additions of exercise with your Naturopathic doctor prior to starting a new exercise regimen. 

Great Cardio Exercises:

  • Speed walking or walking hills

  • Rowing

  • Biking

  • Dancing

  • Jump roping

  • Trampoline Jumping

  • HIIT training: high intensity interval training

Strength Training:

  • Lifting weights

  • Yoga

  • Barre 3

  • Resistance Bands

In order to see a change, you need to make a change.

If you are looking to make a change in your health, and you have been doing the same form of exercise over the past year, it’s time for a change. 

Our bodies have an impressive way of adapting and exercise is no different. So, sometimes we need to shake things up a little. To spark your metabolism, you may need to increase the number of minutes you exercise each day or alter the intensity. Variety is key! A certain type of workout called HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training creates the variability needed to invoke a change to the metabolic system. Don’t let the name scare you, the intensity can be altered to your fitness level and can increase as your fitness level grows. It’s good to work with a trainer to first implement this type of program.

Often the most difficult part of creating a new exercise regime is scheduling it in and holding yourself accountable. Consider letting Dr. Heather Krebsbach guide you along the path to creating an entire lifestyle plan to keep your body changing and feeling better. 

Massage Therapy at Inner Gate Acupuncture

Massage Therapy at Inner Gate Acupuncture


Doctor pressing the shoulder of his patient in a room

All massages at Inner Gate Acupuncture are given in a warm and private treatment room. Your therapist will discuss your health concerns and goals with you before your session. They will leave you to privately dress down to your comfort level. When you are ready, lie down on the massage table and cover yourself with the sheet. Your therapist will knock before re-entering.

Make sure to communicate with your therapist throughout the massage.   If you are cold, want deeper or lighter pressure or don’t want a certain area of your body touched let the therapist know. You can ask for changes or stop the session at any time.

Drink plenty of water on the day of your massage. This will reduce soreness and lightheadedness that can happen after a massage. Try to give yourself plenty of time for your treatment, so you can relax more deeply.  

At the end of the massage, the therapist will leave the room so you can dress in private. Take your time getting off the table and getting dressed. It’s a good idea to have a glass of water in the waiting room before you head off.  

What is Shoulder Impingement?

What is Shoulder Impingement?


This common injury occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff become overused and injured.  The subsequent pain and swelling reduces the shoulder mobility leading to impingement. The tendons of the rotator cuff slide between the clavicle and the humerous in the shoulder joint. When the tendons are inflamed or damaged this slide is no longer smooth and the friction causes pain and compression of the tendon leading to pain.  


While the rotator cuff muscles are involved in moving the arm, they are also essential to stabilizing the top of the humerous in the joint socket during activity. If these muscles become weak the humerous can drift out and put the tendons in a compromised position. Imbalance between the strength of the chest and the strength of the upper back can also lead to the shoulder being poorly aligned in the joint socket. This again leads to extra wear and tear on the tendon.  


At Inner Gate Acupuncture your acupuncturist will perform a full evaluation of your body and of the shoulder joint.  Properly identifying the main causes of the shoulder impingement, we determine the best course of treatment. Treatment focuses on calming the inflamed tissue, creating space for proper tendon glide and rebalancing the shoulder, back and chest muscles.  Acupuncture can relieve shortened muscle, active weak muscles and relieve inflammation locally. Manual therapy, cupping and tuina massage are often also used to deepen and improved the treatment.  


Shoulder Pain


The shoulder is one of the most mobile joints of the human body.  It’s superior range of motion makes it one of the most complex joints in the body. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most commonly injured joints in the body.  Symptoms of shoulder pain include achiness, dullness of heaviness in the shoulder, weakness of the arm and hand and limited range of motion.  



Shoulder pain can be caused by direct injury, or gradual irritation. Direct injury occurs often during falls when you try to break you fall with your arm, or falling from a bike onto the shoulder. Gradual irritation and repetitive strain are more common causes of shoulder pain. These occur often in athletes especially those who perform overhead sports like swimming and tennis.  But irritation and pain can occur simply from poor posture, and bad work stations. 




Being proactive and getting treatment soon after shoulder pain begins can speed recovery and lessen the likelihood of the condition worsening.  Our staff can rule out major issue and best guide you in how to care for your shoulder at home.  By preventing long term compensation patterns early treatment will keep the problem from affecting other connecting body parts like the neck and low back.  




Acupuncture can reach into the deep muscles of the rotator cuff opening up space for the free movement of tendons and muscles.  In fact, 66% of shoulder problem are estimated to be due to rotator cuff issues.  Using both acupuncture and dry needling techniques your acupuncturists her at Inner Gate Acupuncture can treat the muscles and fascia of the rotator cuff and the shoulder to effectively bring relief to damaged shoulders.  

Jumper's Knee

What is Jumper’s Knee


Jumper's knee is a condition medically know as patellar tendonitis.  It is an overuse injury that results in pain at the front of the knee just below the knee cap.  Repetitive strain from either running or jumping causes inflammation of the patella tendon. The patella tendon can also be damaged by heavy strain such as hiking in mountains or too many deep squats.  Jumper's knee if left untreated can become a persistent problem leading to degeneration of the tissue around the knee.  

What Causes Jumper's Knee or Patellar Tendinitis?

Patellar tendinopathy or tendonitis is typically caused by over use and strain.  This is a common injury for athletes while training for big runs.  It can often occur after strenuous hikes without proper stretching and conditioning.  Having overly tight quads also contributes to this condition.

How Can Acupuncture Help With Jumper's Knee? 

The most important first step is accurate diagnosis. Your acupuncturist will first assess the kneecap and muscles of the leg.  Proper orthopedic testing can rule out other possible causes of knee pain including; meniscus tear, ACL or MCL injury, patellar femoral syndrome, or IT band syndrome.  

Once the cause of the pain is isolated a treatment plan will be constructed to directly and uniquely address your knee pain.  The treatment's primary focus involves relaxation of the quadriceps muscles.  These muscles form from the bulk of the patellar tendon as it crosses over the knee cap.  Tension and shortness in this tissue will directly affect the tendon. 

Acupuncture and manual therapy techniques can also be applied directly to the tendon itself.  Increasing blood flow to the patellar tendon will result in quick and complete healing.  We also teach proper stretching of the quadriceps tendon and home strengthening exercises to address the imbalance in the leg and the hip.  

Make an Appointment Now!

If pain in the front of the knee is keeping you from the activities you love give us a call we can get you quickly on the road to recovery and back to the sports and activities you're missing! Appointments available in both NE and SE Portland