Living Well Acupuncture

Sports Injuries                                                                                                                           

The term “Sports Injury” includes a large area of medical concerns, usually related to musculoskeletal conditions. It covers all acute injuries and chronic ailments due to specific physical activities, such as physical training, martial arts, competitive sports, “weekend warriors”, outdoor activities and competitions. It is common for participants in these activities, to stress or damage muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints – the areas that are used the most.

The following are common conditions that fall under the umbrella of Sports Injuries:

  1. ankle sprain

  2. tendonitis

  3. shin splints

  4. low back strain

  5. tennis elbow

  6. pitcher’s shoulder

  7. golfer’s elbow

  8. knee pain

  9. trigger finger

Acupuncture & Sports Injury

With a very successful record, the use of acupuncture to treat acute & chronic injuries, either from intense or repetitive physical activity, began centuries ago. It was and still is one of the primary means of quick healing for the martial arts. To decrease healing times and resolve stubborn ailments, this tradition and its use has now expanded into other competitive and non-competitive athletics.

How Does Acupuncture Help?

Acupuncture is an effective treatment for Sports Injuries & increases recovery and healing time by:

  1. decreasing swelling & inflammation 

  2. lowering the body’s pain response

  3. improving local blood circulation to increase delivery of nutrients and removal of noxious elements

  4. relaxing muscles and relieving spasms

  5. decreasing bruising

  6. increasing range of motion

When to get Acupuncture for an injury?

To determine how treatment typically proceeds, Acupuncture divides sports injuries into two main categories: Acute injuries (happened recently) and Chronic injuries (unresolved for 3 months or more).

Acute Injuries

It is important that acute injuries be properly assessed before any type of treatment can begin. Most people are all too familiar with the feeling of a strain or sprain. If you are unsure, however, it is best to get examined and properly diagnosed (possibly with the help of an X-ray or MRI) by your MD to rule out a more serious injury. Acupuncture should then begin as soon after an injury as possible for the best results.

Acupuncture classifies an acute injury as an Excess condition, which is just what it sounds like: there is an excess physical response (too much pain) or an excess biochemical reaction (too much inflammation or swelling). Acupuncture treatments encourage the body to deal with and process this excess in a rapid fashion. An improvement is usually noticed within one or two treatments. If an injury is not very severe, 3-4 treatments will typically resolve the condition. More serious injuries require 4 treatments before an accurate prognosis and treatment plan can be given.

**It is helpful to remember the acronym RICE directly after an acute sports injury happens: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. This will help quicken recovery and provide short-term relief.

Chronic Injuries

Before any type of treatment begins with chronic injuries, they also need to be properly assessed. It is important to determine if there is an underlying structural cause for a lingering injury such as formation of scar tissue, a loss of cartilage, or degenerative damage of any kind. Once the underlying framework of the injury is understood, an acupuncture treatment plan can be developed to address both the main symptoms and their causes. Treatment may include acupuncture, herbal formulas, whole food supplements, stretches & exercises, diet modifications, and the use of liniments or balms.

Acupuncture classifies chronic sports injuries as Deficient conditions, and refers to a weakness or lack. Over time, unresolved sports injuries lead to areas losing strength, flexibility and stability. Treatment for chronic conditions focuses on invigorating and strengthening specific parts of the body. This is done at the same time as decreasing the pain that commonly accompanies most chronic sports injuries.

The length of treatment for chronic conditions is more difficult to generalize because prolonged activity/inactivity, medications, low morale & surgeries can complicate treatment. Still, a person should notice a positive change in his/her condition within 8 to 10 treatments. After which time, an accurate prognosis for complete resolution of the problem can be given. Although chronic injuries generally take longer to resolve, many respond quickly to acupuncture.

Sports Acupuncture