Sports Injuries–When to Join the Team of Injured Athletes who use Acupuncture

When? Whenever your doctor has failed to help your nagging injury. Or whenever you want to heal faster from a sprain or strain so you can get back to training and playing.

I have treated a lot of sports injuries, mostly among cross-fitters, marathoners, tennis players, golfers, weightlifters and baseball players. I have also intensively studied acupuncture techniques for treating sports injuries. Sports medicine acupuncture is evolving into a field of specialization in my profession. I had the advantage of studying with one of the pioneers in the field, Whitfield Reeves, when I was a student more than 36 years ago, and ever since then I’ve had a strong interest in the subject. In 2019, a groundbreaking book of encyclopedic length was published by another pioneer in the field, Matt Callison. I have had the opportunity to study it intensely and am grateful to him for all the research and clinical expertise the book contains…

I love treating athletes because they are all motivated. Motivated to train, to compete, to heal quickly when injured, and to achieve optimal health. Down time is an unwanted option, one to be minimized, and they have discovered acupuncture helps them to heal faster.

Very generally speaking, there are 2 types of athletic injuries—acute and chronic.

Acute cases generally involve a sudden trauma to a joint or muscle. In addition to rest, ice, compression and elevation, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine suppress inflammation and swelling, speeding up the healing process. With injuries that do not require surgery, that is.

Chronic cases are what I see most often. Athletes frequently turn to alternative treatments for nagging, persistent problems.

A chronic injury develops from repetitive trauma. Or from an acute injury that did not heal completely. Acupuncture reduces pain, promotes circulation in joints, and stimulates the body’s healing capabilities. It does this by increasing the flow of vital energy to the area, called “chi” in Chinese. When the energy is flowing correctly, the body heals itself. This way of thinking derives from traditional oriental medicine.

For chronic cases, acupuncture trigger-point therapy is invaluable. I am pleased to say this is one of my areas of expertise. Trigger point therapy releases constrictions in muscle tissue by deactivating trigger points. This eliminates pain and allows muscles to lengthen and normalize, improving athletic performance. This type of therapy comes from modern orthopedic medicine. I like to combine the traditional and the modern in each treatment, as I feel this dual approach improves results.

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