Sports have increased in popularity throughout the years一from being a source of entertainment to a great form of exercise. Both professional and recreational athletes enjoy competing in the field or leisurely playing with friends and families. But with its increasing popularity also comes the prevalence of sports-related injuries.
According to studies, about 3.5 million sports enthusiasts and athletes get injured every year. In fact, one of the most common afflictions they endured was musculoskeletal injuries, like sprains and strains.
Typically, sports-related injuries come with debilitating chronic pain and inflammation. The usual first line of defense for this is pain medications and drugs that can have several side effects on one’s health.
But complementary and alternative therapy uses a conservative method effective in treating sports injuries without compromising your health一and that’s acupuncture.
Read on below to learn how acupuncture and other techniques can help treat your recurring injuries safely and holistically.
What Sports Injuries Does Acupuncture Treat?
Sports injuries refer to health conditions that occur to an individual participating in a sports competition, training sessions, and fitness activities. It can happen for several reasons, from lack of proper training to sudden accidents during a game.
Generally, there are two types of sports injuries: acute and chronic traumatic injuries. Here’s the difference between the two.
Acute Traumatic Injury
Acute injuries refer to a sudden injury caused by a single blow, force, or a traumatic impact. Some examples include getting a fracture after being tackled by an opponent or tripping while warming up.
Acute traumatic injuries are often severe and followed right away by serious symptoms, such as intense pain, instability, or difficulty moving the affected part of the body. However, such injuries are typically isolated and do not affect other parts or systems of the body. Some of the most common acute traumatic injuries in sports include:
Acute injuries tend to progress into chronic ones when not treated right away. Additionally, they can also turn severe when proper recovery techniques are not implemented, such as acupuncture sessions and physical therapy.
On the other hand, chronic injuries refer to conditions that develop over time. Generally, they happen due to overuse or repetitive stress and pressure put on the body part for a period of time. For example, developing an Achilles tendon injury caused by improper running technique or training over time. Some other examples of chronic conditions in sports include:
- Tennis elbow
- Stress fractures
- Shin splints
- Hamstring strain
- Heel inflammation
- Groin pull
Symptoms of chronic injuries also develop over time. However, it usually starts as a dull ache of pain when resting, which can become severe when not addressed.
How Does Acupuncture Treat These Conditions?
Sports acupuncture has been generally recognized worldwide for its holistic treatment regimes. Athletes and sports health teams turn to this traditional Chinese medicine in conjunction with other complementary techniques, such as herbal medicine and physical therapy.
Besides treating common sports conditions, acupuncture has also become a preventive technique used to avoid developing chronic injuries or exacerbating acute ones.
Here’s how acupuncture can effectively treat sports injuries and their symptoms, such as pain, swelling, muscle tenderness, decreasing range of motion, and problems with mobility.
Acupuncture to Relieve Pain
Acupuncture has primarily been used by the ancient Chinese to relieve different kinds of pain, such as muscle pain, arthritic pain, and dysmenorrhea. So it’s no wonder that musculoskeletal pain from sports injuries can also be effectively treated by acupuncture.
According to studies, this ability to induce pain control has been associated with two mechanisms:
- Acupuncture manages pain locally by stimulating the release of the endorphin hormones, which are natural body painkillers. As the needle is inserted in the body’s “acupoints,” it will stimulate the nerve endings and instruct the brain to release endorphins together with other mood hormones, such as serotonin.
- Systemically, acupuncture alleviates pain by modulating the pain pathways in the brain and central nervous system.
Acupuncture to Alleviate Inflammation
Besides pain sensations, acute and chronic injuries may also result in swelling or inflammation in the affected area. Swelling happens when the brain detects a dysfunction or ailment within the body, causing it to direct all immune cells to the affected area.
According to Harvard Medicine, acupuncture helps reduce swelling by preventing an inflammation-inducing phenomenon called the cytokine storm. Additionally, swelling may decrease as the acupoints get mechanically stimulated, causing dopamine release.
Acupuncture for Soreness, Tightness, And Muscle Strain
Both professional and recreational athletes are all too familiar with the body soreness and muscle tightness that comes with rigorous training and exercises. Unfortunately, when not addressed, these seemingly harmless conditions may progress to a more severe illness or injury that can affect you permanently. Therefore, many athletes embrace alternative medicine, like acupuncture, to prevent injury and facilitate fast recovery without health complications.
Research suggests that acupuncture stimulates the blood vessels to open up, thus improving blood circulation. As a result, this can help ease muscle strain, soreness, tightness, and general fatigue. Additionally, it also restores muscle balance and strength.
How Often Will You Need Acupuncture Treatment?
Healing does not happen overnight. Like any other medical technique, your acupuncture treatment length will depend on the nature and severity of your injury.
For general pain and mild conditions, patients may be advised to have 1 to 2 sessions per week for 4 to 6 weeks. After this, the treatment plan will depend on the patient’s body and health improvement. In some cases, acupuncture may work better with other complementary techniques, such as physical therapy.
Sports Acupuncture at Dr. Guan’s Clinic
Are you looking for the best clinic for acupuncture in Gainesville?
At Guan Physical Therapy and Acupuncture, we treat sports injuries to help athletes stay in their peak conditions in the safest and most holistic way. Our professional acupuncturist and licensed physical therapist, Dr. Weiwei Guan, has been providing the best non-surgical solutions to improve performance and quality of life since 2011.
Besides sports injuries, our clinic also treats several debilitating conditions using acupuncture and physical therapy in Gainesville. This includes:
- Musculoskeletal problems
- Women’s health problems
- Digestive problems
- Stress-related conditions
- Neurologic problems
Let us help you get your head in the game by relieving pain and ensuring optimal physical and mental conditions. Call us now at (352) 353-0288 to start your health assessment and treatment planning. You can also book a Free Discovery Visit now!
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.