What are sports injuries and how can acupuncture treatment help combat them? Well, a sports injury is exactly what it sounds like; an injury from when you participate in competitions, organized sports, training sessions, or any organized fitness activities. There are several reasons for developing these kinds of injuries such as improper training, lack of appropriate footwear or any safety equipment.
The injuries are of various kinds, one of them is a traumatic injury. These injuries are a result of a blow from a single application of force such as a cross-body block in football. There are other types of a sports injury such as overuse of a particular muscle or chronic injury. Chronic injuries usually take time to develop over a period of time. Athletic training involving repetitive training, such as running, overhand throwing, or serving a ball in tennis are a few examples of a sports injury.
Overstrain of surrounding tissue and sprains are some of the most common sports-related injuries. Besides pain, one may experience symptoms such as redness or purple skin discoloration, and the impact on joint mobilization. The conventional treatment is, of course, or R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation); however sports acupuncture treatment is another option for suppressing inflammation and swelling.
Common Sports Injuries
Sports injury is generally characterized by “deep and dull” aching. There may also be other symptoms such as “pins and needles”, tingling and numbness that accompany the injury or referred sensations that travel back and forth from the injury site. The athletes sometimes find it difficult to move their affected leg/hand or different parts of their bodies. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine help identify the pain area and ways to combat the pain.
Acupuncture has a tremendous impact on sports injuries, so much so that many sports teams have deployed the services of acupuncturists on staff, such as a sports massage therapist to accelerate the healing process and complement conventional ailments. The use of acupuncture for treating sports injury has been practiced for ages. In fact, it is one of the quickest ways to heal from injuries such as martial arts. Pain and reduced function are some of the few complaints in sports injuries. Acupuncture not only fixes the symptoms but also the underlying disorder, and restores internal harmony.
Recent studies prove the efficacy of acupuncture treatment for treating strains, sprains, hip, knee, ankle pain, neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, swollen muscles, and shin splints. Acupuncture provides the athletes the strength and stamina to push harder and get that all-important competitive edge.
In fact, a study completed in the December 2004 Annuals of Internal Medicine discussed acupuncture extensively and its positive impact on patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee. In recent years, the efficacy of acupuncture has been acknowledged by Western countries and now the National Institute of Health has considered acupuncture to be an acceptable form of treatment for pain.
Acupuncture Treatment for Sports Injuries
A holistic and natural treatment such as acupuncture can treat a wide range of injuries and conditions such as the following:
- Tennis elbow
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Frozen Shoulder, Impingement Syndrome
- Joint dysfunction
- Sprains and Strains
- Shin splints
Acupuncture benefits range from treating sports injuries by stimulating the nerves located in muscles and other tissues, to helping in the release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors. This helps change the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord. Acupuncture also boasts of analgesic qualities. It can reduce inflammation, help improve muscle stiffness and joint mobility, and reduce swelling.
Acupuncture for Sports Injuries – Sports Injury Treatment
Acupuncture is an effective treatment for sports injuries as it stimulates the central nervous system. This also triggers natural painkillers to help alleviate pain. Acupuncture helps stimulate blood flow to injured areas and helps decrease inflammation. This helps speed up the recovery time of the athlete.
What are the different stages of injury? First is inflammation, then the second stage is the sub-acute phase, which begins after the first week following the injury. This stage is when the damaged tissues are healing. If the injury does not start healing during this time, it starts becoming chronic and hurtles towards the stage of progression. When the injury goes through the chronic stage, the swelling subsides and the inflammation also goes away; what remains is pain and stiffness. Whatever be the stage of the injury, acupuncture can come to your rescue.
Acupuncture Points for Hamstring Injuries
1. BL 57 (Chengshan) point:
The BL-57 point can be located in the middle of the calf, right between the two heads of the gastrocnemius muscle, on a line connecting the BL-40 and BL-60.
2. BL 58 (Feiyang):
The BL 58 point is located on the lower leg, 7 cun directly above the Kunlun Bl-60, it is lateral to and located 1 cun inferior to Chengshan BL-57.
It is located on the lateral aspect of the lower leg in the indentation between the highest peaks of the lateral malleolus and the Achilles tendon.
This acupuncture point is located in a depression right between the edge of the lateral malleolus (the external ankle bone) and the outer edge of the Achilles tendon.
It is located on the lateral side of the foot, right below the anterior edge of the external malleolus, on the lower edge of the cuboid bone
Acupuncture Points for Tennis Elbow
1. Large Intestine 4:
Find this point on the backside of the hand, right between the webbing between the forefinger and thumb. Fold your hand into a fist, the point is located in the center of the mound where the flesh is created. This point can help reduce pain.
The large intestine 6 is located in line with the large intestine 5, but it is located 3 inches higher and towards the elbow. Applying pressure on this particular point can help relieve pain in arms, wrist, and elbow.
LI 12 is also known as the Elbow Bone and is a powerful acupressure point for the treatment for tennis elbow. This point is located right above the fold of the elbow. Stimulating this acupressure point can help relieve a number of symptoms such as numbness, relaxing sinews and reducing the pain associated with tennis elbow that shoots up towards the shoulder. It is a focal point and helps stimulate energy flow in the elbow and helps relieve swelling and inflammation.
Best Acupuncture Points for Plantar Fasciitis
1. Kidney 3:
This point is located right on the inside of the medial surface of the ankle. It is on the same level of the high point of the medial malleolus or the inner ankle bone and at least half the distance to the Achilles Tendon. This nourishes the entire Kidney Organ System.
2. Kidney 6:
This is located on the medial point or inside surface of the ankle. Find it at least one cun below the high point of the medial malleolus. This can bolster Kidney Yin.
3. Bladder 62 point:
It is located right in the lateral aspect of the foot, behind the 5th metatarsophalangeal joint, and located at the meeting point of the red and white skin. It is a great point for alleviating pain.
Chinese Herbal Formulas and Nutrition Advice for Sports Injuries
Herbs and other combinations of herbs are a few of the formulations used in TCM. You can apply these types of balms or salves and can also ingest it internally. These formulations contain specific herbs in them and target certain parts of the body.
Athletes must focus on their nutrition plan which will help them to push themselves physically. Hydration is the key for all athletes. A dehydrated joint or tendon is worse for wear. Eating more foods containing vitamin C can boost more collagen in the body. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits and dark leafy greens. Athletes must also up their omega 3 fatty acids as this keeps inflammation at bay. Omega 3’s can be especially found in oily fish, seeds, and walnuts.
Acupuncture for sports injury is something every athlete must consider to combat pain related to different types of sports injury. This will give them quick relief and help them get back to gradually playing regular sports.