Acupuncture for Sports Injuries

The weather is warming up, and we’re getting outside more to enjoy ourselves and start training. With the time of weekend warriors and marathon training arriving, injuries will also occur. Acupuncture therapies are a great way to reduce and prevent injuries and pain.

Acupuncture and Cupping for Training

Acupuncture helps people train by reducing pain, increases circulation (therefore healing) and decreasing inflammation (also important for healing). Electro-acupuncture has also been shown to stimulate healing in muscle rehabilitation. This is probably why many people with chronic injuries that flare up when you start training will see improvement because the acupuncture can stimulate the healing process.

Cupping is a wonderful tool for athletes and people who are getting back into shape. Cupping places a depressurized cup on a muscle.  It will draw up the skin underneath.  You’re probably familiar with cup marks which generally last about a week.  I find acupuncture with cupping particularly helpful for people with neck and upper back pain as well as lower back pain that flares from training. Cupping is also very helpful for reducing soreness after a workout. And cupping is a good stress reliever, something we can all use these days.

Trigger points

Trigger points in muscles is another reason that chronic injuries will flare up when you start training again. Trigger points are areas in bundles of muscle and fascia that become tight and knotted up. This tension will pull on other areas of the muscle and surrounding tissue. Acupuncture can be used to break up the trigger point to relieve this pressure.

An Acupuncture Success Story

One of my marathon runners was having chronic pain in her left knee and calf. The pain was keeping her from training.  The diagnosis was unclear. Soft tissue did not show major signs of problems, but still she could not run without pain.

I found she had significant trigger points in the muscles of the gastrocnemius. I releases the trigger point with needling and followed up with electroacupuncture on the area. I also followed the acupuncture with cupping.

After only one treatment, she was able to run a few miles again. Each week this improved.  After only 4 visits she was able to return to her normal training schedule.

The key to the success was personalized and targeted treatment of the issue.

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
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