If you participate in sport and exercise as part of your daily lifestyle – whether professionally or as a hobby – chances are you will have experienced a sports injury at some point in your life.
Sports injuries can be very painful and frustrating in equal measures. Whether you are suffering from a strain, a sprain, a swollen muscle, shin splints or neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee or ankle pain, it’s guaranteed that you want to find a treatment that will help to ease the pain and aid recovery.
Acupuncture is successfully used in the treatment of many sports injuries and often comes as a more effective and faster pain relief option in comparison to other treatments.
What can Acupuncture help with?
Acupuncture can help to manage a number of sports-induced symptoms, including:
Acupuncture needles can be placed in the area of direct pain where the injury has occurred. This could be in the muscle or tissue, and also in the surrounding areas around it.
The needles create a minor trauma to the skin, which stimulates the production of pain-relieving chemicals both at the local trauma site and also at a brain and spinal cord level too. These chemicals, including endorphins and opioids, are released and pain feedback channels from the pain source to the brain are blocked. This means that the level of pain sensed by the brain is reduced.
The microtrauma of an acupuncture needle can also stimulate a natural anti-inflammatory response.
The release of chemicals causes a dilation of the blood vessels allowing them to flow more freely and helps to remove some of the inflammatory mediators from the injury site. Swelling is reduced, and unwanted immune responses and allergic reactions are avoided too.
In addition to promoting anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits, acupuncture can also be used to aid areas of tightened muscle, often called trigger points.
Trigger points (another name for muscle knots) occur by an over-contraction of a small number of muscle fibres in one specific area of the body.
Acupuncture needling into these areas of tightness causes a disturbance of the contracted muscle fibres, encouraging them to relax. This also stimulates blood flow and the delivery of oxygen and nutrients directly into the muscles themselves, further promoting relaxation and recovery.
What are the benefits of acupuncture for athletes?
Unlike many prescribed medications, herbal supplements, and other forms of pain relief, acupuncture has very few side effects. This is especially useful for athletes where any drug-induced side effects can affect their training and performance. No drugs, no side effects, and no lasting adverse events all combine to make acupuncture an appealing option in rehabilitation.
As with all injury-management strategies, a holistic approach can often provide the most rapid recovery. Therefore, acupuncture can be used alongside physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment for a combined therapy schedule.
How many treatments are needed?
Every sports injury is unique. Therefore, an initial consultation will help to assess the injury and to create a treatment plan including the frequency of sessions. There may be a few sessions close together, to begin with, followed by longer spaces in between once the initial trauma is reduced.
If you have a sports injury and would like to discuss acupuncture therapy, please feel to get in touch. I offer an initial free consultation without obligation and can be contacted on 07787 831 275 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org