Acupuncture For Sports Injuries

| February 22, 2010 | 2 Comments | 3,390 views

Acupuncture and Sports Injury

A growing number of professional and top amateur athletes visit an acupuncturist at the Pacific Wellness Institute for the treatment of injuries with acupuncture and to help optimize their conditioning. If you are wondering how acupuncture treatment can help your acute or chronic sports injury, contact them at the clinic today.

Acute Injury Treatment

Sprain and strain of the joint and surrounded tissue are one of the most common sports related injuries (sprain involves the ligament and strain involves muscle or tendon). Besides pain, the typical inflammatory response may include swelling of the injured area, redness or purple skin discoloration, and reduced range of motion of the joint. In addition to conventional R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) treatment, many athletes have found acupuncture treatment to be very helpful in suppressing inflammation and swelling fast.

Prolonged inflammation can cause scar tissue formation and may prevent regain of proper joint mobility. Dr. Tanaka utilizes an innovative approach to reduce acute inflammation involving local kryo application (ice or ice bar massage) and distant superficial guiding acupuncture with moxibution heat. This approach provides remarkably fast reduction of inflammation and swelling in many cases.

Once the acute inflammation and swelling has been reduced substantially, he often utilizes another innovative approach called Dynapuncture. Returning to exercise activity too soon after an injury can lead to repeated injuries of the damaged tissue. However, returning to controlled motion early can promote proper healing. Dynapuncture helps enhance restoration of healthy joint functioning while reducing pain. Proper nutritional supplementation may also be necessary to ensure proper tissue healing.

Athletes in Nagano using acupuncture to cure their ills

NAGANO, Japan (AP) -- Canadian speedskater Kevin Overland was in a panic. The Olympics were just over a month away, and he was nursing an injured hip and listening to a physical therapist tell him it wouldn't heal in time.

So Overland turned to needles -- and he's going home with a bronze medal. " I'd been in physical therapy a million and one times," Overland said. "I knew it wouldn't help in time, and a friend recommended acupuncture. I've really reacted well to it." Overland, who finished third in the 500-meter sprint, is one of a growing number of athletes who are finding a cure for everything from pain to fatigue in the deftly twirled needles of the acupuncturist. And at the Nagano Olympics, they are seeking out the skills of local practitioner Susumu Koyama. "We have a lot to offer them," Koyama said as he finished Overland's muscle treatment one recent afternoon. "There seems to be a lot of interest in what we do."

Acupuncture involves sticking long, thin needles into specific nerve junction points on the body. The needles often are rotated or electrically stimulated. Koyama, who has practiced acupuncture in Nagano for 21 years, said he sees the flood of world-class athletes here for the Olympics as a chance to test the value of his needles and traditional Chinese herbs in sports medicine.

As Overland underwent treatment, about a dozen doctors and researchers from around the country looked on, taking notes and asking questions. Koyama -- whose office is right next door to the ahletes' village -- is offering free sessions to all athletes and officials. Just four days into the games, he had already treated about 20 foreign competitors, most for fatigue. Though still seen as a fringe treatment in much of the West, acupuncture and sports are hardly strangers.

Pittsburgh Penguins star Jaromir Jagr, who will play for the Czech Republic in Nagano, used acupuncture to get over a groin injury last season. NBA guard Muggsy Bogues used it to relieve chronic knee pain that threatened to end his career two years ago. Along with pain relief, Koyama said the metod holds several potential benefits for athletes.

Because capillaries tend to open under needle treatment, he said, acupuncture improves the circulation of blood and thus can cleanse muscles of lactic acid -- which produces the sensation of muscle soreness and fatigue -- faster than the natural process would. He said acupuncture treatment also has been found to increase the production of endorphins, a substance produced naturally in the body that increases the feeling of happiness and well-being. "And, with acupuncture, there is no fear of coming up positive on the doping test," Koyama said.

Though Western medicine is dominant, acupuncture is widely practiced in Japan. As an indication of its acceptance, it is often covered under the national health insurance plan. Koyama explained that the Chinese theory behind acupuncture focuses on the flow of "qi," or energy, through the body. According to this theory, the interruption of the flow of qi causes disease. "We use different kinds of needles in China, Korea and Japan," he said, adding that the length and style of needle used also depends on the affected area of the body and the result desired. Speedskater Overland, who started acupuncture treatment in Calgary before coming to Nagano, said he has no doubts about its effectiveness. "I came into this a bit skeptical," he said. "But I know it works for me." He added, however, that it might not be for everyone. "You have to be open-minded about it," he said. "A lot of people aren't."


Category: Acupuncture Treatment

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