Acute injuries can occur even when you’re taking all the necessary precautions. Whether you’re an athlete dealing with a sports related injury, or suffering from an injury due to everyday activities, acupuncture can help. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), connective tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and cartilage which surround the joints, are referred to collectively as sinews. When sinews become overly stretched or torn, acute injury may occur. TCM offers several treatments in overcoming acute injuries quickly and effectively (1).
Acupuncture works to encourage the movement of blood and energy (qi), which can become stagnant in areas afflicted with injury. Blood can also become stagnant, leading to pain and swelling. Stimulation of specific acupoints encourages qi and blood to flow freely again, perpetuating the healing process.
Herbs and herbal combinations can be beneficial not only in reducing inflammation, but also for restoring blood flow to the site of injury. Specific herbal formulas like san huang san work to encourage movement of any stagnant blood and reduce inflammation surrounding the injury, so you can get back to your daily activities and exercise more promptly.
Cupping is a form of body work using a glass cup, which creates a vacuum drawing blood to the surface. Cupping works to reduce pain and swelling, and in combination with acupuncture, also breaks through qi and blood stagnation to restore qi to damaged sinews.
But don’t just take our word for it
An increasing number of western medical studies have been published demonstrating the effectiveness of acupuncture on acute and sports-related injuries. Using advanced diagnostic techniques researchers have determined how acupuncture can be used effectively in the treatment of:
- ruptured of muscle fiber (2)
- Sports medicine (3)
- Knee conditions (4)
- Back pain (5,6)
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome (7)
Acupuncture and Related Methods Applied in Sports Medicine: Exemplified by the Rupture of a Muscle Fiber, a study conducted by Regina Schwantiz, MD documented a case study involving a female athlete with a calf injury. The athlete was treated with a combination of western treatments and acupuncture. Acupuncture treatments continued for a week and on day 8, the athlete reported significant progress, with no pain during exercise and sonography confirming the healed injury. Furthermore, studies by L. Tyler Wadsworth, MD also support its use in healing sports related injuries.
With regard to knee conditions, acupuncture “may help athletes recover faster and more safely and improve sports performance and return to play”(4). Another study concluded that “acupuncture is an effective treatment for the pain and dysfunction of tarsal tunnel syndrome, and in some cases acupuncture treatment can negate the need for surgery” (7). And it doesn’t just stop with acute injuries. Several studies on low back pain, including a meta-analysis, have concluded that “acupuncture effectively relieves chronic low back pain” (5). So whether you’re an athlete nursing an injury or suffering from everyday aches and pains, relief is possible through treatment.
- Bisio, Tom. A tooth from the tiger’s mouth : how to treat your injuries with powerful healing secrets of the great Chinese warriors. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004. Print.
- Schwanitz, Regina. “Acupuncture And Related Methods Applied In Sports Medicine: Exemplified By The Rupture Of A Muscle Fiber”. Medical Acupuncture 19.2 (2007): 105-108. Web. 19 July 2016.
- Wadsworth, L. Tyler. “Acupuncture in Sports Medicine.” Current Sports Medicine Reports 5:1-3 (2006). Web. 19 July 19, 2016.
- Chung, Gun; Binkley, Helen. “Acupuncture and Knee Conditions: A Review of the Literature.” Athletic Training & Sports Health Care 2.6 (2010): 278-286. Web. 21 July 2016.
- Manheimer, Eric. “Meta-Analysis: Acupuncture For Low Back Pain.” Annals of Internal Medicine 142.8 (2005): 651. Web. 21 July 2016.
- Swathy, S and V. Gowri Sethu. “Acupuncture and Lower Back Pain.” Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology 8.8 (2015): 991. Web. 21 July 2016.
- Smith, Scott R. “Acupuncture in the Treatment of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.” The Journal of Chinese Medicine 89 (2009): 19-25. Web. 21 July 21 2016.