Sports injuries typically occur when participating in sports, however, some minor impairments can result from regular exercise, or even daily activities. Often, these injuries are due to overuse of specific parts of the body.
We usually divide injuries into two main categories: acute injuries and chronic injuries. “Acute injuries” generally involve serious damage to the body such as bone fractures, torn ligaments or tendons, and sometimes open wounds from a trauma. With this type of injury thorough examination is recommended, including X-rays or an MRI. Any type of acute injury needs to be properly assessed before acupuncture treatment can begin; especially during the inflammatory phase with redness, local swelling, heat, and sharp pain. During this phase a cold treatment (with an ice pack) is necessary. Injuries with symptoms that are not resolved within three months are considered chronic injuries. These types of injuries are usually due to minor muscle strains, small tears in muscle fibers, or ligament sprains, all of which should be able to heal over time. Unfortunately, chronic injuries often do not get the appropriate amount of attention needed to heal correctly. As time goes on the injury may never completely heal, resulting in long term discomfort in the form of minor dull pain, soreness, and tightness.
Acupuncture is an effective method for treating sports injuries. Seventy-two hours after an acute injury has taken place, acupuncture treatment may begin. At this point, the treatment will focus on reducing inflammation and pain, relaxing muscles, and relieving spasms. A chronic injury is usually classified as being under “deficient conditions,” which means there is a lack of nutrients and energy flow to the injury. The treatment and healing process for such an injury is strongly associated with “Chi”; the energy that circulates throughout the body is responsible for insuring that the proper functions of the body are being carried out. The energy channels are very likely to be disconnected due to a traumatic injury, or blocked due to a smaller injury. In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, these conditions are usually diagnosed as “Chi and blood stagnation,” which not only causes pain, but also slows down the healing process and can cause injuries to heal incorrectly. Acupuncture treatment helps to re-connect and clear the energy channels, allowing for increased blood flow, and regulating the direction of energy flow to repair damaged cells and soft tissues.
It is also important to keep an injury warm to aid the process of blood circulation and energy flow. This will accelerate the healing process, and provide satisfactory end results. By improving local blood circulation, increasing the delivery of nutrients and promoting energy levels throughout the rest of our body’s cells, we are able to recover faster and more successfully.