Written by Nicole Heuschkel, L.Ac
It’s no secret that being active in sports may eventually correlate to an inevitable injury. Common treatments for injuries include taking anti-inflammatory medication, regular icing, as well as wound compression.
Although these modalities are proven to help, it seems that we may be causing more harm when we look to medicate repeatedly. While medications can relieve pain and suffering, if used long term, they can also cause destructive side effects. The problem with these drugs are that they can affect the entire body, not just the part that hurts. Overuse of anti-inflammatories can be damaging to the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach and small intestine. Other risks may include, but are not limited to heart attack and/or stroke. Before feeling defeated and throwing in the towel, there are other treatment modalities available that are both safe and effective that may be able to help.
Athletes Can Effectively Heal Injuries the Natural Way
Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that works with the body’s own energy. The common understanding of acupuncture is based on the concept of energy flow. Energy, more commonly referred to as “qi,” travels throughout the body in certain pathways. When there is a blockage of qi, this will usually result in an expression of pain. Small, sterile needles are inserted into specific areas of the body to stimulate the movement of energy and circulation, which promotes the body’s self-healing ability. These access energy pathways and can help “unblock” the energy. They also increase circulation to the area, facilitating in the aid of healing the area more quickly.
Acupuncture continues to gain additional support as evidence of the benefits consistently increases. Sports medicine is embracing acupuncture, as athletes are benefiting from treatments tremendously. Acupuncture can address both acute and chronic injuries. Elbow, knee and back pain are frequent injuries experienced by athletes, as well as muscle strains, sprains and tendonitis. Ailments like arthritis and inflammation may also benefit with the incorporation of acupuncture into the treatment.
Take Healing & Wellness Beyond the Present Injury
While acupuncture has created a name for itself in the treatment and management of pain, it has numerous other positive effects on the body. Incorporating acupuncture into the treatment protocol can decrease inflammation, restore function of the affected area, and reduce the recovery time of injuries by almost half.
Acupuncture points will vary based on which body part is being treated, but there are a few points that can help with general pain and strengthen the energy of the body. A very effective protocol called Four Gates includes the points Liver 3 (LV3) and Large Intestine 4 (LI4), which is effective in moving the Qi and blood in the body, thus clearing stagnation and alleviating pain.
LI4 is a very common point used for many conditions. It is located in the middle of the second metacarpal bone on the radial side. It is beneficial for any condition related to the face and head, including sinus pressure, headaches, jaw pain, toothaches and allergies. It can also be used to treat Wind-Heat conditions like the flu. LI4 can help strengthen the immune system and decrease duration of colds. Finally, LI4 is known as the “pain point” in the body. It is great in clearing inflammation anywhere in the body.
LV3 is another commonly used point that is great for creating movement throughout the body. It is located on the dorsum of the foot in a depression distal to the junctions of the 1st and 2nd metatarsal bones. It can be used for any liver energy disharmony, including menstrual disorders, headaches, and detoxification. It is also useful in calming the nervous system, which can help treat insomnia, stress and anxiety.
Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment, with little to no side effects. It is commonly known for being used in pain management, but has the capacity to treat a multitude of symptoms. Aches and pains, headaches, infertility, anxiety, gastrointestinal and respiratory issues are just some of the frequently treated indications. Next time you find yourself reaching for an Advil or over the counter medicine, consider an alternative treatment first. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised and feeling better.
To make an appointment with one of the licensed acupuncturists at Monmouth Pain & Rehabilitation, call 732-345-1377 or fill out the form on the right side of this page. Whether you have injured yourself through sports or other hobbies, or have some sort of chronic pain, you could find healing for your whole body. Monmouth County acupuncture is just within reach in Shrewsbury, Wall Township, and coming soon to Lacey for Ocean County residents seeking acupuncture!