Acupuncture can be quite beneficial to those engaged in athletic endeavors. Acupuncture itself is part of a greater medicine called traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). TCM also includes herbal therapies, nutrition, massage, exercises such as Qi Gong and Tai Chi Chuan, and meditation. TCM is good not only for the athlete who has sustained an injury or is recovering from one but also as a preventative course of action. TCM also enhances athletic performance using a multifaceted approach that balances the body’s functions allowing all it’s systems to work properly (efficiently) during exercise.
Differentiating between a muscle and joint capsule issue is the first step in treating shoulder pain. Examination of the rotator cuff muscles, the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor, will determine if the soft tissue or the shoulder capsule is damaged. An MRI is the definitive image to spot a soft tissue or labral tear though the cause of pain is not always defined. A direct impact to the shoulder or repetitive, over head movement are often the cause of shoulder pain. Overlooked but frequently the cause of pain is the acromio-clavicular joint or AC joint. Precise use of anatomical acupuncture with traditional points treats the pain generating tissues and increases circulation to the area.
Commonly seen injuries are patelo-femoral joint disfunction, Medial collateral ligament or meniscal tear, and osteoarthritis. Problems often originate from misalignment due to insufficient muscle strengthening around the knee for proper support. Knee pain can effect one’s quality of life as it becomes increasingly difficult to remain mobile. Athletics with lateral movement such as soccer and basketball, or impact sports such as football, see many knee issues.
A minor sprained ankle will keep you off the trails or basketball court for a few days, but chronic or severe sprains can be a long term problem Foot injuries can be painful upon first steps in the morning or worsen throughout the day. Unfortunately both the ankle and foot are difficult to ‘rest’ as weight bearing is required for simply getting around. Not all foot pain is plantar fasciitis, which usually hurts most upon first steps getting out of bed.
Many structural issues may be involved to produce back pain. Spinal nerve impingement can produce pain with associated foot drop or wrap around thigh pain. Sacro-Illiac joint disorder or sacral ligaments can cause pain. Spasms of the Quadratus Lumborum muscle will leave one hunched to one side to alleviate discomfort. These are only a few of the common problems that can lead to back pain so correct diagnosing what is causing the pain is essential.
Neck and Head Injury
Neck pain can keep you up at night or make it hard to look over your shoulder while driving. It can occur due to trauma of a fall or whiplash, stress induced tension, and even just sleeping in an awkward position. Neck pain is often associated with upper shoulder tightness or occipital headaches. One shoulder will often be observed to be raised relative to the opposite side due to a contracted levator scapulae muscle.
Chronic headaches may make you alter your schedule around them. Medications, both preventative and pain reducing, can have negative affects, including worsening of headaches. Concussions will usually produce headaches that can linger if not properly cared for.