Summer is a time when many of my patients get more active with activities ranging from golf and tennis to hiking and biking and gardening. Some of these patients are not quite in the best of physical shape for increased sports activities and exercise and therefore are more prone to injuries. I have experienced this myself although I am physically active year-round. I tend to do more of many activities in the summer and currently I am experiencing knee tenderness and hip pain from tennis and shoulder stiffness from kayaking.
Acupuncture is great for treating and preventing common muscle and joint injuries that occur from over-use or over-strain. Here at the Acupuncture Center of New Jersey we utilize several traditional acupuncture techniques to support our patients.
- Motor-point Acupuncture: These points are at the junction where nerve fibers enter the muscles. When an injury occurs the surrounding muscle tissue gets inflamed and spasms, causing pressure and pain on the nerve. Gentle and deft insertion of an acupuncture needle will promote a twitch or muscle reflexive response that stimulates the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response. Motor-point acupuncture is great for acute strains and sprains and stiff muscles.
- Distal Balancing Acupuncture: Acupuncture points are located on meridians that are connected all over the body surface and stimulate internal healing responses. Points on the hands, wrists, ankles, feet and ears can be needled to treat injuries to the back and neck, headaches and knees. I am currently treating several patients with back pain from bulging discs by inserting acupuncture needles in their elbows and feet. Distal acupuncture is excellent for chronic pain that has been irritated by over-exercise.
- Cupping and Gwa Sha: We use glass cups to create suction on large muscle groups of the back and hips. This traditional Chinese medicine technique strongly stimulates the flow of blood and lymph to areas that have been injured with symptoms of stiffness, weakness and pain. Patients who do a lot of repetitive motion sports such as swimming and biking especially benefit from this treatment.
- Chinese Herbs: There are several traditional Chinese herbal formulas and lotions that are excellent for sports injuries. Many were created hundreds of years ago to treat martial art injuries. Common herbs include ligusticum, peony, curcuma, san qi, clematis, evodia and corydalis. Fish oil, turmeric, holy basil, glucoasamine and other natural products are also very useful.
In addition to acupuncture treatment and herbal and mineral supplements we counsel our patients to stretch properly before and after exercise, to drink lots of water and eliminate sugary drinks, to eat a whole foods diet with emphasis on greens and vegetables and to rest and sleep well. Alternating exercise between high intensity and moderate intensity days will ensure a summer of fitness, fun and health!
Post by Dr. Peter Kadar, L. Ac. D.O.M.
- Doctor of Oriental Medicine & Chinese Herbal Medicine
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