A study of 1,200 basketball players with reported ankle sprains was conducted by the Department of Physical Education at Changsha Normal University and in conjunction with the Institute of Sport at Jishou University, to look at the efficacy of acupoint application and acupoint massage in treating these injuries.
The participants were treated with routine care, such as icing, compression, elevation and stabilization, as well as acupuncture and massage. The results of the study showed the participants who received the additional acupuncture and massage had shorter
hospital stays, less pain and less need for pain medications.
Sprains and strains are common, not just in athletes, but also the everyday person. A sprain is defined as a stretch or tear of a ligament. A strain, on the other hand, is defined as an injury to a muscle or tendon. Sprains can result from a fall, a sudden twist or a blow to the body that forces a
joint out of place, while a strain can happen from twisting or pulling a muscle or tendon.
Instinctively, when a person experiences a sprain or a strain, either learned first aid skills take over or they may immediately go to the emergency room. Things like taking the pressure off the joint, raising the joint and applying ice to alleviate swelling and inflammation are all great places to start and many times this is exactly what happens in the emergency room.
Icing a sprain or strain is only good for the first 48 to 72 hours, as it will help decrease swelling. However, prolonged use of ice may impair movement and also interfere with the healing process because it constricts the tissues and impedes blood flow. But there are other possible solutions to healing a sprain or a strain. And one of these would be to see an acupuncturist or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner.
TCM practitioners have many tools at their disposal that can assist in increased healing of a strain or sprain. When either of these injuries occur, the muscles surrounding the area tighten up in an effort to protect the injured site. This can then lead to stiffness in that joint. This is the body’s natural defense mechanism that decreases strong blood flow to the area. TCM practitioners use acupuncture and other modalities to help loosen up the muscles and increase blood flow to the area, which brings in tissue-healing oxygen and nutrients.
Increasing blood flow is just one way a TCM practitioner can help. There are also specific acupressure points that reduce swelling, decrease inflammation and alleviate pain. Through the use of regular acupuncture treatments immediately following a sprain or strain injury, the body can heal faster. The more frequently the person can come in for treatments, the quicker the results will occur.
Steve Rosenthal, Licensed Acupuncturist, has years of clinical experience treating sports related strains and sprains. If you would like to set up an appointment with him, please give our office a call at 609-426-1700 or fill out the online request form.