Medical acupuncture isn’t necessarily something new, but it is rising to the top on many individuals’ lists of treatments for injury, strains, and even preventative maintenance as it relates to sports, training, and general physical fitness. In this particular instance, we’re going to concentrate on runners who frequently face debilitating injuries such as shin splints, iliotibial band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, and more. Acupuncture can make you a more resilient and stronger runner, prevent injuries in the future, and speed recovery so that healing time is reduced to a minimum. Let’s face it unless you’re doing something to fight it, an injury is very nearly inevitable.
Yes, there is such a thing. And many runners are guilty of doing this. Perhaps it’s the nature of the beast, but many of us tend to simply do too much. Symptoms of overtraining are as follows: slow recovery after working out, poor sleep, lack of concentration, depleted immune system, and fatigue. Take it too far and you can even develop “overtraining syndrome” which presents through depression, insomnia, chronic fatigue, and an elevated heart rate.
This is a serious condition and should not be ignored. You sent your system into overdrive and now it can’t recover, sleep, or relax. Fortunately, regular acupuncture can help ensure your recovery by activating your parasympathetic nervous system which allows you to sleep deeply and fully relax, heal, and digest. The better you sleep, the better you recover.
Many runner and exercise enthusiasts not only do too much but do it too quickly. The practice of increasing your training load at your body’s own pace is recommended but seldom adhered to. Tendons and other connective tissues do not regenerate as quickly as other parts of the body due to the decreased blood supply.
They are designed to handle a specific load but with poor biomechanics or stress/overuse, scar tissue develops. Both acupuncture and electroacupuncture are extremely effective in the treatment of this condition. Specific points on the body help to release excess muscle tension and increase blood circulation to these areas. Additionally, the reorganization and diameter of the affected areas can be increased, as well as collagen strength, through the use of electro-acupuncture.
Surprisingly, not all inflammation is bad. It is a necessary step in the body’s healing process. Your body can’t fully recover, however, if it persists because of stress, poor diet, overtraining, and improper biomechanics. For runners, in particular, certain portions of legs, knees, ankles, and feet remain inflamed longer than they should.
Not only can acupuncture assist in restoring function, mobility, and full strength to injured tissue, it has additional anti-inflammatory properties that will help your body generate a healthier response to inflammation.
Kinetic Chain Imbalances
Every cell in the body is linked together to connective tissue referred to as the lines of fascia. The lateral fascial line and the back fascia line are particular problem areas for runners. Though the problem actually starts below or above the pain site, the true injury has occurred at the weakest point along these lines.
Though your hamstring is actually injured, for example, your Achilles is where the pain is located. Imbalances responsible for causing the injury are corrected through acupuncture releasing trigger points and adhesions in your body. Example: relief can be felt all the way down your leg from just one single needle insertion in your hip.
Lazy Butt Syndrome
Unfortunately for runners, they usually focus on strengthening their calves, quads, and other driving muscles, completely ignoring the stabilizing muscles. Without strong stabilization, feet, ankles, and knees become increasingly unstable through excessive motion, and that promotes injuries.
Your pelvis must be stabilized. And that means that your lateral glutes should be developed and strengthened to avoid collapsing your hip and ultimately injuring overstressed muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc. Runners can obtain a more injury-resilient form by restoring the connection between your lateral glutes and your brain. One acupuncture treatment is all it takes.
If you’d like to find out more about medical acupuncture, its use, and where to find it, feel free to talk to one of our sports chiropractors. Working out and staying healthy doesn’t have to be as painful as many of us think it is. No one should suffer unnecessarily. Contact us today to find out more!