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  • Writer's pictureEugene Lee Mahoney, LAc, AEAMP

The Road to Recovery from Sports or Work injuries Should Include Acupuncture

The National Safety Council and the Washington Department of Health both report that the most common causes of non-fatal physical injury in Washington state are motorvehicle accidents, falls, over-exertion, and repetitive motion injuries (carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, etc.). The most common non-work-related injuries are those while doing a favorite recreational activity like team sports or enjoying the outdoors.

The US Department of Labor Statistics says that most work-related injuries (64%) result in at least a few days away from work and as many as 19.7% require limited, restricted or accommodation to their job tasks in at least a temporary capacity until the worker is fully recovered.

For those injured workers and athletes, many are looking at weeks to months in recovery times. For workers a quick recovery time is important, not only for financial responsibilities but also for mitigating stress from time off work. For athletes, quick recovery time is important in order to preserve very stringent training schedules and performance thresholds.

There are two main types of injury that patients seek support from acupuncturists; acute and chronic. Acute injuries often are the result of single-instance physical trauma events like accidents (vehicular, bikes, etc), lost footing (ankle and tendon injuries, etc), focused localized stress traumas (impact on the knees tearing ligaments and/or tendons, etc.), incorrect support when straining (lifting heavy objects, etc). While chronic injuries tend to be caused from repetitive, overuse and steady unbroken strain along with little to no recovery time in between.

Acupuncture is an integral modality for reducing the recovery time for both workers and athletes suffering from either acute or chronic injuries and pain. It is effective in injury recovery because it is excellent in treating them through its proven therapeutic benefits (anti-inflammation and pain-relief) for the body. Acupuncture has been shown to;

1) Increase circulation to the injured area. This allows the body to manage tissue repair, and inflammation in both the long and short run, and reduces pain and speeds up healing.

2) Reduces inflammation, partially from the improved circulation, it helps the tissue get back to homeostasis as the body goes from a reactive phase to a proactive repair and recovery phase. Swelling impedes circulation, and it is good circulation that allows the cells and vital nutrients, that support cleaning up the injury and to repair the damaged tissue, get to where they are needed.

3) Helps the new tissue to be more tensile, flexible and resilient in the short and long run. Allowing not only the new tissue to be more resistant from future injuries but also allowing for overall normalized pre-injury range of motion and performance.

Studies continue to show that acupuncture and physical therapy, combined, can reduce recovery time and increases speed of performance-ready tissue retraining. The key is steady, consistent, reliable appointments paired with strength and flexibility physical therapy training.

What types of injuries can acupuncture help with? Some examples of types of acute injuries I see in the clinic are;

· Ankle strain

· Knee pain

· Achilles heel

· Back strain

· Wrist and hand pain

· Shoulder and hip pain

These all usually coincide with restricted ranges of motion. The chronic conditions that I often see in the clinic (those caused by repetitive motion) include;

· Tendonitis

· Golf & tennis elbow

· Arthritis

· Carpal Tunnel

· Shoulder and neck pain

These are just a few of the more common ones that I successfully treat on a regular basis.

I have a successful track record of helping both athletes and people who have been injured while working get relief from pain (acute and chronic), increase their range of motion, and reduce their overall recovery time. They end up being able to get back to work or back to performance training, with just a few re-injury-prevention-precautions put in place, with little or no loss to strength, resilience, flexibility or range of motion.

If you are a worker or athlete who recently were in a car accident, suffer from pain from chronic repetitive motion, or have suffered an acute physical trauma resulting in pain, restricted range of motion, weakness, make your appointment today and get started with your recovery as soon as possible. Make your appointment with me by calling 206.629.5180. If you are without insurance or yours does not have acupuncture benefits, please ask about my package specials.

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