Unlike prescription drugs, supplements, and other methods of pain relief, acupuncture is known to have very few side effects. This can be beneficial to athletes, as the side effects of drugs can affect their performance and training. Another worthy factor for athletes to consider is doping regulations, which have become strict on the types of drugs and supplements that can be consumed legally.
Rare but possible side effects of acupuncture include fainting, nausea, bruising, and dizziness. Serious side effects are extremely rare, unlike prescription medications and other pain relievers. Since acupuncture has fewer side effects, and is generally a relaxing and enjoyable treatment alternative, it is an appealing option for rehabilitation.
Acupuncture in sports rehab
Chronic injuries of athletes, including tendinitis and tendinopathies, account for at least 30% of all sports injuries. These conditions can debilitate an athlete, and rehab will most likely run for months. As these injuries prevail, they become degenerative and chronic, especially on the affected tendon.
In fact, tendinopathies can prevent an athlete from their training regimen due to the ongoing pain they are experiencing. Coupled with the uncertainty of the safety limits set on exercises, athletes are hindered from doing their best and reaching their potential during training. For this reason, acupuncture can be a viable option, as it can help by reducing pain and enabling athletes to begin rehab involving eccentric loading of the affected tendon.
Acupuncture can also help in alleviating chronic ankle pain, specifically ligament sprains. Although ligaments are considered a different tissue from muscles and tendons, they could also benefit from acupuncture. In fact, acupuncture treatments may reduce pain levels and allow athletes to restore their joint range of movement with only six or more treatments depending on the severity of their injury. This means that acupuncture may provide beneficial effects on inflammatory, mechanical, or nociceptive symptoms.
Working better together
With various injury-management strategies, a holistic approach to rehabilitation can provide a rapid recovery. However, a licensed and qualified practitioner must conduct this alternative treatment. Many people feel minimal pain as acupuncture needles are inserted in certain parts of our body called acupoints.
The needles inserted to a point can produce a sensation of pressure and may be heated during treatment, or a mild electric current might be applied to boost the effects on the patient.
Overall, acupuncture offers an additional benefit to rehabilitation and recovery. Acute conditions can also be treated effectively with acupuncture without major side effects detrimental to athletes’ training performance.