Professional Athletes Turn to Acupuncture for Relief

Professional Athletes Turn to Acupuncture  for Relief Blog  Acupuncture

Scott Gomez understands the constant risk of injury associated with professional sports. Like many of his fellow athletes, he also understands that acupuncture is a viable alternative to conventional medical techniques in treating these injuries.

Currently a center with the St. Louis Blues hockey team, Gomez was with the New York Rangers when he suffered a stress fracture in one ankle. He subsequently sought stress fracture treatment through this ancient Chinese medical practice. He admitted that he felt much better after the treatment, as did a fellow player who had done the same.

Whether they are in hockey, baseball, basketball or cycling, athletes have found success with acupuncture in dealing with injuries, past injuries or the physical problems that come with training and workouts. This method of treatment relieves pain, increases circulation and decreases the inflammation that often accompanies an injury. It can even hasten the recovery process. Using acupuncture as a stress fracture treatment also avoids the use of drugs and the side effects that can result from conventional medical practices.

Gomez had actually missed four games before he learned of the fracture. He managed to play in two games before having to give in to the pain associated with the injury itself and to a groin pull he experienced while trying to skate with the ankle problem. After his acupuncture treatment, he was able to skate on his own and later practiced with the team. Coach Tom Renney said he was fine with one of his players turning to alternative medicine, as long as it allowed him to return to the ice.

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In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)

image

Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)

image

Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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