Pain management & sports medicine

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As a life-long athlete and avid martial artist, I know well the challenges of intense physical activity- both the pain of injury and of conditioning. Pain is one of the most common ailments for which acupuncture is prescribed. Whether it’s musculoskeletal pain from intensive activity and injury, back pain from average wear and tear, or from malfunctioning of internal organs, the application of fine gauged needles at strategic points on the body as well as the time-tested methods of cupping and moxabustion effectively alleviate these problems. In Chinese medicine, we look at pain as a manifestation of stagnation of either qi or blood. The most obvious of these manifestations are bruises- quite literally the stagnation of blood which causes pain and tenderness in the given area. We also see stagnation in swelling, where injury to a joint or organ becomes inflamed by cytokines and other bodily response mechanisms which seek in part to immobilize the area while repair on the damaged tissue can take place. While this is a normal part of biological repair, bodies often have a tendency to overreact to such injuries, and encouraging flow within the system is helpful to the healing process.

Acupuncture is useful in these situations in at least two ways. One is the increase in circulation to a given area. It has been shown through numerous studies that acupuncture facilitates a health flow of blood, not only to the respective areas where the needles are placed, but often in areas seemingly unrelated to the needle location. This increase in circulation brings a fresh supply of white blood cells, tissue repairing cells, and other healing agents to the damaged area. Sports teams around the world are utilizing acupuncture therapy because it has been shown that athletes are able to recover faster by incorporating it into their physical therapy regime.

The other mechanism that acupuncture engages is the release of endorphins- literally the bodies “internal morphine.” Endorphins are our pain-relieving neuro-peptides which soften the blow of physical pain, and induce a slight euphoric state which allows our mind to relax, and in turn our body. And relaxation is key to timely recovery. Because endorphins are produced by the body, they are a much healthier alternative to opiod pain-relief medication like prednisone and cortiocosteroids. The answer to pain from a Western medical perspective, has been to rely on these opiod compounds, which has led to an epidemic of drug dependency and abuse. Acupuncture is one of the best solutions to this growing crisis.

I am happy to help facilitate this relief from pain in your life. Acupuncture is not a magic bullet, and while stubborn problems can be significantly shifted in an initial session, in many cases it will require a series of treatments and possibly require regular check ups. Please come see me today to see if acupuncture can help you. As an athlete, I know well the kinds of injuries that come from intensive physical activity. During my training I interned at the UC Berkeley Sports Facility, helping athletes from across the spectrum recover from injury and maintain top performance.

I also work with pain related to:
Auto injuries/whiplash
Stress-related pain/tightness
Arthritis
Menstrual pain
Psychogenic pain/unexplainable pain
Nerve-related pain

You can schedule with me online, or email me if you have questions at patick@patrickgarretson.com

Cover art by http://www.wolfmercuryphotography.com