Ask an expert - muscles and bones - sports injuries

7 questions

The treatment of muscular injuries by BAcC members is relatively common, and often takes place within an existing course of treatment for another presenting condition - many patients are surprised to find that their practitioner can do something about a contingent injury while they are being treated for somethin entirely different. Their experience is usually of western medicine, where each condition opens up a new path for treatment. Chinese acupuncture, however, treats the patient, not the condition, and while some things are simply a consequence of injury or accident, there are often underlying patterns which inform why the problem has arisen and how to deal with it.

There are, however, relatively few studies of the treatment of specific muscle groups, and most studies are often very diffuse, or tend to look at specific and very precise physiological mechanisms, as our factsheet on sports injuries shows.


Where someone has a specific injury of this kind we always recommend that they visit one of our members for a better and more informed view of whether treatment will help their specific situation. They may want to look at the way that the problem manifests, as well as asking what makes it feel better or worse, whether the time of day makes a difference, whether medication helps and whether it causes other side effects, before giving you an idea of how acupuncture may be of use to you.

Q. I have had a sports related injury since September 2011. During a football match I felt a tear in my upper leg / groin area.

I haven't noticed any information on your website regarding this area - so is it possible to treat using accupuncture?

I look forward to your response...


A. There is no doubt that acupuncture is used quite frequently by traditional acupuncturists, doctors and physiotherapists in direct treatment of muscle tears. The points which they use, where needles are inserted, are often the same, even though the theories on which the selection is based are often very different.


Heretical as this may sound to some of our members, where sports injuries are concerned it is often essential to be treated by someone who specialises in working with athletes or sportsmen because there are often additional exercises and manipulations which will aid recovery and advice about what to do and not do which will speed up healing. Many BAcC members do actually have some background in sports medicine, but there are also a significant number of physios who use acupuncture alongside conventional sports medicine to great effect.


Your best course of action is to start by finding out who local to you offers sports medicine, and then to ask who within that network uses acupuncture alongside conventional skills. We have no doubt that traditional acupuncture alone would be able to resolve the problem, but there will be a large component of recovery management in getting you back to full fitness, and this is an acquired skill.

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