Shooting pains right behind your shin bone — ouch! Has your hop, skip and a jump has been reduced to a hobble, gimp and a slow crawl? If you are someone that that has undergone intense athletic training, you’ve most likely experienced shin splints (or tibial stress syndrome) at some point. It’s very common with runners, dancers, hikers, football players, and even casual walkers.
Shin splints often occur after sudden changes in physical activity. These can be changes in frequency, such as increasing the number of days you exercise each week. Changes in duration and intensity, such as running longer distances or on hills, or an intense workout after a period of inactivity can also cause shin splints.
This condition is caused by putting too much strain on the connective tissues that join the shin bones to muscle. And that can really put a hitch in your giddy-up!
But here’s good news, cowboys and cowgirls…treating shin splints with acupuncture can be very effective, especially when it is addressed early on. Wahoo! Healing time and pain can be reduced dramatically when acupuncture is used. A 2002 study published in the Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that athletes with shin splints who underwent acupuncture reported significantly lower pain levels than athletes who received traditional sports medicine treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medication. Subjects who received acupuncture also found that the pain interfered less with the playing of their sport. Less pain, more fun!
Not only can acupuncture reduce the pain, inflammation, and swelling associated with shin splints, it reduces the inflammation and pain of bursitis to promote recovery, and as in many of these common sports injuries, acupuncture reduces the pain, inflammation and tension of Plantar Fasciitis. It also relaxes muscles in the lower legs and low back which relate to the soles of the feet through the fascia. More dancing in the streets!
Acupuncture is also a very effective treatment for acute or chronic muscle tension and soreness, even if there is no diagnosed injury. Acupuncture relaxes the individual muscle fibers, releases endorphins, and increases blood flow to tense and blocked areas. This lets you feel better, and get out there to have some more fun!
Sports injuries often take a long time to heal, especially where ligaments or tendons are concerned. Sometimes, because of repeated use of a limb, connective tissues don’t ever have a chance to heal properly. In these cases, an athlete may come to the conclusion that an injury is permanent. Not so! All connective tissue can heal properly when given the chance and supported in the healing process. Acupuncture can speed up the healing process by returning the natural energy flow to the affected area of the body so that you can heal. Now go hit the trails!
Helpful Tips to Prevent Shin Splints
- Alternate high-impact activities like running and dancing with lower-impact exercises such as cycling and swimming.
- Be gentle with yourself! Stretch before any workout (this warms up your body’s tissues, which prepares them for impact) and then warm up using your regular routine.
- Good shoes are important! Those with flat feet or rigid arches are particularly susceptible to shin splints. Be sure to wear quality shoes with an air or gel sole for cushioning, and adjust the laces properly before every workout.
- Effleurage it! Performing a gentle gliding massage stroke called effleurage on your lower legs for five minutes before every workout warms up the muscles and helps remove fluid buildup caused by inflammation.
For more information, visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com
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