SPORTS INJURIES and ACUPUNCTURE The evidence for effectivenessWritten by: dsquared | May 24, 1313 | Topic: Condition Treated | Tags: sports injuries
This briefing paper summarises the evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of sports injuries. With the exception of tennis elbow, which is to be covered in a separate paper, none of the different injuries are covered by more than one or two published studies. Some of these are controlled trials and others uncontrolled and the quality is very variable. Nevertheless, all of the available evidence supports the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating sports injuries.
ACUPUNCTURE AND SPORTS INJURIES
Acupuncture may help relieve symptoms of sports injuries, such as pain and inflammation by:
• stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors (e.g. neuropeptide Y, serotonin), and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz 1987, Han 2004, Zhao 2008, Zhou 2008, Lee 2009, Cheng 2009);
• delivering analgesia via alpha-adrenoceptor mechanisms (Koo 2008);
• increasing the release of adenosine, which has antinociceptive properties (Goldman 2010);
• modulating the limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network (Hui 2009);
• reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003);
• improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility by increasing local microcirculation (Komori 2009), which aids dispersal of swelling.