Sports Hernias and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Sports Hernias and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Sports hernias are a common injury in many competitive sports. As athletes continue to evolve into bigger, faster, and stronger individuals, the risk of injury also increases with each game they play. This is especially true on high impact sports that demand a lot of raw athleticism, speed, and power. Over the years, many physicians have treated athletic injuries through physical therapy, foam rolling, body massages, and the like.

But recently, an ancient medicine practice from the Eastern world is making its way onto the sports industry. Many physical therapists are starting to promote the use of this healing principle. This practice is called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Dating back to over thousands of years, TCM focuses primarily on natural, holistic approaches to promote healing in the human body. Today, many sports teams are starting to acquire TCM practitioners along with TCM Centre resources to facilitate the recovery and performance of their athletes. Before we discuss how traditional Chinese medicine works in treating sports hernias, it’s important to define what the injury is and how it occurs.

What is a sports hernia?

 A sports hernia is an injury that is characterised by torn soft tissues located near the groin area. This injury is often caused by explosive motions like twisting of the pelvis when playing competitive sports. This happens when an athlete plants their feet explosively when playing games such as soccer, football, hurdling, and other sports that require sudden lower-body movements.

In medical terms, it is referred to as an athletic ‘pubalgia” since it is different from a normal hernia. Treatment for a sports hernia depends on the degree of the injury. If the patient suffers from severe soft tissue tearing, surgery is required to repair the damage. Usually, sports hernias are treated with physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and most recently, traditional Chinese medicine.

The importance of TCM in treating sports hernias

Alternative healing methods such as acupuncture, cupping, and the use of herbal medicines have been introduced to athletes to help improve rehabilitation speeds. TCM aims to promote healing and correct imbalances in the body by:

  • Using all-natural approaches to treat inflammation
  • Facilitate the recovery of athletes without the use of conventional drugs
  • Manage pain associated with injuries
  • Promoting faster recovery when combined with other healing methods

How acupuncture helps treat sports hernias

 Acupuncture is a form of alternative healing method that uses thin, sterilised needles that are inserted at different points of the body. It’s one of the most popular methods used in traditional Chinese medicine for treating chronic pain. According to Chinese medicine, the human body is comprised of strings of networks that connect the entire body as a whole. When thin needles are inserted into the body, it helps modify the flow of energy (known as chi) and stimulates your own healing properties.

Many sports physicians are incorporating acupuncture into their physical therapy to cure sports hernias. It can help to treat minor sprains, reduce chronic body pain, and repair muscle tissue damage. The thin needles help release myofascial tissues which are important for protecting your muscle tissues. It can also help to stimulate the stretch reflex in your muscles, helping you recover from injury and eliminating pain within the groin area.

The importance of the cupping method for faster recovery speeds

 You’ve most likely seen swimmers with round marks all over their body after their training sessions. These marks are often the result of cupping which is also a popular form of traditional Chinese medicine. Cupping works by promoting blood flow which helps deliver crucial nutrients to your body that help aid in recovery.

Cupping therapy is done by placing suction cups or glasses throughout your body. This offers a deep-tissue massage that promotes muscle recovery and helps relax your body after intensive training. The body’s regenerating capabilities are enhanced thanks to the exchange of blood that removes unwanted toxins and dead cells from your body and replace it with new ones.

TCM practitioners use both acupuncture and cupping in tandem to greatly reduce inflammation and facilitate the repair of muscle tissues which is very important during the recovery process.

Using herbal medicines for better healing.

 The use of herbal medicines forms the holy trinity of TCM. When these three healing methods are combined together, the body’s regenerative properties are greatly enhanced. TCM practitioners use natural substances to treat muscle soreness, fatigue, and tissue damage in injured athletes. Today, many sports physicians are starting to incorporate different oils and liniments during physical therapy to soothe aching joints and muscles to help athletes recover faster. Using herbal medicine along with physiotherapy helps manage pain in injuries such as sports hernias by promoting blood flow throughout the body to reduce inflammation.

Dietary herbal medicines are also used as a supplement for athletes to help fight free radicals and keep your cells nice and healthy which is important when recovering from an injury.

Conclusion

 The adaptation of TCM has allowed athletes to recover from injuries quickly and come back much stronger. Chinese medicine practitioners and physical therapists are taking advantage of the benefits of TCM to fuel performance and enhance rehabilitation speeds through holistic approaches that benefit both the mind and the body.

About the author

Daniel Lummis is a marketing consultant at Baolin Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Centre. A believer in the healing qualities of traditional Chinese medicine, Daniel helps provide awareness and information. Baolin Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Centre have been helping residents in Perth with healthcare services since 2003.

 

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