Acupuncture helping athletes

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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Whether you're a "weekend warrior" or a "workout warrior" you may end up with tired, sore, muscles from time to time, but more and more athletes are turning to acupuncture for relief.

Jamie Starkey, the lead acupuncturist at Cleveland Clinic's Wellness Institute, says athletes who get acupuncture typically feel a two-fold effect.

"So, what the science is showing is that it has an anti-inflammatory effect, so if you sprain your ankle, for example, the acupuncture will work to decrease the inflammation and then it also has a pain-relieving effect," she explained.

Starkey says the acupuncture needles release endorphins which offer a natural pain relief. She says acupuncture not only helps with general muscle soreness from working out or playing sports on the weekend, but says acupuncture can also help to decrease muscle spasms and cramping.

"If there is a strain or a pull we're able to go in and needle the trigger points to release the muscles that may be in spasm," explained Starkey.

She says a trained acupuncturist can even pinpoint specific areas of the body. 

"Typically the athletes I see I am treating them for low back pain, neck pain, shoulder injuries, elbow injuries, knees, ankles, even larger muscle groups," Starkey explained.

Starkey says acupuncture works well as part of a multidisciplinary approach to treating sports injuries or muscle soreness.  She adds acupuncture, in combination with things like heat, ice, and pain medications, may help to yield the best results.

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