Treating Sports Injuries with Acupuncture

By Dr. Dongfeng Zhou Ap, DAOM

Treating Sports Injuries with Acupuncture

Getting involved in sporting activities has enormous benefits. The health and physical benefits are not in doubt and there are strong indications that it can improve mental and academic performance. Think of it this way: The human brain is like the muscle, so it grows as we exercise. This means that the more you participate in sports, the more you are likely to improve your memory and thinking cells. Furthermore, competitions are organized in the US and the world over to ascertain the best teams or players. Despite all the benefits of sports, one major challenge that comes with it is injury. Hence, that lead to our topic of today: acupuncture for sports injury. Before we jump to acupuncture for sports medicine too quickly, let’s review the common signs of  sports injuries .

What are Sports Injuries?

Athletes are said to suffer from sports injuries due to overuse, direct impact or the application of force that is by far greater than the body part can withstand. These injuries could also be a result of overtraining, lack of conditioning, or improper form or technique. Make no mistake about it, failing to warm up increases the risk of having sports injuries. Plus, if you haven’t been regularly active in the game and/or you don’t play contact sports, then you run the risk of getting injured. The most common types of sports injuries are sprains, strains, knee injuries, swollen muscles, Achilles tendon rupture, fracture, dislocation, and rotator cuff injury.

As an athlete, you can do your best to prevent sports injuries by using the right equipment and ensuring they are always in good shape before use. However, try all you can, you will have these injuries at some point in your life or career. It is noteworthy that an injury could be minor or severe. What’s more, stats of sports injuries vary from one game to another. For instance, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), in 2020, bicycling accounted for about 426,000 injuries. The NSC also reported that exercise – both with and without equipment – accounted for 378,000 injuries. While basketball players reported 214,847 injuries in 2020, soccer players had 81,452 injuries the same year.

Acupuncture for Sports Injuries Treatment

It is not uncommon to see medics use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat sports injuries because they help manage pain and swelling. However, NSAIDs have side effects, such as headaches, acetaminophen liver toxicity, drowsiness, allergic reactions, gastrointestinal side effects, stomach ulcers, and in some rare cases, it leads to strokes, heart failure and heart attacks. Well, this is where acupuncture steps in. Years of research have shown that acupuncture for sports injury helps treat sports injuries and you don’t have to worry about any side effects.

Besides, other reasons why you should opt for acupuncture include:

  • It is actually effective and helps you recover faster
  • Acupuncture prevents sports injuries
  • It improves your motion and flexibility
  • The traditional therapy enhances your performance
  • Acupuncture improves concentration and reduces performance anxiety

acupuncture sport medicine

Thankfully, there is strong evidence that many athletes and medics are turning to the treatment option in an austere environment. This is chiefly because narcotic pain medications are often not available or have side effects like sedation or constipation. In one 2020 systematic review, researchers found out that acupuncture can relieve short-term pain and help athletes recover from several dysfunctions. They listed some sports injuries that acupuncture for sports injuries can treat as femoral acetabular impingement, ganglion cysts, sports hernia, and lateral meniscus rupture. Despite all the numerous benefits of acupuncture, many sportsmen and sportswomen aren’t fully taking advantage of the Chinese therapy.

Which Famous Athlete Endorsed Acupuncture?

Here are some of the A-list athletes who use acupuncture:

  1. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: In February 2021, actor and former wrestler Dwayne Johnson took to his Instagram page to share some of his pictures where he underwent an acupuncture treatment. The actor noted that even though he looked “passed out drunk like a buffalo”, he was deeply grateful that he was having “quiet healing/recovering moments”. The former wrestler revealed some of the injuries he has had over the years to include ruptured Achilles’ tendon, torn quadriceps off his pelvis, and 2 low back disc ruptures and advised all his fans to take care of their bodies.
  2. Martell Webster: If you love basketball, then you should know famous NBA player Martell Webster. For someone who doesn’t know him, Mr. Webster played for Portland, Minnesota and Washington between 2005 and 2015. His best season was in 2012 – 2013 when he kicked off the 62 games for the Wizards and averaged 11.4 points in each game. Well, Webster made this list because he endorsed the use of the traditional therapy when he said, “I am sold on acupuncture.” He also revealed that he goes for the Chinese therapy before every game.
  3. Allan James Burnett: Former professional baseball pitcher AJ Burnett also believes that the traditional treatment is a vital aspect of life. He disclosed that he received regular acupuncture treatments, adding that the treatment has helped him go far in his career. Burnett revealed that pitchers were vulnerable to injuries around their shoulders, elbow and muscle. However, acupuncture can help them extend their professional career.
  4. DeeDee Trotter: As a former NCAA national champion and two-time Olympic medalist, DeeDee Trotter became a famous athlete in the US and beyond. Interestingly, she is an unrepentant advocate of acupuncture. During the 2012 London Olympics, she even had her acupuncturist from Chattanooga in Tennessee accompany her to the games. That, no doubt, sent across a strong message of how much the athlete values acupuncture. Her acupuncturist even brought his equipment to the track and treated her during her training session.


In truth, being actively involved in sports eventually makes one vulnerable to sports injuries. The good thing is that acupuncture has been used over the centuries to treat such injuries. As discussed in this article, a plethora of famous players have openly acknowledged that they use acupuncture for sports injuries to enhance their on-pitch performance. Whether you just love sports or you are a professional athlete, you can take a cue from these popular athletes to stand out (in your career). At Zhou Wellness, we help you get the most out of your game by giving you an effective acupuncture treatment in Florida and beyond. So, contact us now to learn more.


  1. Heitz D. Everything you need to know about sports Injuries and rehab. Revised November 9, 2018. Accessed May 6, 2022.
  2. Lee JW, Lee JH, Kim SY. Use of acupuncture for the treatment of sports – related injuries in athletes: A systematic review of case reports. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Nov 6; 17(21):8226.
  3. Sports injuries. Better Health Channel. Accessed May 5, 2022.
  4. Facts + Statistics: Sports injuries. Insurance Information Institute. Accessed May 6, 2022.
  5. Bell EA, Falconi A. Acupuncture for the treatment of sports injuries in an austere environment. Curr Sports Med Rep. Mar-Apr 2016; 15(2): 111-5.
  6. What sports cause the most injuries? Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine. Revised September 22, 2021. Accessed May 7, 2022.
  7. Davis CP. Sports injuries: types, treatments, and prevention. Revised May 5, 2021. Accessed May 6, 2022.
  8. Gentil L. Treatment of sport injuries with acupuncture: A literature review. Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte. 2018 July; 24(4) 316 – 321.
  9. 6 reasons athletes should get acupuncture. Morningside Acupuncture. Accessed May 6, 2022.
  10. UK’s National Health Service. Accessed May 7, 2022.