I have had a long involvement in sport both as a player and coach, particularly in hockey. My father was a club and national coach and I (funnily enough) have spent the last 12 years being a club and county coach for junior players in Oxfordshire.

Over the years I have a had a steady stream of 12-18 year olds come to me with sports injuries. Most of them are hockey related but I have also had a fair share of football, cricket, gymnastics and athletics related injuries.

Acupuncture is often the best intervention for acute/inflamed traumas. When you have been hurt and there is swelling and inflammation it is not possible to physically mobilise the body without causing more pain. Acupuncture however can remove pain and inflammation without any need to mobilise or manipulate muscles and joints. This makes it a  very useful therapy, after ice, rest, compression etc. to begin the healing process.

Most cases I treat are typically sprains, bruises, and pulled muscles either from falling awkwardly or from being hit by a hard ball. In some cases I also treat ‘elite athletes’ who have recurring muscle problems through over-training. Some young gymnasts train 4 hours a day 5 days a week! I often work hand in hand with a physiotherapist for players with big demands on their bodies as acupuncture alone is not enough.

I also see players who have been brought to a halt with growing pains.

Sometimes these pains have labels such as Osgood Sclatters disease which affects the patella and knee, particularly in adolescents who are highly active and going through puberty. Acupuncture can really help with pain and restriction in these cases, and I have seen many promising players continue their sport at a high level despite these problems.

There are of course injuries and muscle traumas that need careful management and often proper rest in order to get better. Acupuncture cannot miraculously restore a body that has been punished for too long!

But in many cases superficial sports injuries in children/young adults respond fast to acupuncture. This is partly because acupuncture is so well suited to this kind of trauma, and also because children and young adults have the capacity to move on quickly from trauma with the appropriate intervention.