An Introduction to Sports Medicine Acupuncture®

Dr. Jay Bulloch, DAOM, LAc, C.SMA

Acupuncture has been used to successfully treat musculoskeletal pain for many centuries. More recent scientific research has not only verified the physiological effects and benefits of acupuncture, it has also provided valuable insight and knowledge that can be used to enhance the therapeutic benefits of this effective treatment. Continued research has provided greater insight that enables clinicians to address the root cause of pain and injuries. Sports Medicine Acupuncture® is a groundbreaking and unique modern strategy that combines modern science, cutting-edge sports medicine, and traditional holistic medical principals from Chinese medicine to revolutionize the way we address painful conditions related to musculoskeletal injury and dysfunction. While developed for athletes, Sports Medicine Acupuncture is effective for all types of musculoskeletal pain, regardless of cause–be it playing sport, working out at the gym, poor posture, or from long hours sitting in front of a computer. By combing modern research on body mechanics along with the best from both Western sports medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, Sports Medicine Acupuncture provides more comprehensive and long lasting benefits than either system of medicine can on its own.

Sports Medicine Acupuncture incorporates a number of principals and modalities into a unified system. What makes it unique and more sophisticated than other methods of acupuncture or sports medicine is the combined use of comprehensive postural and functional assessment and specific treatment techniques of muscle motor points, myofascial pathways, and traditional acupuncture channel systems. The motor points are located at the central aspect of the muscle where the motor nerve enters the muscle. They have the greatest influence on electrical or nerve activity, and, as a result, the greatest impact on pain and dysfunction of that muscle. The myofascial pathways are sheets of fabric-like connective tissue that functionally integrate the entire musculoskeletal system. Stability, strain, tension, fixation, structural resilience, and postural disparities are all transmitted through the myofascial network.

Treatment of muscle motor points is more effective than more commonly used trigger points. Trigger points are defined as hyperirritable spots in the muscle that trigger a characteristic referred pain or tenderness. There can be multiple painful trigger points on any given muscle or region. Various medical practitioners often treat trigger points with injections, electrical stimulation, or other manual therapies to help ease pain. While treatment of trigger points may seem to be a logical choice, over stimulation of multiple trigger points is not only an unfocused and potentially less effective treatment strategy, it may also increase pain in the short term. In addition to resolving pain and tenderness of multiple trigger points with the treatment of a single point, acupuncture of muscle motor points can achieve additional therapeutic benefits not provided by trigger point treatments.

In addition to having a greater influence on pain than trigger points, acupuncture of muscle motor points can also strengthen weak muscles (by improving or restoring nerve signaling to the muscle), increase range of motion, and help change postural disparities at the root of acute muscle spasms and many chronic painful conditions. When combined with treatment of the myofascial pathways, better short-term and long-term outcomes can be achieved compared to more traditional methods of acupuncture or conventional Western treatments. While other forms of treatment, including acupuncture, may provide some pain relief, Sports Medicine Acupuncture goes further to understand how and why the injury that is causing pain occurred in the first place.

What sets Sports Medicine Acupuncture apart from conventional Western treatments and other systems of acupuncture is the systematic evaluation of postural and movement disparities that result in pain and injuries, along with comprehensive treatment of both musculoskeletal imbalances and internal physiology that supports the healing process. Rather than just addressing the symptom, Sports Medicine Acupuncture gets to the root of the problem and treats that as well.

A truly integrated and holistic approach, one that goes beyond just symptomatic treatment, Sports Medicine Acupuncture represents a significant evolution in acupuncture and pain treatment. Acupuncture is the only form of treatment that can address muscle motor points, myofascial dysfunction, and regulation of the autonomic nervous system to regulate all bodily functions and systems with one modality, and Sports Medicine Acupuncture is the only system that has seamlessly integrated all of these components into a unified system. By treating the person and body as a whole integrated system, Sports Medicine Acupuncture provides more than just symptomatic pain relief. It addresses the root causes of pain and musculoskeletal dysfunction. As a result, acute and chronic pain can be resolved, and repetitive or future injuries can be prevented, providing superior long-term results and benefits.

Sports Medicine Acupuncture requires specialized knowledge and training that is not taught within the College and University systems. While it is achieving greater worldwide recognition and respect, there are currently only a relative few doctors and licensed acupuncturists who have been specially trained and are fully certified in Sports Medicine Acupuncture. Dr. Jay Bulloch is one of that pioneering group of acupuncture physicians in the world who is fully certified in this groundbreaking method. Dr. Bulloch will not just address your symptoms of pain, he will perform a full holistic evaluation and help you to understand why your injury and pain occurred so that you are able to achieve superior long-term results and prevent future injuries and painful conditions.