Being a child or teen athlete is an exciting time! At this age bodies tend to be strong and supple and the sheer enthusiasm of being young and motivated can create some extraordinary athletic performances. Child and teen sports are also fantastic for social growth and bonding. So what happens when your child is sidelined with an injury?
Injuries are even more frustrating for kids than they are for adults. As adults we can focus on a careful recovery. However, for kids with short sports seasons and the high importance of social participation, athletic achievement, and physical movement, sitting out with an injury can be absolutely excruciating.
The good news is that for conditions like muscle pain and tendinitis, Chinese medicine has quite a few minimally invasive options to get your child back to playing sports at a high level.
For children who are willing to try hair-thin acupuncture needles, acupuncture is highly effective at reducing inflammation, speeding the healing process, and reducing muscle tension. A few carefully placed thin acupuncture needles can rather immediately reduce local inflammation, allowing chronically tight and inflamed tendons to gently release. While it may take several treatments for tendons to fully release and be ready for high-level sports performance, acupuncture is typically very helpful in enabling this healing to occur.
There are other Chinese medicine modalities that help with the tight muscles that are causing and contributing to tendinitis. One method is called gua sha, which is essentially a form of softly scraping the skin and underlying muscles to enable the muscle tissue adhesions to release. This can be performed at varying degrees of intensity depending on how severe the muscle tension is and what level of pressure feels manageable to the child.
Another wonderful option for reducing muscle tension and enabling improved healing is cupping. Cupping is an ancient form of therapy used in many cultures to release muscle pain and tightness. A glass cup is placed over the skin and suction is applied so that the muscle tissues are gently pulled apart — like a reverse massage. Creating space between the muscle fibers separates some of the adhesions and allows blood and lymph to circulate more thoroughly through the affected area to enable healing and to remove cellular waste products.
Combined, using acupuncture, gua sha, and cupping (or a few of these modalities) can really speed the healing of child and teen tendinitis in locations such as shoulders, knees, elbows, and ankles. It’s also good for conditions such as Osgood Schlatter disease in which the patellar ligament becomes inflamed. If you’re curious about how Chinese medicine can help your injured child, call my clinic for a free consultation. Here’s to your child’s health!