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Frequently Asked Questions

Sports Medicine Acupuncture® FAQs

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the insertion of hair-thin, solid, filiform needles into specific points on the body in order to cause a physiological change. The earliest known classical text on Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, the Huang Di Nei Jing or Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic, was written around 250BC and was already several hundred pages long, indicating that Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine had probably been around for quite some time before Nei Jing was written.

What is Sports Medicine Acupuncture®? How is it different than regular acupuncture?

Sports Medicine Acupuncture® is an integrative approach of assessment and treatment that combines both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Sports Medicine. San Diego Sports Acupuncture has two licensed Sports Medicine Acupuncture® practitioners on staff, Sean Davis and Uzi Chen.

How does Acupuncture actually work?

Some of the mechanisms of acupuncture are still being researched today. That said, we do know that acupuncture affects prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are diverse hormone-like compounds that control everything from inflammation and fevers to menstrual cramps and digestive health. Some MRI studies have also shown acupuncture to affect specific areas of the brain. Sports Medicine Acupuncture® works on prostaglandins while also targeting muscle motor points. A motor point is where a muscle is innervated by the spinal cord. When the motor point is stimulated by an acupuncture needle, it discharges the electricity stored in that muscle causing it to return to a neutral position, restoring range of motion, and reducing tightness and pain.

What can Acupuncture treat?

The World Health Organization lists 28 disorders for which there is sufficient research to show Acupuncture is an effective treatment modality and over 60 more for which there is already positive evidence, but more studies needed to make a final determination. Sports Medicine Acupuncture® can treat any and all conditions related to musculoskeletal pain, injury, or dysfunction.

How long is a Sports Medicine Acupuncture® treatment?

The first treatment is typically 60-90 minutes depending on your individual diagnosis. Follow up treatments are typically 60 minutes. However, if your condition requires more time and we are able to give you that time, we will gladly do as much as your body can handle to reach maximum therapeutic benefit.

How many sessions before I experience results?

Many patients see results after the first treatment. The majority of patients within the first 2-3 sessions. And old injuries or severe injuries may take up to 5-6 sessions.

How should I prepare for treatment?

Arrive ready to twist, turn, squat, and wiggle around. Comfortable clothing is recommended, but not required. If the practitioner needs access to a part of your body that is covered by your clothing they will leave the treatment room and provide a drape.

What should I expect during my first Sports Medicine Acupuncture® treatment?

The provider will ask you a series of questions about your condition. They will use this knowledge to provide a comprehensive exam which may involve taking measurements, analyzing posture, analyzing squat mechanics, and specialized orthopedic tests to help them determine exactly which tissue is damaged and why it became damaged. The provider will then needle the appropriate tissues to decrease pain and restore range of motion and function. After needling, the provider may provide one or two of several modalities including: postural corrective exercises, soft tissue release, cupping, scraping, PNF stretching, taping, and herbal poultices or liniments.

Can acupuncture be used to treat back pain?

With Sports Medicine Acupuncture® we get excellent results treating all forms of back pain and disc herniation.

Can acupuncture be used to treat neck pain?

Acupuncture is an appropriate modality for treating all forms of neck pain. At San Diego Sports Acupuncture, back and neck pain are the two most common injuries we treat. Two of the more common forms of neck pain we treat are posture related and whiplash.

Can acupuncture be used to treat shoulder pain?

How much education is required to become a licensed acupuncturist?

A Masters of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine or equivalent is the minimum requirement to sit for the California Acupuncture Licensing Exam. At Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, where we graduated, this is an 11-semester, year-round program that takes approximately 4 years to complete.

Who should get Sports Medicine Acupuncture®?

If you have suffered pain or an injury, or if you’d like to come in to be screened before pain or an injury occurs, then you are a good fit for our services.

What distinguishes a regular acupuncturist from someone who is Certified Sports Medicine Acupuncture®?

After receiving their Master's degree and passing the California Acupuncture License Exam, the Licensed Acupuncturist may enroll in the Sports Medicine Acupuncture® Certification (SMAC) program. This program is approximately 250 hours of additional education, including 15 intensive classes and 4 cadaver labs, and requires at least 1 year minimum to complete. At the end of the curriculum the SMAC graduate must take multiple written exams and pass a practical exam before they can be considered Certified in Sports Medicine Acupuncture®.

Are acupuncture needles sterile?

Yes. All needles are single use sterile needles that go into a sharps container immediately after use for proper disposal.

Can Sports Medicine Acupuncture® increase my performance in sports?

Absolutely. All sports revolve around proper movement and we are movement specialists.

Can acupuncture decrease my injury time?

Absolutely. To take an extreme example, we often see patients whose recovery has plateaued and who are no longer making progress or healing at all. After a few treatments, these patients are able to break through the plateau and the process of recovery is accelerated.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture is not like getting an injection or having blood drawn. There may be a fleeting moment of mild discomfort, but if you’ve ever had a deep tissue massage, acupuncture is like a walk in the park in comparison. It is very common for our patients to fall asleep on the treatment table after we finish inserting the needles.

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