How is Acupuncture used in Sports Medicine? - Dr. Hilary Patzer, L.Ac.

Which might be different than how acupuncture is used for the general public. For sports medicine, acupuncture is awesome for relieving muscle tension. All of those knots you feel, those are adhesions in the muscle and acupuncture can go and blow them up and get the muscle fibers to realign. It’s great for joint pain, inflammation, blood getting you ready for the game. Or inflammation, bringing you down after the game. You have built up lactic acid and inflammation. It’s really good for helping to control stress. Even if, you don’t know it is. You get off the table, and it’s what I call “acupuncture drunk” where you get off, and you’re just kinda, good. For pain management, it can help shorten the duration of time it could take for a patient to heal. It’s really good for Tendnosis, Tendinitis, Headache. Acupuncture is fantastic for a concussion. So as you can see the list goes on and on.

If an athlete is having trouble with digestion that’s also something I look at. Or if they are not sleeping well, that is something I look for because then they are not performing at the top level. 

I work on pain management, inflammation, flexibility, sleep, muscle tone - all of that with them. 

Some people would probably wonder, “Well, how does that work to bring an acupuncturist in?” I work synergistically with the whole medical training staff. All the trainers, all the ortho docs, general docs, the chiropractors, the massage therapist who’s there. We all work together and communicate about what the athlete is experiencing and how we can all help that. 

A couple of times a week I go down to Winter Park, and the guys are booked for me. I always see the injured guys who are on the list. And then the guys who aren’t injured or maybe aren’t as injured will see me at my studio. After that, I communicate back to the head athletic trainer what I did and how the treatment went so that he always has his finger on the pulse for what’s going on for these multi-million dollar bodies that we are all trying desperately to keep healthy and keep on the winning side of the game.

Do you always work in the same way with every athlete or is it different?

I have a huge, so it’s just whatever they need at the time that they need it. Even if I’m treating the same guy day to day and he has the same issue I’m probably going to treat it differently because his body is reacting differently and presenting differently.

About Dr. Hilary Patzer

Dr. Hilary Patzer, L.Ac. is a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist in MN. Being an athlete herself and having worked with pro and elite athletes since 2009, she believes that it takes a fusion of sports medicine, holistic healing, and manual therapies to keep people performing at their best. This video is part of our Educational Series at Trailhead Health, where our community of amazing Doctors and Practitioners share their experiences to help answer your health-related questions.