FROM SORE MUS­CLES to more se­ri­ous con­di­tions, a mul­ti­tude of aches, pains and in­juries can af­flict the recre­ational ath­lete. In many cases, doc­tors pre­scribe the RIC▸ elixir (rest, ice, com­pres­sion and el­e­va­tion) and maybe a few ses­sions of phys­i­cal ther­apy. But al­ter­na­tive op­tions abound. Some, such as chi­ro­prac­tic, have be­come more main­stream. Oth­ers, such as yoga ther­apy and tra­di­tional Chi­nese tech­niques, have only re­cently caught on. Won­der­ing what might pro­vide some re­lief for you? Here are some com­mon sports in­juries, and al­ter­na­tive treat­ments that ad­dress them.

IN­JURY: Tennis el­bow TREAT­MENT: Chi­ro­prac­tic ad­just­ment and as­so­ci­ated ther­a­pies

You don’t have to be Ser­ena Wil­liams to be af­fected by this com­mon con­di­tion, which stems from repet­i­tive grip­ping, es­pe­cially in­volv­ing the thumb and first two fin­gers. It’s an in­flam­ma­tion of the ten­dons that join the mus­cles of the fore­arm out­side the el­bow. It can be so painful that shak­ing hands or twist­ing a door­knob can make you wince.

Chi­ro­prac­tors of­fer op­tions in­clud­ing elec­tri­cal mus­cle stim­u­la­tion, ul­tra­sound and sports mas­sage, which can pro­vide quicker heal­ing when stan­dard treat­ments don’t work. “We also look at the in­tegrity of the joint and check to see if there is a re­stric­tion with the el­bow joint,” says Joe Lewis, a chi­ro­prac­tor at Zas­trow Chi­ro­prac­tic Clinic.

IN­JURY: Calf strain TREAT­MENT: Laser treat­ments, dry needling

Calf strains can oc­cur in run­ners who quickly boost their mileage or in sports in­volv­ing fre­quent push­ing off. Laser treat­ments stim­u­late the pro­duc­tion of adeno­sine triphos­phate, which enhances cell mem­brane per­me­abil­ity and can speed in­jury re­cov­ery. Dry needling, an­other treat­ment op­tion, in­volves the in­ser­tion of a thin fil­a­ment nee­dle into a mus­cle’s trig­ger point to stim­u­late heal­ing.

IN­JURY: Shoul­der strain and sprain TREAT­MENT: Yoga ther­apy

Many ac­tiv­i­ties can re­sult in shoul­der strains and sprains, in­clud­ing swim­ming, tennis, weightlift­ing and throw­ing sports such as base­ball and soft­ball. Some find re­lief with yoga ther­apy, us­ing pos­tures and med­i­ta­tion to help the body heal. This is prac­ticed one-on-one, with the prac­ti­tioner con­sid­er­ing the pa­tient’s habits and life­style. “I look at what the per­son is do­ing day-to-day.... How is their sleep? Are they man­ag­ing stress? Do they eat prop­erly?” says Biz Cas­mer, a ther­a­pist at INVIVO. “My goal is to help peo­ple be­come more aware of their im­bal­ances – things they can cor­rect and con­trol.”

IN­JURY: Mus­cle sore­ness TREAT­MENT: Cup­ping

Cup­ping, also known as my­ofas­cial de­com­pres­sion, was used dur­ing the 2016 Sum­mer Olympics by swim­mer Michael Phelps. Pro­po­nents say it’s ef­fec­tive for tight mus­cles of the neck, back and legs. In cup­ping, a cot­ton ball is lit on fire in­side a glass or med­i­cal-grade sil­i­cone cup. The ball is then re­moved and the cup in­verted and placed on a pa­tient’s skin. The heat cre­ates a vac­uum that is said to pull im­pu­ri­ties out of the body.

IN­JURY: Ili­otib­ial band syn­drome TREAT­MENT: Acupunc­ture

IT band syn­drome is an overuse in­jury of the leg, from hip to knee. In run­ners, it can re­sult from worn-out shoes and un­even sur­faces. For bi­cy­clists, im­proper seat po­si­tion can con­trib­ute. Acupunc­ture can of­fer re­lief. In­sert­ing nee­dles in­creases blood flow to lo­cal tis­sues, help­ing the body heal. “You of­ten don’t have to nee­dle the ex­act spot,” says Krista McCain, an acupunc­tur­ist at Hun­dred Grasses.

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