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Acupuncture, your secret weapon to advance in climbing

Updated: Mar 27, 2022

Did you know that climbing with injuries can change your motor patterns and lead to muscle compensations which could cause more pain than the original injury does?

While a nerve reflex prevents the complete contraction of an injured muscle, other muscles that have similar and/or different functions will be activated to compensate for the compromised muscle. Since they do not work in their optimal axis, it results in significant muscle tension.

You don't have to climb with a slap on your fingers, wrists, or an elbow strap(with some exceptions). It might bring you a style and appear as a warrior’s patch, but admit it, it is annoying.

Facts about climbing injuries:

  • Half of the injuries in climbing concern the hand and wrist;

  • The main injury is tendonitis (or tenosynovitis) of the finger flexors;

  • The following are tendonitis (or tenosynovitis) of the elbow, rotator cuff and biceps;

  • Labrum tear is very common, but it is poorly recognized;

  • Sprained ankle is also very common, but usually it is linked to accidents.

For climbers at intermediate and advanced levels, pain (in the finger, wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck or back) is the most important limiting factor in training progress. Decreasing training intensity or taking long breaks to allow healing is not always possible or ideal for rock climbing, as it is a sport that requires regular practices.

Most people continue to train and climb with their injury when it occurs, and see if it passes on its own. However, when there is no rapid improvement, it is necessary to consult before the injury worsens and forces you to stop your practice for a prolonged period. Acupuncture can help to speed up your healing both locally and globally, so that you can continue to train and practice without slowing down significantly.

If you are a climber, you know that our muscles are often knotted with a lot of tension. It is easy to release them with an acupuncture treatment by deactivating what we call “trigger points”. Not only do they provide immediate relief, but also they rehabilitate the muscles to their optimal function. Painful muscles that are inhibited by a nerve reflex can also be "reactivated" with electro-acupuncture, a common and effective practice, where we put electricity on the needles to increase the effect of the treatment. It might sound scary, but rest assured, it does not cause any pain.


Some exercises to do at home to prevent injuries

Pectoralis minor and latissimus dorsi stretch:

Lie down on a foam roller aligned under your spine. Cross your arms, bend your elbows 90 ° and slowly release them until they touch the floor. Repeat the maneuver at 105 °, then 120 °. Finally, put your hands in prayer in front of the torso then raise them above your head and touch the ground if you can.

Subscapularis Stretch with a Stick:

Stand with your arm out and your forearm pointing upwards at 90 degrees. Place a broomstick in your hand and behind your elbow. With your other hand pull the bottom of the broomstick forward.

Levator Scapulae and Upper Trapezius Stretch:

Turn your head 90 ° and hold the position for 30 seconds on each side while taking deep and long breaths. Tilt your head to one side, hold for 30 seconds while taking deep and long breaths; repeat on the opposite side. Finally, combine the 2 movements: turn your head 90° and then tilt it as if to look at the side pocket of your pants. hold the position for 30 seconds while taking long and deep breaths; repeat on the opposite side.


Don’t let your pain and injury hold you back. Book an appointment now with your acupuncturist to keep practicing and enjoying the coolest full body workout on earth: Rock Climbing!

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