Athletes will try anything to beat pain and get back in the game. For the most part, that means taking drugs that carry harmful or annoying side effects or, in the worst of cases, undergoing surgery. But doctors at Columbia University Medical Center see real promise in acupuncture. “Lots of cyclists suffer from pelvic pain, “says Dr. Christopher Winfree, a neurosurgeon at Columbia and the director of Columbia’s Center for Chronic Pelvic Pain. “Sitting on a bike for a long time can cause lots of nerve damage. In the past I’d often have to operate, but since I began prescribing acupuncture two years ago, I’ve seen 100 patients and haven’t performed a single operation. This shows a lot of promise for other sports-related pain.” It’s well known that acupuncture, which is sometimes covered by insurance, releases endorphines that kill pain, but doctors aren’t certain why it works so well for pelvic pain. “Right now our evidence for acupuncture working for chronic pelvic pain is purely anecdotal,” says Winfree. “But that anecdotal evidence is going to put me out of business.” This article originally appreared in the July/August Issue of Men’s Journal. by Pablo Calvi. At AcuSportsMed Wellness Clinic in Boulder, CO we specialize in working with athletes for these particular pain issues. For more information call 720-201-2449.