Overtraining Syndrome

Overtraining is common among swimmers. Between 10% and 21% of swimmers experience signs of overtraining during the course of a competitive season.44

Early signs of overtraining may include recurring minor illnesses, changes in sleep patterns and nutritional habits, and overall mood instability. Female swimmers are often susceptible to the female athlete's triad: eating disorders, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis.45

Overtraining syndrome develops when training outpaces rest and recovery. The symptoms may include behavioral changes such as increased or decreased appetite, sleep disturbances, general fatigue, inability to concentrate, irritability, and loss of motivation. Other physiologic problems include nausea, diarrhea, changes in bowel habits, frequent colds or flu-like symptoms, and increased resting heart rate. Body weight may change according to the changes in eating habit. Musculoskeletal problems such as muscle strains, chronic muscle soreness, and minor ligamentous sprains may occur because of reduced muscle efficiency.43,46

Dry needling acupuncture is very effective for preventing and treating overtraining syndrome because it improves both musculoskeletal physiology and neuroendocrine physiology. Athletes should receive weekly de-stressing treatment before any signs develop. If symptoms appear, two treatment sessions should be provided. The treatment protocol should include restoration of homeostasis and symptomatic treatment. Other conventional modalities should be considered as well.

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