Human beings are pretty creative in the ways in which they can injure themselves. Tears, sprains, fractures, pulls, strains, and generalized pain are but some of the sports-related injuries that can be acquired by professional athletes, weekend runners, and recreational sportsmen alike.
In general, these types of injuries are not the result of willful ignorance or a lack of skills. Injuries are sometimes due to incorrect form, poor body mechanics or improper technique. Because athletes, particularly those in public roles, have to practice their sport many times a day for long stretches of time, the repetitive movements they endure can cause terrible pain. If you add overuse of muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments to that, a world of hurt awaits. And adding yet more insult to actual injury, physical and emotional exhaustion can lead to a lack of focus, misplaced feet and bad form all the way around.
Treating Sports Injuries
Because of the ubiquitousness of sports injuries, the number of specialists trained in sports medicine has increased. As such, different practitioners will recommend different types of care. Nevertheless, the following treatments tend to be the standard set of therapeutic options offered to those with sports injuries.
RICE, Medication, and Surgical Interventions
Though its efficacy is debatable, many patients are encouraged to implement R.I.C.E.- Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. It seems that some patients benefit from staying off the injured area while treating it with ice to help reduce swelling, while others further benefit from wrapping their injury and keeping it on a horizontal plane.
Some individuals utilize pain medications, such as anti-inflammatories and alternative medicines alone or in conjunction with R.I.C.E. Depending on the severity of the injury, surgical interventions may be warranted in order to maintain functionality. Surgery tends to be a last resort option, but it is important to know that if needed, it is an option worth exploring.
Whether before, after, or in place of the above treatments, physical therapy is frequently utilized to help strengthen injured areas, build muscle endurance, restore function, and serves as a preventative intervention. Physical therapy involves strengthening, stretching, and rehabilitative medicine. The goal of this therapy is not only to decrease pain and increase mobility, but to identify muscle weakness, immobility, and decreased flexibility. Additional objectives include, when possible, the avoidance of risky and sometimes dangerous surgical procedures. Our bodies learn to compensate for decreased functioning in one area by developing strength and mobility in the surrounding areas. If such can be accomplished safely, surgery, in certain cases, can be completely prevented.
Physical therapy can be performed in a variety of settings, including a medical office, hospital, or at home. Physical therapists evaluate and assess their patients and can prescribe specific movements, tools, and exercises that will help them recover. In time and with guidance, patients, whether professional athletes or casual walkers, can practice what they have been taught so that they can continue to strengthen and support their bodies and ultimately, prevent further injury.
Preventing and Managing Sports Related Injuries
In order to prevent injury, it is highly recommended that top athletes, beginner exercisers and everyone in between, warm up before engaging in exercise and remain mindful of repetitive movements and the impact they put on joints and muscles. Additionally, individuals should be taught how to maintain proper form, alignment, and body mechanics when engaging in any activity, from (HIIT) high intensity interval training, to basic yoga. Being aware of things such as foot placement and the ways in which your body responds to activity can greatly improve your personal safety when exercising and help you listen to your body so you can conduct yourself accordingly.
Injury prevention must also translate into taking breaks between workouts, whether that means days or longer, and not pushing yourself to work at levels that are simply not appropriate. Perhaps becoming a professional sportsman is in the cards, but even the pros have to start at the beginning! It is also vital that you stretch after your workouts, so as to maintain the flexibility and elasticity needed for successful, functional movement while your body is still warm.
Health Habits that Extend Beyond Sports
Stretching and exercising in ways that work for each person is important. Getting enough sleep, resting when necessary, staying hydrated, avoiding excessive alcohol, and eating well, are also critical to injury prevention. Your body needs to work like a well- oiled machine in order to be able to perform at peak levels. Good health habits are the proverbial oil your body needs whether you exercise or not. You are far more likely to hurt yourself in the absence of these behaviors however, because your body is simply not primed to function as it should.
Healing and Recovery for The Long Haul
Personalized, ongoing physiotherapy exercises and treatment are often necessary in order to reap the benefits that physical therapy affords. Continued support as well as your conviction to personal care and recovery can truly make or break a good prognosis. With your welfare at stake, the team at Body Systems Wellness, headed by Dr. Shahen Kurestian, DC in Glendale, California, is prepared to be a partner in your care