Tuesday, September 19, 2017

4 Things Athletes Can Do To Prevent Injuries

Canadian Chiropractic Association
 
With the summer winding down and Fall sports programs opening up, it’s time to consider getting the most out of your athletic preparation, injury prevention, and treatment.

Whether you’re new to a sport or are a seasoned athlete, here are four steps you can take to prevent injuries:

1.    Warm Up: More than 30% of injuries seen in sports medical clinics are injuries to skeletal muscles.1 Warm ups can 1) improve muscle dynamics to reduce injury and 2) prepare the body for the stresses of exercise. Warm ups may even help you move faster. They should be completed at least 15 minutes before any exercise to maximize the benefits. The warm up should also include a variety of both “static” and “dynamic” stretches. “Static” refers to stretches that are held in a certain position for a period of time (i.e., knee to chest). “Dynamic” refers to stretches that are completed while moving (i.e., forward lunges).

2.    Monitor Food and Water Intake: Current studies show that adequate intake of fluids and nutrients during exercise increases an athlete’s performance.2 During high physical activity, electrolytes (like sports drinks), carbohydrates, and proteins are an important part of your pre- and post-workout routine in order to maintain body weight, replenish the energy used by your muscles, provide adequate protein for the healing of tissue, and reduce the risk of dehydration

3.    Rest: Overuse injuries are among the most common injuries seen in sports medicine. Overtraining is a phenomenon that occurs when athletes exercise too much with too little recovery time in-between.3 Overtraining presents with a wide variety of factors including decreased sports performance, suppression of the immune system, muscle damage, decrease in muscle energy stores, as well as fatigue. It is important that athletes follow a program that provides optimal recovery time between training periods.
 
4.    Recognize Injury: Athletes are prone to injuries; whether it’s from training or practice to playoff games, athletes are putting a high demand on their bodies and are expecting a lot in return. This can result in sprains, strains, restricted movements, back pain, neck pain, and swelling just to name a few. It is important that athletes recognize and seek treatment for small injuries to avoid more serious damage. Evidence has suggested that chiropractic therapy can help with these physical ailments using a combination of therapies, including soft tissue therapy, spinal manipulation, electrical modalities, rehabilitation exercises, and athletic taping.

Recreational, amateur, and professional athletes alike have sought chiropractors to be part of their healthcare team.

Chiropractors working with athletes have traditionally been perceived as being spine, muscle, and nervous system experts called upon to treat sports-related injuries. However, treating spine, muscle, and nervous system injuries is not all that chiropractors can do—they may act as emergency care providers, pre-participation examiners, and even as sports injury specialists who work with coaches and other health professionals for the overall benefit of the athlete. These roles all fall under the umbrella the sports healthcare.4

For information on what activities and exercises best suit your needs, ask your family chiropractor.


References 1. Woods K, Bishop P, Jones E. Warm-up and stretching in the prevention of muscular injury. Sports Med. 2007; 37(12): 1089-99. PMID: 18027995. 2. American College of Sports Medicine; American Dietetic Association; Dietitians of Canada. Joint Position Statement: nutrition and athletic performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000; 32(12): 2130-45. PMID: 11128862. 3. Fry RW, Morton AR, Keast D. Overtraining in athletes: an update. Sports Med. 1991; 12(1): 32-65. PMID: 1925188. 4. Miners AL. Chiropractic treatment and the enhancement of sport performance: a narrative literature review. JCCA. 2010; 54(4): 210-21. PMCID: PMC2989393.

 
 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Rehabilitation Of Ankle Sprains

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)

An ankle sprain is a very common injury that can happen to athletes, non-athletes, children and adults.  A sprain refers to a stretching or tearing of a ligament.  Ligaments are tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect one bone to another.  They help stabilize joints, preventing excessive movement.  One or more ligaments can be injured at the same time.  Sprained ankles often result from a fall, a sudden twist, or a blow that forces the ankle joint out of its normal position.  This may occur while participating in sports and recreational activities, wearing inappropriate shoes, or running, walking or stepping on uneven surfaces.

Inversion ankle sprains constitute 90% of all ankle sprains.  This type of injury occurs when the foot is forced inward (inversion) and produces most of the pain on the outer side of the ankle.  Eversion ankle sprains are less common and occur when the foot is forced outward (eversion), causing the most pain on the inner side of the ankle.  A high ankle sprain is a unique and separate injury in which the ligaments around and above the ankle joint are injured.  This is known as a syndesmotic sprain.

Pain and swelling are the most common symptoms of an ankle sprain.  There may be bruising over the area of injury which may spread down into the foot towards the toes several days following the injury.  Individuals may also experience difficulty walking or weight bearing on their injured ankle.  Most ankle sprains can be managed conservatively.  However, obvious evidence or suspicion of a broken bone, fracture or joint dislocation necessitates the need for emergency medical care.

Initial conservative management of ankle sprains should follow the P.R.I.C.E. principle (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).  The P.R.I.C.E. principle helps decrease pain and swelling and can be used during the rehabilitative process as needed.  Additional treatment options include electrotherapy, ultrasound, laser therapy, taping, bracing, soft tissue techniques, and manual mobilization to assist in returning to full functioning.  Rehabilitative strategies should also include exercises that incorporate active range of motion, stretching and strengthening for the ankle joint and lower extremity, along with proprioceptive/balance training to minimize the risk of ankle instability and re-injury.

Assuming that proper rehabilitative strategies are employed, successful recovery from an ankle sprain injury will depend upon the severity of ligament damage.  Mild injuries usually heal completely without any residual consequence in 1 to 4 weeks.  Moderate injuries usually require 4 to 12 weeks to heal.  Severe injuries will take longer to heal.  In some circumstances, surgery may be required for severe ankle sprains.

An untreated ankle sprain may lead to chronic ankle instability.  This may also result in secondary foot, knee, hip, and back problems because of subtle changes in movement patterns.  If you are having difficulty with ankle pain, a qualified health professional can determine the cause of your pain and prescribe appropriate therapy and rehabilitation strategies specifically for your circumstance.  For more information, visit www.nhwc.ca.

This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Understanding Medical Acupuncture Treatment

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)

Acupuncture is a 2000-year-old Chinese treatment in which needles are inserted into specific points on the body.  The World Health Organization (WHO) lists approximately four-dozen different conditions that can legitimately be treated by acupuncture.   Acupuncture treatments can be particularly helpful for pain complaints such as:  muscular strains, joint sprains, arthritic pain, neck and low back pain, rotator cuff tendonitis, tennis elbow, hip, knee and leg pain, sciatica, bursitis, migraine and tension headaches.

The term "Medical Acupuncture" refers to acupuncture performed by a licensed health care professional who has training in the health sciences.  Practitioners of Medical Acupuncture derive the concepts of disease, dysfunction, and healing from the western biomedical understanding of pathology, anatomy, physiology and biochemistry.  Under this model, the act of inserting an acupuncture needle into the body is believed to result in the following:

·        Pain Control - Pain-blocking substances are released locally and by the central nervous system to suppress the transmission of pain.

·        Inflammation Control - Natural anti-inflammatory chemicals are released locally, and inflammation control centers are stimulated in other parts of the body.

·        Blood and Lymphatic Flow - Enhancement of blood and lymphatic flow locally and throughout the body allows for the delivery of fresh oxygen and the removal of injury debris from the injury site.

The needles used for acupuncture are much smaller than a standard hypodermic needle.  These needles are solid, not hollow, and have a finely tapered point as opposed to a bevelled cutting-edge point.  The sensations felt during needle insertion range from feeling nothing at all, to mild tingling, to slight numbness/achiness, to small electrical pulsations distant to the site of insertion.  All these sensations typically subside once the needles are removed.  It is common practice nowadays for practitioners to use sterile disposable needles that are discarded following treatment.

As with any health intervention, there is always a potential for side effects and adverse reactions.  The good news is that acupuncture performed by an experienced and knowledgeable practitioner is relatively safe and infrequently yields minor side effects.  These may include but are not limited to: a slight discoloration at the acupuncture site that is temporary and not dangerous; minor bleeding; nausea; short-term fatigue or drowsiness; or a short-term increase in pain before relief sets in.  An experienced and knowledgeable practitioner aims to avoid treatment of certain points during pregnancy, over wounded or infectious areas, to individuals who are hemophiliacs, and to individuals who have needle phobia.

Medical Acupuncture treatments can be safely and successfully employed to help promote healing and recovery from pain complaints including muscle and joint injuries.  Acupuncture treatments are also often utilized in conjunction with other rehabilitative strategies such as exercise prescription, manual adjusting and mobilization techniques, and soft tissue therapy.  For more information visit www.nhwc.ca.

This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Fitness Tips For Recreational Athletes

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)

Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.  Being active can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce blood pressure, build strong bones, relieve stress, and maintain flexibility and good posture.  Included below are some tips to help you protect your body and prevent injury so that you can get the most from your favourite activity this summer season.

1.    Warm-up and cool-down both before and after your game.  Include gentle stretching and range of motion exercises, as well as a brisk walk or gentle jog to loosen the muscles and joints.

2.    Improve your performance by including flexibility and strengthening exercises as part of your training and practice routine.  Muscles act as important shock absorbers and help prevent strains and sprains of vulnerable regions such as the back and neck, along with the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle joints.

3.    Nourish your body by staying hydrated.  Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after physical activity - even in colder weather.  Remember that once you are thirsty, you are already starting to dehydrate.  Dehydration affects your energy level and your physical functioning.

4.    Prepare for the elements.  Avoid sunburn which is a result of overexposure to the sun’s UV radiation and can contribute to certain skin cancers, and a premature aging and wrinkling of the skin.  To protect from sun exposure, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brim hat and light-colored clothing that covers your exposed skin.  Your eyes should also be protected with UV blocking sunglasses.  Outdoor activities and sports should be limited to the early morning or late afternoon when UV rays are not as strong.  Be cautious on cloudy days, as your skin is still susceptible to burn under these conditions.

5.    Learn the proper technique.  Learn the right technique for your sport from the beginning.  Using the wrong sport-specific technique can create incorrect muscle memory and can make it difficult to break bad habits.  Poor technique can also cause injury to your joints and muscles.

6.    Use the right equipment.  Make sure your equipment is the right fit, height and capacity for you to avoid a sport-related injury.  Recreational athletes should have their equipment professionally fitted and checked before starting out.

7.    Avoid over-training.  Too much.  Too fast.  Too soon.  Over-training is one of the most common causes of recreational athletic injuries.  Take your time and work up to it slowly before pushing yourself too hard.  Remember – rest is as important as training.  Take a training break and give your body a chance to recover.

In the event that you suffer a muscle or joint injury that does not subside, you should contact a licensed health professional.  For more information, visit www.nhwc.ca.  The author credits the Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) in the preparation of this educational information for use by its members and the public.

This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Choosing The Right Backpack For Your Children

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)

Carrying a poorly designed or overloaded backpack can place excessive weight on a child’s growing spinal column.  This type of daily physical stress can lead to irritation and injury of the spine, joints, and muscles, which can potentially result in postural changes, back pain, and headaches.
 
Parents and children can avoid injury by following these simple rules with respect to choosing, packing, and carrying a backpack.

1.    Pick the correct size:  Choose a backpack that is proportionate to body size and not larger than needed.  The top of the backpack should not extend higher than the top of the shoulder, and the bottom should not fall below the top of the hipbone.
 
2.    Choose lightweight material:  Select a backpack made of light material.  For example, nylon, vinyl or canvas instead of leather.

3.    Strap it up:  The shoulder straps should be at least two inches wide, adjustable, and padded.  Ensure that they do not cut into or fit too snugly around and under the arms.  A hip strap or waist belt helps to effectively redistribute as much as 50 to 70 percent of the weight off the shoulders and spine onto the pelvis, balancing the backpack weight more evenly.
 
4.    Padding goes a long way:  A backpack should have a padded back for added protection and comfort.  Pack odd-shaped items on the outside so they do not dig into the back.
 
5.    Pack it right:  Contents should be evenly distributed, with the heaviest items packed closest to the body.  This reduces the strain, as the weight is closer to the body’s centre of gravity.
 
6.    More pockets are better:  Choose a backpack that has several individual pockets instead of one large compartment.  This will help to distribute the weight evenly and keep contents from shifting.
 
7.   Wheels and handles:  Explore other backpack options such as a backpack with wheels and a pull handle for easy rolling.
 
8.    Weight is everything:  Backpacks should never exceed 15 percent of a secondary school child’s body weight or 10 percent of an elementary school child’s body weight.
 
9.    Handle with care:  Children should learn to squat or kneel to pick up their backpacks, and use their legs by bending at the knees and not twisting the back when lifting.  Backpacks can be placed on a counter, chair or table before they are put on.  Slinging backpacks on one side of the body may place excessive stress on the joints and muscles of the mid and lower back.
 
Parents should ask their kids to report any pain or other problems resulting from carrying a backpack.  If the pain is severe or persistent, seek care from a qualified health professional.  For more information, visit www.nhwc.ca.  The author credits the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA) in the preparation of this educational information for use by its members and the public.
 
This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Quick And Easy Stretches To Prevent Golf Injuries

Ontario Chiropractic Association

 
The strain and effort required to play golf should never be underestimated. Forgetting to warm up can cause unnecessary injury and an unwanted visit to a health professional.
 
Here are a few easy stretching techniques that can be done in 5 minutes to help you get in the game without the pain.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Defining Common Muscle And Joint Injuries

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
 
Physical injury to your muscles and joints can occur with workplace, household, sporting, and recreational activities.  Common mechanisms of injury include slip and fall or collision-impact type accidents, overstretching a body part, twisting awkwardly, or performing repetitive movements.  This can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint and/or muscle, leading to injuries such as sprains, strains, and contusions.
 
A sprain refers to a stretching or tearing of a ligament.  Ligaments are tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect one bone to another.  They help stabilize joints, preventing excessive movement.  One or more ligaments can be injured at the same time.  Common locations for sprains are the ankle, wrist, and knee joints.

A strain refers to a stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon.  Muscles are responsible for producing force and causing motion, whereas tendons are the tough fibrous extensions of muscle that attach to bone.  A strain injury can occur when the muscle-tendon complex suddenly or powerfully contracts, or when it is overstretched.  This is called an acute strain.  Overuse of certain muscles over time can lead to a chronic repetitive strain.  Strains are commonly referred to as “pulled muscles” or "tendinitis".  The shoulders, forearms, low back, and leg regions are common locations for strains to occur.

Contusions are commonly called “bruises”, and occur when small blood vessels in the skin, muscles, or bones are subjected to trauma. 

Sprain, strain, and contusion injuries can exist on their own or in combination with each other.  Initial conservative management and first aid of these injuries should follow the P.R.I.C.E. principle (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).  This can significantly reduce swelling, tissue damage, inflammation, muscle spasms, pain, and recovery time.  With a mild injury you should experience progressive improvement within 2 to 3 days.  You should gradually begin using the injured area after this time.  Mild injuries usually heal completely without any residual consequence in 1 to 4 weeks. Moderate injuries usually require 4 to 12 weeks to heal and may require basic rehabilitative treatment and exercises.  Severe injuries will take longer to heal.  Healing times may also vary depending on a persons age, physical condition and general health.

You should seek immediate medical care under the following circumstances:  a popping sound heard during the injury accompanied by a feeling of joint instability or inability to weight bear; obvious evidence or suspicion of a broken bone, fracture or joint dislocation; or injuries at risk for infection.  For less serious injuries that do not subside, you should contact a licensed health professional who deals in the diagnosis and treatment of muscle and joint pain.  They can determine the cause of your pain and prescribe appropriate therapy, exercises, and rehabilitation strategies specifically for your circumstance. For more information on managing muscle and joint injuries, visit www.nhwc.ca.

This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.