Are you doing enough to prevent sports injuries?
Sports injuries are a very common presentation that present to osteopaths. Whether it is the serious athlete that wants to push their body to the limits or the casual jogger that wants to maintain the ability to exercise for the health benefits, it is important to do what you can to prevent injuries. If an injury does occur, it is better to recover quickly through a means of thorough rehabilitation to avoid potentially more complicated, costly and longer lasting chronic injuries.
I really enjoy working with sports people to not only assist with pain relief and resolution of the injuries but for implementing preventative measures for future injury. Of course, you could sustain an injury from being kicked in the knee by Conor McGregor, where the force of the trauma is the principle cause. In that case injury may be mostly unavoidable. However, improving an individual’s suboptimal biomechanics and strength of tissues can lessen the chance of most injuries. For example, poor lower back conditioning or poor hip range of motion can be significant factors that lead you to a strained low back while falling over during a game of soccer, both of these are potentially correctable.
Injuries can occur with the “final straw that breaks the camel’s back” principle…..you can do the same tackle or change direction on the pitch 1,000s of times until the threshold is reached and then tissues fail and get damaged. Taking that out of the equation as well as pathology and a blatant large force trauma such as the kick from Conor example, the vast majority of causes of injury (including outside of sports) are mostly due to lack of adequate range of motion and/or poor form. Poor form can be down to poor general technique, poor awareness/control of the body part or due a muscle fatiguing. This is where strengthening and flexibility programs come in handy for prevention. It is why I may suggest that after a course of treatment when one becomes symptom-free is not the end of the journey, as I work in close collaboration with local EPs to deliver a combination of hands-on techniques used by osteopaths and individually tailored exercise programs.
Athletes and casual sports people visit the clinic for general check-up assessments for injury prevention and for identifying factors that may be limiting individual’s performance. The osteopath will identify restrictions and asymmetry within the musculoskeletal system and apply a variety of techniques to work towards eliminating them if necessary.
I want to emphasize there’s no-one-size-fits-all for treatment and exercise programs. Patients have their full history taken, taking into consideration their sport, jobs, previous injuries, medical conditions, etc and are assessed biomechanically. The treatment and programs are then administered via the osteo and EP according to that.
Biomechanics cover areas further than one may think. Good breathing mechanics for example, are helpful for top level performance whenever there is cardiovascular load. As the diaphragm attaches to your spine and ribcage, correct use of it can help when bracing the spine and the core to generate power, which is why tennis players grunt when striking the ball and with certain martial arts disciplines yell when striking (think of Bruce Lee).
A key point about the body adapting to sport is that it often doesn’t learn how to carry out movements in the most efficient of ways. It learns how to get the movement done, whether it’s to get the speed up to catch a wave or to hit a ball as hard as possible, regardless of whether the technique is good, bad or ugly! This can apply not only to the player that has bad technique but quite often to those with good technique as well. Imagine a cricket bowler with seemingly great technique but on closer inspection a restricted thoracic spine is identified. Other parts of the spine, the shoulders and even the joints in the legs will start to compensate for this, which can lead to injury at these sites. Treatment can help free affected areas and correct stretches can help maintain these corrections.
I hope that you find this post useful. If this post resonates with you and you’d like to take a positive step further, whether you have an acute injury that you are struggling with, a recurring injury that’s niggling in the background or you simply want to get screened to help identify any potential predisposing factors to injury, give reception a call on 1300 855 008 and book in for an osteopathy consultation.