Health In The Bay – AILMENTS – Sports
Exercising and participating in sports is almost always beneficial to your overall health. By starting and building up gradually and having the correct techniques and equipment you can help minimise injuries. However, sometimes you may feel you are doing everything correctly, but are still getting injured. If your skeletal and muscular system are not balanced they are not able to move and function at their optimum. So when you put your body under greater strain with new or an increase in the level of exercise, then you’re more likely to have an injury. This isn’t a reason to stop exercising, as there are a number of things you can do, including Chiropractic, Remedial massage and Acupuncture, to rebalance your body and significantly reduce the chance of injury.
When you start a new physical activity, or increase your training, it is not uncommon to get an overuse injury. This can occur for 3 main reasons. These are training error, technique error or poor biomechanics.
Training error means you are increasing the training too quickly and your body can’t adapt appropriately leading to an overuse injury. Technique error occurs when you are using an incorrect technique, for example lifting weights or swinging a racket which puts strain on certain muscles leading to an overuse injury. Poor biomechanics means that your physical body isn’t nicely balanced which means when you do physical activity your movements are smooth and balanced and hence some muscles will be overloaded which leads to overuse injury.
To avoid training and technique errors, it can be worthwhile investing in a trainer, as they can recommend a training regime, and assess and correct your technique if required. For biomechanical issues a Chiropractor is a great place to start. They assess your body and structure and determine where they are any areas that need balancing. Using gently yet effective techniques, they can improve the structural balance allowing your body to function at its strongest and most balanced, which minimises any strain and therefore any overuse injury.
A massage therapist can also be effective when any structural imbalance is primarily muscular. Remedial massage helps to release and lengthen tight muscles, and can also switch on fatigued muscles. This improves the balance of muscles , reducing the risk of muscle strain and overuse injuries.
Acupuncture can help release and rebalance muscles, reducing the risk of muscle strain and overuse injuries.
Sports injuries are injuries that most commonly occur during sports or exercise. Some sports injuries result from accidents; others are due to poor training practices, such as incorrect form, poor equipment, lack of conditioning, or insufficient warm-up and stretching; and commonly it can be due to your body being unbalanced and hence not able to function at its optimum.
The most common types of sports injuries are:
- Muscle strains (eg hamstring strain or groin pull).
- Tears or sprains of the ligaments that hold joints together (eg ankle sprain or ACL tear in the knee).
- Tears or strains of the tendons that support joints and allow them to move (eg Patellofemoral syndrome in the knee or tennis elbow).
- Dislocated joints.
- Fractured bones, including vertebrae.
Most common these injuries are strains and sprains. Sprains are injuries to ligaments, the tough bands connecting bones in a joint. Suddenly stretching ligaments past their limits deforms or tears them. Strains are injuries to muscle fibres or tendons, which anchor muscles to bones. Strains are also called pulled muscles, over-stretching or overusing a muscle causes tears in the muscle fibres or tendons.
Having a balanced structure can assist in minimising sprains and strains, as you will be less prone to injuries. When your structure is not balanced then your joints will be affected by aberrant stresses due to the need to compensate. A balanced structure is also helpful and assists recovery and healing. Both chiropractic and remedial massage are effective in balancing the bony and muscular structures of the body, so hence minimise the chance of injury and assist healing. Acupuncture can also be effective in balancing the body, and post injury it is effective in encouraging healing.
There are several factors, apart from the actual training and the effort you put into your sessions, that have an impact on your training and outcomes. These include structural balance, muscle recovery and nutrition. Addressing these can help you train to get the best results possible, and thereby maximise your performance.
If your skeletal structure isn’t balanced, your body is working at a biomechanical disadvantage, which can become evident when you begin training. When your body isn’t balanced your muscles require more energy, and your body and joints won’t be able to move as freely and easily. This can make training feel like really hard work. It may also feel like it’s difficult to switch on certain muscles, and this would affect your training and results you’re able to achieve. All these effects will also result in an increased potential for injury.
Chiropractic is a very effective treatment which helps correct these biomechanical imbalances, and hence assists in your training.
Muscle recovery is an essential part of improving performance. Whether our training to build muscle, improve your fitness, improve your metabolism or reach some type of goal you have set for yourself, you will undoubtedly be pushing your body. This means it will require some time to recover, which involves repairing and building, ultimately resulting in the process that your body goes through to build muscle and strength. Massage is very important for both pre- and post-training. Pre-training massage increases circulation, flexibility and mental clarity of the client to improve performance, and complements their warm-up. Post-training massage improves recovery by improving circulation, allowing the byproducts from the metabolism to be carried away from the muscles and nutrients to be carried to the muscles which assists repair and adaptation. It also relaxes your muscle tone, decreasing post training soreness. These factors together increase recovery time which allows for effective training in subsequent sessions and decreases any risk of injury. Remedial and sports massage therapist are the most appropriate therapists to see for this kind of massage.
Your nutrition during training, and before and after an event is crucial to optimise results. Nutrients not only provide us with the base materials needed for energy production, but also for muscle repair and adaptation, and for maximum performance.
Prior to training or an event is it important to have the correct balance of macronutrient intake at the right time so that you will have the best energy production required for maximum performance and decreased risk of injury. Post training it is all about muscle repair and replacement of energy stores; restoring lost electrolytes and fluid balance to ensure a speedy recovery takes place.You can’t out-run a poor diet, so for advice on the best fuelling, sources and timing of nutrients to suit your needs, see a Nutritionist.
Acupuncture can also be very helpful in your training. The aim of Acupuncture is to create homeostasis (or balance) in the body, which is important for all over health and to promote healing, and especially so when putting your body through strenuous training. It is also very effective for pain relief and sporting injuries. Patients commonly seek Acupuncture for back, neck and shoulder pain as well as injuries, such as strains – both ligament and muscle (eg tennis elbow, calf or groin strain, knee injuries), sprains, rotator cuff tears, shin splints and more. By getting the body back to a balanced state it allows the body to heal itself efficiently and effectively.