This is not intended as professional advice and is not presented as a substitute for professional care. Please seek professional care before under going any treatment. The following are summaries of complex problems and not not intended as a complete exploration of the condition.
1.What to do NOW - - - -Back to Top
The first things to do are:
1) Stop doing what you are doing or what hurt you. This sounds self evident, but you would be surprised how many people make the problem worse by continuing the activity thinking, "it will just go away".
2) Rest yourself. Initially this is very important. This stops injury from worsening. Rest is ok for 2-3 days but prolonged rest is the wrong thing, as it often makes the problem worse by allowing inflammation to increase and consolidate.
3) ICE!! I can't say this enough times, Ice. I have actually had people come in to my office from the emergency room, where they had been told to heat the area!!! Unbelievable. In this day misinformation is still given. ALL clinical and research data makes it clear: If you ice promptly you will cut down swelling, pain, and speed healing. This is very important. Always Ice after you hurt yourself. PERIOD!
4) If the pain continues unchanged or if it worsens after 3 days, seek professional care. Delays in diagnosis can be dangerous. Many serious health problems can give rise to back pain. It is important to rule those problems out. Finding the probable cause of the pain is important to proper treatment. Often there may be several potential causes of the pain or injury.
5) Once you begin a treatment plan under professional care, make sure to follow the orders of the doctor. This is important so that the treatment plan can be assessed for its effects on your condition.
2.What can I do to Perform Better? Back to Top
There are several elements which make up your overall performance level. Depending on your sport or game, these will vary in proportion. Let's address several elements:
Endurance: Endurance involves the physical and mental ability to maintain a certain level of activity. Cardio-vascular fitness is enhanced by maintaining your training heart rate for a sustained period of time. Both the training heart rate and duration vary from individual to individual. However, the training heart rate is generally between 70-90% of your maximum heart rate. (Max HR=220-age, although this figure is merely a rough estimate) The duration of time for a non athlete to achieve a training effect is 15 to 30 minutes daily. Depending on your sport your duration at the training heart rate may be from 30 minutes to over and hour. There are many different types of cardiovascular training. They vary in the training heart rate, the duration at this rate and in the recovery time. This is a good place to mention that by increasing your cardiovascular fitness, you enhance your ability to perform for longer periods of time, even if you are an anaerobic athlete like a sprinter or basketball player.
Strength: Strength is the measure of force which you can produce. This may be the ability to lift heavy weights of the ability to move other athletes, as in blocking in football. Strength can be improved by overloading the muscles and joints slowly over time. Weight training is the classic example of strength training.
Quickness: Quickness and
acceleration are the ability to respond to a situation mentally and then move
your body accordingly. Quickness of mental thought and physical
acceleration can be improved by training techniques such as plyometrics.
A fine text Dr. Don Chu outlines the plyometric
training methods of increasing power and quickness.
Mental Concentration: Often overlooked, mental concentration and "game awareness' can dramatically effect performance. While it is possible to "over-think", it is vastly more possible for any athlete or performer to "under-think". Knowing WHY you are doing what you are doing and HOW are important at all times. Concentration can make a successful performance possible.
Preparation: It has been said that there is no such thing as good or bad luck; there are only those who prepare for opportunity and those who fail to prepare. Artistic performance and sports offer a great example of this saying. Preparation is the close cousin of Professionalism. Always be prepared physically, mentally, with equipment ready for use. Never assume that someone else has done the job already.
3.Why am I Taking So Long to Get Better? Back to Top
When soft tissues like muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints are damaged they heal with scar tissue. Scar tissue, just like that on your skin from a bad cut is different then the tissue it replaces. It has several qualities that alter its nature:
Scar tissue is less elastic, less flexible, less "stretchable"
Scar tissue is more sensitive to pain and is easier to stimulate thus creating pain.
Scar tissue is not as strong generally then the tissue it replaced, and is therefore easier to re-injure.
Scar tissue will form along lines of stress. Therefore if you do not move the injured area the scar tissue forms in a more "hap hazard " manner, which makes it even less flexible and more pain sensitive.
One of the primary goal of any soft tissue treatment plan is to create the best quality of scar and healing possible. This is an important concept, because if the damaged tissue is not given early controlled motion, the scar tissue will be of poor quality and create more pain, less motion and be easier to re-injure.
Often pain can persist even when the tissue has "healed". This is because of many factors including the formation of poor quality scar tissue healing. The nervous system can also play a role in the continued pain. Nerves learn behavior, and continued pain can lead to the injured tissues responding to normal motion and stress as if it were a painful irritant. The nerves in the area have become used to sending pain information to the spinal cord and brain. This is one reason why motion helps ease pain in many cases. Pain and motion "compete" with each other to get the attention of your brain. Give it motion and pain is eased.
Given time, the right combination of therapeutic tools and a large dose of tenacity, many chronic pain patterns can be helped. Often treatment plans may include co-operation with medical doctors to prescribe pain medications, or other methods of pain control. By giving this "window of opportunity" to move without pain, the patient can retrain the body to function with less pain.
4. What Can I Do About My Headaches? Back to Top
Headaches can have
many causes. They can be quite important "early
warning" signs of serious illness, or they may be due to
chemical and hormonal imbalances, stress, joint irritation or
muscular strain. Rest alone will sometimes help relieve your
headaches, if they are due to emotional and physical stress.
However, if rest is not helping you, it s probably time to look
into the causes of your headaches. I do tend to be fairly careful
with headaches because so many serious illness can cause
headaches. It is always best to "rule out" serious
problems before treating the headache as a minor problem. If we
have ruled out serious problems, then conservative treatment
including joint mobilization, manipulation (adjustment) and home
stretching programs will do a great deal to normalize joint
mechanics and ease stress on the neuro-muscular systems most
likely at the root of the non systemic cause of the headache.
Common areas found to be at the cause of non systemic headaches
1) Muscular and facial tissues at the base of the skull (suboccipital)
2) Upper shoulder muscular - facial tissue
3) Side of neck muscular - facial tissue (scalenes and SCM muscles)
It is important that the joints are freely moving and that the muscle tissue is stretched and healthy. Both systems are needed for joint motion. The joints need muscles and the muscles need a joint to act upon. That is why most Chiropractors believe in exercise and stretching. They help maintain joint health.
5. How Can I Heal Faster? - - - Back to Top
Injuries can impact both lifestyles and incomes. Healing quickly is a very critical goal. There are some very tangible things that an injured athlete or non athlete can do to enhance the healing rate.
1) Follow your rehabilitation and treatment plan strictly, but give yourself a chance to relax a bit as well. Worry and anxiety will never help speed recovery.
2) Eat well. Avoid high fat and high sugar diets. Eat wide varieties of foods to ensure good nutrition. Eat many small meals instead of one large meal. A multi-vitamin/mineral will ensure that you are not deficient in any needed nutrient.
3) Ice after you work out hard, or if you push yourself to far. Always ice is you feel throbbing pain, heat or notice swelling.
4) Drink plenty of water. Many people (especially athletes) do not drink enough plain water. Water is important for digestion, kidney function, cooling the body and balancing the electrolytes of the body.
5) Give yourself adequate rest. Too much rest is a bad thing, too little is a bad thing. As in training; Quality is important not Quantity.
6) Avoid fades and "quick fixes". Often these lead to further injury and disappointment. There is no substitute for strongly healed, quality tissues. Balanced with trained and conditioned muscles and nerves, a quality tissue heal is unbeatable.
7) Stay optimistic and focused. Never give up.
Back to Top
Ice has many beneficial properties when applied to injured tissue. Ice when applied correctly will serve to decrease swelling, decrease pain and speed the healing process. (in many cases when applied immediately, ice can cut the healing time in half!) It is important that ice be applied as soon after the injury as possible and to follow these steps:
1) Use a cold ice pack of "ice cup". If using a ice pack, place a thin towel between the pack and the skin to avoid freezing skin.
2) Ice for 7-10 minutes depending on the area and the coldness of the ice. Ice until the area is numb, but not longer.
3) At first ice may feel uncomfortable. It will feel Cold then it may burn a little, followed by an achy feeling followed by numbness.
4) Ice 3-4 times per day as above or after you have exercised or after you have pushed yourself to hard. Also, ice if it feels hot, throbbing or if you feel an increase in pain.
5) If the pain continues unchanged or if it increases after several days, you should seek professional care.
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