Whether it’s springtime or summer, there are a multitude of sports to enjoy… golf, baseball, soccer or swimming. The autumn and winter months provide exciting activities such as basketball, skiing and football - or perhaps you enjoy bowling or tennis all year long.
We all know the benefits of exercise and physical activity - keeps us fit, both physically and mentally. Sports participation is a wonderful way to burn extra calories and lose weight. However, with over 10 million sports injuries each year, there is always the risk of injury. Vital to remaining in the game, is an understanding of how to prevent or limit an injury from occurring.
According to a US Consumer Product Safety Commission Report, sports injuries among baby boomers increased by 33% from 1991 to 1998, and continues to increase each year. There were 276,000 hospital emergency room-treated injuries to adults (age 35 to 54) in 1991 compared to more than 365,000 sports injuries in 1998. Baby boomers suffered more than 1 million sports injuries, costing over $18.7 billion in medical expenses in 1998.
Sports injuries are injuries that typically occur while participating in organized sports, training sessions or fitness activities. They can result from improper training, lack of conditioning, insufficient warming-up/stretching, improper footwear, unsafe equipment or a rapid growth spurt during puberty.
Although any part of the body can be injured during exercise or a sports activity, the term is usually reserved for injuries that involve the musculoskeletal system (muscles, bones, discs, cartilage). Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries are relatively rare - but unfortunately do occur.
A sports injury can result from a trauma (slip or collision) - often causing an injury to the ankle, knee, shoulder, low back or neck. Sports that rank high for this type of injury (acute traumatic injury) include basketball, football and baseball. Acute traumatic injuries typically involve a single blow from a single application of force resulting in a fracture (crack, break or shattering of a bone), contusion (bruise which may cause swelling and bleeding in muscles and other body tissues), strain (stretch or tear of a muscle or tendon), sprain (stretch or tear of a ligament), abrasion (scrape), laceration (cut in the skin that it usually requires stitches) or whiplash (injury to the neck caused by an abrupt jerking motion of the head).
The second type of sports injury is an overuse or repetitive strain injury. As the name implies, this occurs over a period of time and is usually the result of repetitive training (running, overhand throwing, swinging a golf club or serving a ball in tennis) - causing a strain to the muscle or other affected tissue resulting in poor function, stiffness, pain and disability.
Initially, many people sustaining a “minor” injury utilize RICE, the first aid treatment for injuries: REST - reduce activities and take weight off the injured area, ICE - 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off, repeat two or three times a day with a cold pack, ice bag, or plastic bag filled with crushed ice and wrapped in a thin towel (smaller areas, like the toes and areas with little padding require less time), COMPRESSION - apply pressure or a device (bandage wrap, sports tape, air cast) to the injured area and ELEVATION - place the injured area on a pillow or similar soft surface, at or above the level of your heart. The RICE method may be applied to a chronic re-injury or overuse condition when a flare up occurs. After the swelling has been reduced, the proper management of any chronic condition requires an understanding of why the affected area continues to be problematic. Chronic re-injuries can be minimized by limiting or removing the repetitive force to the injured area while building strength, flexibility and integrity to the surrounding tissue. We believe common reasons for swelling from a sports injury include weakened support tissue or damaged muscle. If you utilize the RICE Method, remember to contact the AIMS Clinic as soon as possible. It is vital to have a sports injury properly evaluated in order to determine the extent of damage and prevent lifetime problems - joint instability, painful joints, weak muscles and lack of mobility. We are the premier non-surgical Sports Injury Clinic offering the most effective tools for treating acute and chronic pain. Our Healthcare Team works together to create customized treatment programs, which result in lasting pain relief. We’ve integrated our approach with the most effective and revolutionary equipment and supports, allowing us to correctly deal with almost every sports injury problem quickly, effectively and safely!
At the AIMS Clinic, our Pain Management Doctor (Physiatrist) treats a wide range of problems that affect the musculoskeletal system (the muscles and the bones). A Physiatrist or Pain Management Doctor, has completed four years of medical school, one year of internship and three years of residency. Physiatrists specialize in restoring optimal function to people with injuries to the muscles, bones, tissues and nervous system. This may include neck and back pain, shoulder and arm pain, hip and leg pain, numbness and tingling, arthritis, tendonitis, sciatica, stroke, peripheral neuropathy and ligament tears. He may recommend Physical Therapy, Chiropractic and/or Acupuncture, as part of a customized treatment program.
The road to recovery begins with a thorough health history, understanding of the patient’s symptoms, along with a structural and muscular examination. Our Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Teams may perform a manual exam, palpate the spine and conduct specialized testing to analyze posture, range-of-motion, muscle strength and nerve function. Other diagnostic tests may include laboratory blood studies to determine if there is an underlying disorder, x-rays, CAT scan, MRI, electromyography and nerve conduction studies.
After the diagnosis and the severity of the injury is determined, a customized treatment program is created.Treatment may include medication management, as well as injections of ligaments, muscles, bursae, joints and specialized injections such as epidural injections or facet joint block injection. Physical Therapy, Chiropractic or Acupuncture may be an integral part of the sports injury treatment program.
At the AIMS Clinic, there are several forms of physical therapy utilized for pain relief. For acute pain, the physical therapist may focus on decreasing pain with passive physical therapy (modalities). They are considered passive therapies because they are done to the patient, rather than the patient rehabilitating with exercise. Examples of modalities include: Ice (makes blood vessels constrict which decreases the blood flow - helping to control inflammation, muscle spasm and pain), Heat (makes blood vessels dilate, which increases the blood flow - helping flush away chemicals that cause pain, as well as bringing in healing nutrients and oxygen.), Ultrasound (uses high-frequency sound waves to reach sore muscles and other tissues that are over two inches below the surface of your skin, which help flush the sore area and bring in a new supply of blood that is rich in nutrients and oxygen.) Electrical Stimulation (can ease pain by sending impulses to the brain that are felt instead of pain.), Soft Tissue Massage (reduces pain and spasm by helping muscles relax - by bringing in a fresh supply of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood and by flushing the area of chemical irritants that come from inflammation.), Joint Mobilization (changing pressure and movements to the joints to help lubricate joint surfaces to ease stiffness and reduce pain.) and Traction (sore joints and muscles often feel better when traction is used.).
In addition to passive therapies, active physical therapy (exercise) is also necessary to rehabilitate the spine. Generally, a patient’s exercise program will encompass a combination of stretching exercises, strengthening exercises and low impact aerobics. Strength and flexibility must be built up gradually - on a gradient level. Doing too much too soon often causes muscle strain. Our physical therapists use functional training to help patients with daily activities. This will include a healthy posture program to keep the spine in safe alignment, reducing strain on the joints and soft tissues around the spine.
Sports injury pain relief is a major reason patients come to treat with our chiropractic physicians. They find that pain is relieved, muscle tightness is reduced and healing begins by manually applying a controlled force to joints that have become restricted by muscle injury, strain, inflammation and/or pain. In addition, spinal decompression - traction that may help relieve pain, may be considered. Spinal decompression works by gently stretching the spine - taking pressure off spinal discs (gel-like cushions between the bones in your spine). Additionally, spinal decompression is successful in treating back pain, bulging or herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, posterior facet syndrome (worn spinal joints) and radiculopathy (injured or diseased spinal nerve roots). This revolutionary treatment method, which may be covered by health insurance - has resulted in canceling surgeries and allowing people to live life to the fullest. Many patients experience substantial, immediate relief of their symptoms after their first treatment.
Many athletes routinely have chiropractic treatments prior to sporting events - to help prevent an injury from occurring, and after the event, to realign the spine. In fact, sports chiropractors are part of the medical team for the US Olympic Committee, and chiropractors are employed by the National Football League. The Goodwill Games, PanAm Games, Ironman Triathlon and the New York and Boston Marathon make sure to have chiropractors on hand to help athletes.
Oriental medicine considers pain to be an obstructive syndrome - an disruption of vital energy, blood or fluids to an afflicted area. Acupuncture - the oldest continually practiced medical system, is an effective treatment for pain management because it helps the body heal the injury, rather than masking symptoms. Acupuncture works by activating the body’s own healing process through the application of very fine sterilized needles, heat or gentle pressure at specific points on the body. Needles are placed along certain acupoints (meridians) that help the body redirect energy to the afflicted area, causing the body to release certain neurohormones (endorphins and encephalins), which inhibit pain impulses and guide the nerve impulses away from the painful nerve group. Additional combinations of treatments such as massage/bodywork, Gua Sha, moxibustion, electric-stimulation or cupping may be utilized. Treatments are generally painless and very relaxing. During an acupuncture session, a reduction of nerve activity related to pain has been reported in studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging.
At Alternative Integrated Medical Services of East Brunswick, NJ we believe education is vital to prevention of injuries. Below are some basic guidelines and recommendations:
- Prior to beginning a new activity, schedule a functional/biomechanical screening, heart and lung assessment and evaluation of your medical history with a member of the AIMS Healthcare Team.
- Wear proper attire, make sure your equipment fits properly, wear quality shoes made for your sport and foot type and obtain necessary mouth guards or face masks for collision-type sports.
- Warm-up, ice a muscle or joint before warm up and cool down when finished (walk, jog or do some light exercise for 5 minutes).
- Target your exercises. Sports (tennis, baseball and volleyball) that call for repetitive movements can strain or tear muscles and tendons. Exercise that specifically targets these groups of muscles can help to reduce the potential of injury.
- Don’t go from sedentary to practice or play.
- Begin slowly and gradually increase the time and intensity of your workouts.
- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after a practice, competition or exercise session to prevent dehydration. Water helps flush away acidic waste products from the muscles which can cause muscle irritation and pain.
- Poor dietary choices can lead to chronic inflammation - increasing pain sensitivity. Daily supplementation of Vitamin D can help alleviate a deficiency and pain, according to recent studies.
- Know your limits! If you experience pain, stop and rest. Seek medical attention if the pain persists.
Many patients treated at the AIMS Clinic have previously treated with various doctors, specialists and therapists, tried bed rest, a multitude of strong drugs and over-the-counter medication and sadly, many have had failed surgery. They come to us because they're still in pain… and they’ve heard about the success of our sports injury rehabilitation program offered here in East Brunswick, NJ.
If this describes you, a family member or friend, we're here to tell you that you can get better. Our Team of Board Certified Medical Doctors, Pain Management Specialist, Physical Therapists, Chiropractors and Acupuncturist utilize specific diagnostic tests and evaluations, so that we can effectively provide the best care in New Jersey to all of our patients. The AIMS Healthcare Team meets on a weekly basis to discuss all treating patients - to minimize pain and maximize results. It is our Team Approach, which is key to our success. After a few short weeks, you can begin to get on with the rest of your life, as you rid yourself of pain.
To read more about Natural Sports Injury Treatment, click here.
Call New Jersey’s own Alternative Integrated Medical Services today at 732-254-5553 and receive a FREE Initial Consultation. Our goal is to provide the most advanced and compassionate pain relief. Our Team of Experts and friendly staff at your local East Brunswick, NJ AIMS Clinic, will help you reduce or eliminate pain and improve function. As our patient, we will teach you how to regain your health with our revolutionary new treatment program.