Sport Injury Treatment Brisbane: The Four Keys to Successful Management
The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Exercise improves the heart and lungs, boosts circulation, helps clear toxins from the body, reduces stress, controls weight, boosts energy, promotes better sleep, reduces high blood sugar, and helps prevent many significant health problems. However, sport injuries can happen, preventing you training at the level you have worked hard to get to. And if the injury doesn’t repair properly, you can develop an on-going problem or experience chronic pain. Sometimes, the fact that the injury hasn’t fully repaired doesn’t show up until much later in life, when the injury starts to resurface.
For effective sport injury treatment, Brisbane-based Centenary Natural Therapies Clinic recommend the following ‘four keys’:
1. SPORT INJURY PREVENTION
- Stretching – tight, tense muscles are far more likely to get injured than those that have a bit of ‘give’, so make sure you warm up or cool down properly. Muscles need time to adjust to the demands of the activities placed on them. If you plan on going for a run, then a slow increase in intensity will prepare your joints and muscles for what they are about to do. Take at least 3–5 minutes after any exercise to stretch your muscles. This is an ideal time to enhance your flexibility as your muscles are more pliable, which will help prevent injuries.
- Alignment – any alignment issues in your body will cause muscle tension, as your body tries to cope with the distorted structure. And an alignment issue in one part of the body will often affect other areas as well, so that a foot that rotates in too much when you walk or run will often cause knee or hip problems. If there seems to be excessive tension in some of your muscles, it is important to get your alignment checked and corrected, otherwise injuries are likely to occur in that area. When performed by experienced therapists trained in this area, remedial massage or acupuncture (or a combination of both) can be used to correct alignment issues.
- Supplements to keep the muscles supple – magnesium is well-known for its effect of keeping muscles relaxed, and helping over-worked muscles to relax. However, if stress is causing muscle tension (as it is with most people), a trained and experienced natural therapist can prescribe the correct herbal or nutritional supplement to reduce accumulated stress in that person’s muscles. Over the counter products are usually not very effective.
- Massage – if you perform a high level of training, regular remedial massage is important to keep the muscles supple and to correct any alignment issues that might develop. All top athletes receive regular massage to prevent and treat sport injuries. (The Brisbane Broncos would likely receive massage before and after each match.) If you are increasing the level of intensity of your exercise, such as going from a casual jogger to entering the Bridge to Brisbane run, consider having a few massage sessions beforehand to help your body cope with the increased demand on it.
2. SPORT INJURY TREATMENT BRISBANE
- Acute injuries – call for an ambulance if you suspect any broken bones, neck or spine injuries, abdominal injuries, or if there have been any injuries to the head, face or eyes, or any prolonged loss of consciousness. Otherwise, RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) is the standard first aid for acute sprains, strains and joint injuries.
- Stop the activity
- Rest the injured area
- For the first 24 to 48 hours, apply ice packs for 15 minutes every two hours
- Bandage the injured area firmly, extending the wrapping above and below the injury
- Whenever possible, elevate the injured area above the level of the heart
- Avoid heat, alcohol or massage, which can exacerbate the swelling.
- Arnica cream or tablets are excellent for speeding up the healing of acute injuries and clearing bruising. And once the inflammation has reduced, therapeutic massage by a well-trained therapist is normally very beneficial.
- Overuse injuries – it is important to stop any exercise involving this area, or to reduce your exercise to the point that it no longer aggravates it. We regularly see cases where someone has injured a joint or muscle, and doesn’t let the area heal properly, so that they end up with a chronic problem. Most overuse injuries involve alignment problems causing strain on the area, and for the area to heal and repair properly, the alignment must be corrected. (Again, the correct massage or acupuncture treatment can work wonders.) If there is any inflammation, it is important to get rid of this as soon as possible, and acupuncture is best for this. To reduce the chances of the problem resurfacing in the future, use arnica cream or tablets, and continue using the arnica for at least one month after the problem seems to have gone.
- Chronic pain in backs, muscles or joints – There are normally a combination of factors with these conditions. Again, correcting any alignment issues and excessive muscle strain is crucial, as well as getting rid of any chronic inflammation. However the local circulation is usually affected as well, and the body’s repair processes in the area usually need to be stimulated. If there is no inflammation, a combination of heat, massage and acupuncture is best. Otherwise, it is best to start with acupuncture until the inflammation is cleared. Again, use arnica to reduce the chances of the problem resurfacing in the future, and keep using it for at least one month after the problem seems to be resolved.
3. SPECIFIC AREAS
Poor alignment makes you more prone to injuries in an area. But what causes the misalignment in the first place?
Some people say that backs are not well designed, but I believe the opposite, that they are too well designed! The lower back is a mechanically complex area, and there are many things that can go wrong. However, because it is so complex it is also very adaptable, so if there is only one issue with your back, you will often hardly notice it. If there are 2 things wrong with your back, it will probably feel stiff sometimes. When you have 3 things wrong, you are likely to get pain occasionally. And if there are 4 things wrong, you now have a major back problem. If people experienced back pain when there was only one issue with their backs, they would get it looked at early, before any major problems developed.
As with most musculoskeletal problems, getting the alignment correct takes most of the strain off the area, relieves much of the pain, and allows the area to heal and repair more easily. Some of the issues that commonly cause lower back pain include:
- Rotation of the hips or pelvis, usually caused by turning in one direction more than the other, such as turning to pick up the phone at work, or playing a sport that involves twisting the body, such as golf or tennis. This often causes pain in a band across the lower back.
- Rotation of the L5 (lowest) vertebrae can be caused in the same way, but the hips may not be affected, and the pain is more localised around the lower spine.
- Misalignment of the hips and shoulders is most easily spotted with you standing up. One hip may be higher than the other, causing one shoulder to be higher as well. If you have this condition, you will often experience tightness inside the shoulder blades as well.
- Tailbone injuries normally cause problems with the back and neck quite a few years after they occur. The worse the pain from the tailbone injury, the more likely that it will cause back or neck pain, usually at the bottom of the spine and/or the base of the neck, and the sooner the pain will start to occur.
- Misaligned feet sometimes cause lower back pain as well. The poor alignment can be caused by flat feet, feet that turn in when you walk, or old ankle injuries where the ligaments have been stretched. Over time, the poor alignment affects the structures above it, so the knees, hips or lower back may be affected.
Necks need to be able to move quickly and easily, yet still be strong enough to support the heavy skull bone and head. The vertebrae of the neck are relatively small, which makes the neck very flexible. Because the head moves around a lot, the neck muscles often have to take some of the weight of the skull. All of this makes these muscles prone to excessive tightness, and stress also shows up very easily in these muscles.
- Both sides of back of the neck – pain here can be caused by the very top vertebrae in the neck (C1) being twisted. Often this also causes soreness or puffiness at the bottom of the back of the skull bone as well. Because the twisted vertebrae affected the blood supply to the brain, it can cause forgetfulness or mental fogginess. (Acupuncture can be excellent for this condition.)
- Right side of back of neck – pain here is often caused by stress, but can also be caused by a problem with the liver. If your liver is congested or irritated, the muscles over it will often tighten up, including those to the right of the spine just below the shoulder blade. The tension here is transmitted up the inside of your right shoulder blade and into your neck. (If the 3rd vertebra in the neck is out of alignment, it is highly likely your neck problem is caused by your liver.)
- Bottom of the back of the neck – problems in this area are usually from the bottom vertebrae in your neck shifting slightly from their correct position. Poor posture is the most common cause, followed by old tailbone injuries, which slowly create strain on these vertebrae. Another possible cause is thyroid problems, especially if this area has a thick or puffy feel. Shoulder or arm pain is a common side-effect of these vertebrae being ‘out’.
- Sides of the front of the neck – your sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM) is easily affected by prolonged stress.
- Whiplash – the trauma to the injured muscles causes them to become over-sensitive, and gentle treatments that stimulate the repair of the damaged tissue normally work best.
- The alignment of your shoulders is affected by the alignment of your hips or pelvis. (Try raising one hip, and you will notice how this changes the position of your shoulders.) If your hips are rotated, it will cause strain in your back, shoulders and knees. Most of the time the hips are rotated to the right, causing the left shoulder to shift forward, which creates considerable muscle tension at the front and back of the shoulder, and often down into the left arm.
- If your shoulder problem is caused by one hip being higher than the other, it will normally be quite tight inside your shoulder blades as well.
- Sometimes, shoulder problems are caused by pressure on the nerves and blood vessels from the side of your neck to the shoulder (‘neurovascular compression’). This is a common cause of ‘frozen shoulder’.
- If both of your shoulders are affected, the problem is normally coming from your neck (usually one of your bottom two vertebrae).
4. SUPPLEMENTS FOR SPORT INJURIES
The most common supplements we use for sport injuries and other musculoskeletal injuries are:
- Arnica cream or tablets are great for speeding up the healing of any sport injuries, and excellent for bruising.
- Magnesium helps muscles to relax, and is important when there is excessive muscle tension in an area. (There are a number of magnesium formulas available, and some work well and others don’t. The one we have found to be the most effective can only be prescribed by a qualified therapist.)
- Vitamin C is very important for healing and repair, and is essential for injuries to tendons and ligaments (such as sprained ankles). Without enough Vitamin C, the injured tendon or ligament may not repair properly, and is much more likely to keep playing up, or to easily be reinjured again. (The quality, dosage and frequency are all important to get results, so please speak to Peter if you would like to find out more about this.)
- Zinc is also important for healing and repair, so a high-grade Vitamin C and zinc powder is very good.
- Turmeric is a wonderful natural anti-inflammatory, and we use the highest quality liquid turmeric available. Although it is a herbal liquid, it actually tastes ok!
- Hernidisc is a ‘Practitioner Prescription Only’ product, designed to help the repair of damaged discs.
If you are interested in finding out about the best methods of sport injury treatment Brisbane has to offer, to help prevent or treat the injury or any other health condition, please contact our clinic on 07 3376 6911, and ask for a FREE Comprehensive Health Assessment. We can then let you know what factors are involved in your condition, and which treatments would be most effective for you. There is no obligation with this offer, just good information.