With the sporting season start a lot of people turned to me worried about last years injuries: "It still hurts. I am worried if it is going to come back again or haven't resolved entirely."
Well, with injuries the case is that there is a good chance they will not resolve 100%. That is the bad news. Every episode leaves a mark in our body, we are not machines where you can just replace a part and it is better than before. Sometimes clients deal with childhood injuries, which wasn't paid attention to at that time and now aging or different activities aggravated it.
The good news is that you can still help and change the situation. Besides actual structural changes our body is pretty forgiving if you take care of it. The only permanent thing is change. Everyday our bodies change, heal, scar up, grow or shrink. You can't step into the same river again...
On that note I think it's important for athletes to know how their body processes injuries, so let's talk about that.
Step zero is that you suffer an injury, let it be something caused by trauma, like a sprained ankle, a fall on the wrist, or let's say it's an overuse injury like a runners knee, or carpal tunnel. Both of these are common in the stages of healing from the point they reach your consciousness.
What is the first aid protocol for injuries? PRICE, as in Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. Nowadays professionals questioning the use of ice in first aid treatment, but that's a longer topic for a different discussion. Also some professionals experimenting with light, painless active movement with traction in the acute phase. For our line of thought this protocol is enough. So, if you can't remember anything else after you sprained your ankle, just PRICE.
After the first scare, let's see what is going on in your body at the site of injury. I am going to be really simple just view this from your stand point as the athlete. Look at an ankle sprain for example, everyone had one of those.
First things first you are in Stage 1 acute inflammation phase for 3-7 days. That means that the site of the injury is swollen, red, warm, painful and you experience some loss of function. Your body is working on cleaning up after blood spill and the damaged cells. This is when you PRICE. What a professional can do for you in this stage is to promote healing with lymphatic massage techniques and taping, support rest with a full body massage and prevent compensation patterns. We can work with you with passive movements in mid range, taking care not to overwork the area but help the blood flow and the repair.
Stage 2 is subacute repair and healing phase for 14-21 days. This time your body is done with the clean up and the first aid and is laying down new tissue to replace the damaged one. This new layer is not functional yet and is very fragile and easily gets injured. Using the injured body part would still be painful or sore and restricted. You might feel well enough to go back to your routine but this is where rehab and manual therapies are very important. In this stage we use active and passive but controlled motions to promote the development of a mobile, functional scar that later can be strengthened. Our goal here is to start off with a good quality scar tissue that is pliable and aligned with the forces that it needs to bear later, and not restricting ranges of motion.
The finishing Stage 3 chronic maturation and remodeling phase lasts for 3months to up to 1-2 years. This is where people get discouraged and frustrated because it still hurts after resistance, work out or a run. At this time there is no inflammation anymore which means that the healing slows down a little bit because your body feels safe enough to focus on other things. The scar tissue contracts and the collagen fibers align along the lines of stress. In this phase your and my work defines what kind of a scar tissue you'll have for the rest of your life. As a manual therapist we would break up the adhesions as many times as possible and then exercise the area with increased strength and resistance to align the scar tissue. Use full range of motion exercises and stretches in office and at home to help build a resilient, functional but pliable scar. Taping in this phase helps with a little extra support, gives nervous feedback and relieves the pain. It still will hurt after a race but that is normal for a while and you just need to know where to go to get fixed up.
After you are over the hump we look at what caused the injury in the first place to avoid repeating the mistake. We run a postural assessment, maybe functional tests and balance the whole body to strengthen surrounding muscle tissue and release compensation patterns. Neuromuscular training is really efficient after injuries to turn the healed tissue back on, reprogram the nervous system to start using that muscle again and stop compensation. We use taping in the reeducation phase too to cue motion and fix postural patterns. Diet throughout an injury is also important not to overwhelm the body, eat less inflammatory foods and more protein for the rebuilding of tissues.
Your body does a great job healing itself but you have to give it the most help and the best circumstances to do so. We are healing for survival not performance so if you would like to be on the top again you need a well rounded science based approach to get to your best function and prolong your athletic career.
Have a wonderful injury free day and see you at the office if you already have one.
Do you know what Reiki is?
Well, it is a type of energy work in which I use Universal Energy to help the healing processes of your body and soul. I don't really practice it by itself, but I can't stop it either, it just goes with my massage when and where it's needed.
I shot this video a couple of years ago when I visited Boston. The Boston Museum of Science it's one of my favorite places next to the Aquarium. I am a nerd if you couldn't tell before.
They have this absolutely amazing "Lightning Show" where they educate people on different properties of energy and have a Farraday cage and shoot lightnings at it. I saw it first when I was 14 (?) and I was blown away.
Anyway, I shot this video there and it wasn't meant to be on social media so sorry for the language - khm... Hungarian - and the quality but I think it is a fun way to see energy.
Everybody seen these "lightning globes" that shoot baby lightning towards the glass. Basically what I am saying is that what happens in this lightning bowl when you put your hand on it and what happens when you focus your energy or open the channels for Reiki consciously.
What do you think?
Every day new research is being published on anatomy, physiology and most importantly for us -physiology and manual therapies. Newer evidence proves the importance of manual therapies in everyday life. Not juts referring to the -nowadays newly recognized- power of human touch. Our profession as manual therapists gaining more and more recognition because actual proof exists about the effectiveness and changes in the human body during treatments.
The following videos is explaining fascia in a very entertaining way, go ahead and watch it, you'll have fun. :) (FYI: there are pictures of cadavers in the video, so viewer discretion is advised)
Fascia is one of the structures that is proving to be more and more important in our bodies. It is not enough we are looking at bones and muscles, fascia is the web and casing that connects everything in your body. Research shows that fascia also has an important role in transmitting electric impulses just like nerves and communicating between body parts and your brain. It measures stretch and compression, helps in proprioceptions and coordinating movements and separates and connects layers. Shortly it is indispensable.
As a sports massage therapist I can't express the importance of fascia, not just in injury rehab but in enhancing performance. If for example let's take our everyday posture: the forward head, that requires that your body is building up fascial layers on the back of your neck so the muscles don't have to work that hard and the fascia can take over, that is the obvious "hump" on a persons neck. That's one side of the story, in the meantime the fascia on the front of your chest and neck shortens since you don't stretch it or use it in any way. After a while you feel like you can't even move it, it gets congested and solid. After you already have this posture you decide that you are going to swim. Great! Great exercise and it's healthy, right? But your neck and shoulder gets super sore even after a short swim. That is because your muscles on your back and neck have to work twice as hard to raise your head out of the water because they have to fight through all that powerful fascia in the front of your neck. It's basically a tug-o-war balancing on your upper thoracic vertabra. And the muscles are going to fatigue and loose fast if you don't soften up those layers in the front.
This scenario is just one of the effects, you have the same problems even without the swimming.
Fascia is stronger and more important then most think and we need to start including it in our bodywork.
If you or your loved one ever had a surgery you know how important recovery is. At least 50% of the success of the surgery relies on pre and post-op procedures. Hospitals are rarely delightful and upbeat places to be, so psychological effects are a given that is also hard to overcome.
There is a healthy way to healing resurfacing and it's massage therapy. It seems like it's been forgotten but more and more research is conducted to prove the efficacy of massage therapy in the health care setting. Still most of the major hospitals don't have an LMT on site, so we have a long way to go, but at least we are on the path.
This article lists the proven, science based benefits of massage therapy in a post operative care.
It lists physiological, physical and psychological benefits:
I have clients coming in as soon as 2 weeks out of hip replacement surgery with pain and stiffness, 15 years out of shoulder replacement with adhesions and limited ROM, mastectomy patients with axillary web adhesions or c-section mommies with lower abdominal scars an pain. One thing they agree on and the reason why they come back is that it works.
More and more people realize the healing power of touch and the advantage of a knowledgeable professional.
Get an educated professional who is willing and able to communicate with your medical team pre and post-op. It's important that we work together as a team for the benefit of the client/patient. We all can't know everything one by one but we can work towards a maximum positive outcome together.
Please, give us a call if you have any questions about our rehab programs.
Welcome to Texas! Yes, it is going to be really hot soon enough.
Whether you are running, playing hoops, working out with weights or just going for a power walk, take care when the temperature rises. If you are exercising outdoors, or in a poorly ventilated gym pay close attention to your body temperature and the signs of heat-related illnesses.
What happens with your body in the heat?
Both exercise itself and the air temperature increase your core body temperature. Start with the outside first. When you are outdoors in the heat your body sends more blood to your skin surface to help cool itself, blood vessels dilate through out your skin. This drops your blood pressure for one and leaves less blood to circulate in your muscles, which in turns elevates your heart rate. And you haven't done anything yet, just walked outside. If humidity is also high, like here in Galveston all the time, it's even harder for your body to cool down, since sweat doesn't evaporate from your skin. With exercise your adding to the equation an extra stress by increasing your heart rate even higher, elevating your body temperature, and requiring more blood for your muscles. If you are exposed to heat for a longer period, sweat heavily and don't drink enough fluids, your natural cooling system may fail.The result may be a heat-related illness.
What are the levels of heat-related illnesses?
Heat-related illnesses occur along a spectrum, starting out mild but worsening if left untreated. Heat illnesses include:
How to avoid to develop these illnesses?
Heat-related illnesses are largely preventable, by taking basic precautions and using common sense. Keep on exercising but stay on the safe side.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the summer!