by Krista Haidle, SCAT, ATC Astym Certified, Midlands Sports Medicine and Outreach Coordinator at CORA
In a world where limits are tested and superhumans are created, sports can oftentimes come with both high rewards and equally as high of a risk; pain may be considered inevitable.
While acute injuries can often times result in an immediate pause in play, chronic injuries seem to hold a place of their own in athletics. Pain which continues to stay post two weeks can sometimes linger the rest of the season if not treated properly. Pain can create a domino effect in which range of motion and strength, as well as performance, can soon follow in decline. So the question is, where do you go to treat this chronic pain? Better yet, how do we make sure it does not come back?
Have you ever perhaps experienced a time when you followed your doctor’s orders and practiced the R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method for several weeks; feeling better at first but then having the pain quickly return once you got back to sport? The athletic population knows this story all too well. Seeking specialized sports medicine advice outside of the high school or professional arena may seem limiting in options. Did you know that Physical Therapists and Athletic Trainers Certified are actually orthopedic specialists and they can serve in many cases as your first line of defense in chronic pain?
PTs and ATCs are trained to look at the body as a whole. While the R.I.C.E. method allows for tissue healing, looking at the body as a kinetic chain and treating asymmetries with flexibility, mobility and strength training is essential. Many of our clinics also offer services that further help and promote a restorative healing process; techniques such as dry needling, cupping and ASTYM can more often than not be a service provided for restarting and promoting the healing process. Let’s take it one step further though. Let’s examine beyond the joint and tissue; often times the injury is just the point of failure. As an athlete, you expose yourself to motions that are superhuman and repetitive, often time it is the adopted functional pattern of that motion that may be causing a chronic injury.
Physical Therapists and Athletic Trainers have a keen and unique ability to examine the biomechanics of a sport in order to allow the body to efficiently maneuver through activity. For example, if you are a runner, and have a heel striking pattern, this may be the cause of your chronic knee pain. Heel striking causes a running pattern that forces the quadriceps to eccentrically contract, placing more force on the patella tendon. This condition is often referred to as “runner’s knee”. Also, perhaps your child is a baseball player. Biceps tendonitis is common in pitchers. It can sometimes be a result of not “following through” at the end of their pitch. An abrupt stop at the finish of a pitch creates an eccentric force on the bicep.
So the next time that you are experiencing a pain that just will not seem to go away, reach out to your Physical Therapist. CORA Physical Therapy is a company that strives for excellence by adopting treatments that are evidence-based. We focus on where it matters; results! Find a clinic local to you here.