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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Springtime Sports Injuries: How to avoid them and what to do about them.

By Dr. Jon Thomas, DC, PSc.D, Board Certified Chiropractic Physician.
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Spring has definitely sprung. The weather has warmed up and people are spending much more of their time outdoors. Golf fans are getting excited about the Tournament Players Championship, which is coming up soon at TPC Sawgrass.
After the cold months of winter, people are now playing tennis, golfing, running, and engaging in many of the activities that they couldn’t do during the winter. Unfortunately, some are injuring themselves.
One of the most important things to remember whenever you are exercising is to warm up. Unlike expensive sports cars, the human body wasn’t made to go from a state of rest to full speed in a matter of seconds.
It’s also important to know your limitations and not to push yourself too far too fast. Advancing your abilities takes time and repetition which should involve a plan and goals along the way. An important piece to include in your plan is a functional movement assessment like those performed at Vibrant Life Health Center. Based on your activities this will identify areas your body may have limitations or weaknesses that a good therapy and exercise plan can address. The result can be eliminating those points of weakness and fatigue that can cause injury.
Lower Back Strains
Activities that require sudden twisting motions or a lot of bending can cause lower back strains. Golfers are susceptible to back injuries because of the range of motion required to hit the ball. The motion required to successfully swing a golf club involves a good deal of stretching and twisting.
Exercising to stay flexible and strong is one of the best ways to avoid back injuries. Chiropractic adjustments, which put the spine into proper alignment and improve range of motion, are one other proactive measure people can do to avoid back injuries.
As many people know, when lower back strain does occur, a chiropractic adjustment effectively addresses the condition restoring proper spinal alignment. At Vibrant Life Health Center we also address the soft tissue related to injuries to reduce healing time and improve overall movement patterns.In many cases, a single adjustment by a skilled practitioner can provide instant and lasting relief.
Tennis Elbow
Tennis players are very susceptible to a condition commonly referred to as tennis elbow. The medical term is Epicondylitis and it can be very painful. The twisting and stretching involved with swinging a tennis racket are the cause. One of the frustrating things about tennis elbow is that it can take a longer time to heal than other sports injuries.
Chiropractic manipulations which focus on the elbow can improve an individual’s range of motion. It can also speed up a player’s recovery so that he or she can get back onto the court as quickly as possible.
Knee Injuries
Running puts a lot of strain on the knees. Anyone who plays a sport that requires running and sprinting, like baseball, basketball, or football may have knee problems from time to time.
Knee problems have put an end to the careers of many professional athletes. Chiropractic treatment can strengthen the knee muscles and stretch them to improve range of motion.
Strained Hamstring
The hamstrings are three muscles located in the back of the thigh. They enable people to bend and flex at the knee. A hamstring strain is an injury to any one of the hamstring muscles.  
A pulled hamstring is one of the most common of all injuries among all athletes. One minor slip can stretch the hamstring too far. Sometimes a hamstring actually tears. Some people even hear a pop when that happens. That would be an unpleasant sound for sure!
A good warm-up routine is one of the keys to avoiding hamstring injuries. Minor hamstring strains can be treated with rest and ice. For serious hamstring strains, a chiropractor can make an adjustment and massage the tissue to reduce the time it will take to heal.
Neck Strain
Cyclists and mountain bikers sometimes experience neck strain and stiffness. Tennis players can also experience neck strain from looking up repetitively to serve. The pain can make it challenging to move the neck normally.
Ice can relieve the discomfort of neck stiffness. Gentle stretching of the neck can also bring relief. Stretching exercises can be used to improve flexibility and strengthen the neck as well.
Like adjustments to the lower back, an adjustment to the cervical spine by a skilled and experienced chiropractor can bring instant and lasting relief to people suffering with neck pain. In addition, improper mechanics in the neck can lead to head aches and shoulder issues as well. Regular evaluation and chiropractic adjustment can have a dramatic impact on reducing and eliminating these types of issues.
Courtesy Oakley Originals
Ankle Sprains
Ankle sprains involve stretching the ligaments in the ankle. Ankle sprains are very common in nearly all sports. Landing on your foot at an odd angle or with too much force can easily cause a sprain. Walking, running, or playing sports on uneven surfaces increases the risk of spraining an ankle. Football, soccer, and basketball have high incidences of ankle sprains due to the sudden changes of direction that are required.
There may be swelling, bruising, and difficulty in moving the ankle. Moderate ankle sprains normally heal with time. When recuperating from an ankle sprain, it’s a good idea to apply ice and rest the ankle. It could take four weeks or more to heal from an ankle sprain, depending on the severity of the injury. Stretching exercises can help the healing.
Proper stretching and wearing shoes that fit well can help to avoid ankle injuries. Also, as much as possible, it’s important to avoid walking or running on uneven surfaces. People who have sprained their ankles might want to look into temporary precautions like using a brace or taping up the ankle.
Rotator Cuff
Rotator cuff muscles allow precise movements with the shoulder. Rotator cuff injuries are common in sports like softball, tennis, volleyball, swimming, and weight lifting, which require arm motions above the head. When the rotator cuff muscles stretch too far, they can become inflamed and cause joint pain.
For shoulder pain that lasts more than a few days, range-of-motion exercises can strengthen the rotator cuff muscles. Strengthening helps hold the shoulder firmly in place.
Treatment for serious rotator cuff injuries can include physical therapy, heat, and electrical muscle stimulation. Chiropractic can also be very effective for treating problems with the shoulder and the rotator cuff muscles.
Avoiding Injuries
The best ways to avoid sports related injuries are to stay in shape, maintain a healthy weight, and avoid activities that might cause injuries. Staying in shape keeps your body stronger and more flexible. Maintaining a healthy body weight prevents excessive stress on knees and ankles.
Proper equipment is also very important for avoiding injuries. Make sure that the gear you use is in good working order and that it fits properly. If you have any doubts about your gear, take it to an expert and they will check it out and suggest any necessary improvements.
Chiropractic care is important for athletes of all levels, from weekend warriors to professionals. Chiropractors are familiar with skeletal structure, muscle groups, and how they work together. A skilled Chiropractor knows how to address injuries throughout the body.
In this article, I have discussed some of the most common injuries that people have in the Springtime. I’ve also discussed how proper stretching before a workout can help to prevent injuries and how chiropractic treatment can help when an injury does occur.
If you have a comment about this article, please leave it in the comments section below. If you know of someone who might benefit from the information in this blog, please share it with your friends, colleagues, and on social media.
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At Vibrant Life, we address all of the key elements to add vibrance and vitality to your life. This includes nutrition, chiropractic care, and fitness. If you need to consult with a chiropractor about your neck, back, or any other health concern, please contact our office to set up an appointment.
Dr. Jon Thomas is a Board Certified Chiropractic Physician. His practice, The Vibrant Life Health Center, is located in the Mandarin section of Jacksonville. His interest in health and fitness started early, and his athletic pursuits have included BMX racing, Professional Snow Skiing, Water Skiing, Baseball, Weightlifting, and Martial Arts. After studying and learning from some of the top health experts throughout the world, Dr. Thomas dedicated his life to helping people of all ages to transform their lives. The objective for each patient is to initiate the body’s healing and to work progressively toward a body that functions optimally. Dr. Thomas is seen regularly on TV on First Coast Living, where he discusses the transformations of his patients. He also speaks at events throughout the community and writes informative articles to improve the health of residents throughout Jacksonville.


  1. Spring isn't the only thing that's sprung at this time of year. So are muscle aches and back issues caused by overdoing it on the golf course, the tennis courts, and the softball diamond. That's why it's good to be on a first name basis with your chiropractor.

  2. This was a good reminder to watm up and stretch before working out.