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THE TREATMENT & PREVENTION OF SPORTS INJURIES

 

 

HOW TO PREVENT INJURY

 

 

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Warm Up Well
Tight cold muscles are much more likely to become injured than warm loose ones.
Always start your exercise or sports session by playing and moving effortlessly; do not run fast or stretch for the ball until your muscles are warm.  This will take at least 10 minutes.   It is particularly important before competition or a match when you will be expected to make maximum effort as soon as play begins.

 

 

 

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Stretch before and after
Develop a regular routine of stretching all the muscles you will be using for your sport, to carry out in the changing room before you go out, and  also spend 20 minutes or more working carefully through the routine several times a week, preferably after training.

 

 

 

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Keep your muscles warm
Wear plenty of clothes for warming up and change into warm dry clothes as soon as you have finished playing or training.  On a cold day wear extra layers even for competing. Between contests, races etc, even on a warm day, or indoors, put a track suit on. Evaporating sweat quickly cools the body.

 

 

 

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Build up progressively
Whatever your exercise goals do not expect to run a marathon or play three hours badminton the first time you go out, or even the first practice of the season.  Build up slowly, and if you want to impress at the beginning of the season use a progressive general fitness programme in the 6-8 weeks before the season starts.

 

 

 

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Get adequate rest
Rest days, when you do not train are as important a part of your training as the training itself! Muscles need to rest to assimilate the stress that you have placed on them, before you train or play again.  You will also need more sleep (and good nutritious food) than your 'lay-about' friends and colleagues.

 

 

 

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Look after your body
If you expect to get a lot out of your body you must give it respect in return. Regular massage and other therapies can help it be ready for action, by stretching and loosening muscles.  Take action at the slightest sign of injury - few injuries will get better if you keep playing, do nothing for it, and hope it will go away.  Most will get worse, but if you carry out the simple First Aid measures below, and have the injury seen to straight away it can be quickly remedied. If you leave it till it stops you playing it will almost certainly take far longer  to heal, and you may loose weeks of training and competing.

 

 

 

WHEN INJURY STRIKES...

 

Chronic Injuries

Perhaps you already have an injury, whether from your sport or not, which niggles or causes pain while you are playing or running, or afterwards.  The points made above are even more important, and you should concentrate your stretching on that area.  Deep massage will almost certainly be able to help solve the problem, or other therapies can be recommended, depending on the nature of the problem.

 

First Aid for Acute Injuries

For muscle pulls or tears and ligament sprains eg twisted ankles, remember  R I C E

 

 

 

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Rest - stop playing or running and take your weight of the injured limb as soon, and as completely, as you can, if possible for up to 24 hrs

 

 

 

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Ice - as soon as possible put an ice pack  - frozen peas are good, or fish some ice out of the orange squash from the bar - on the area to prevent swelling; put the ice on for 10 minutes every hour or so.

 

 

 

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Compression - Pressure with a compression bandage with added padding to localise the pressure to the injured area will help stop swelling, but make sure the pressure is not so tight that circulation to areas beyond the injury is not restricted.

 

 

 

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Elevation - Raise the injured limb by sitting  or lying with your leg or arm raised as much as is comfortable

 

 

 

If there is any chance that you may have broken bones it is important that you should go to Casualty for X-rays, but RICE first and while you are waiting will speed recovery.

After two or three days begin to move and stretch the area gently.   Heat will be more beneficial than ice after about 48 hours and remedial massage will significantly speed up recovery time and prevent the formation of scar tissue which could lead to permanent restriction of movement.

If you train hard and regularly, and perform, or hope to perform, at a high level, it is well worth taking regular preventative measures to make sure you are not  stopped from training or competing by an injury.  

Sports Massage will keep your muscles loose, allowing you to train and compete to your maximum ability, and help diagnose and treat any potential problems before they hinder you. Acupuncture can help increase your energy level, so that you do not suffer chronic tiredness, or other debilitating disorders, which can be cause by heavy training.

 

TREATMENT

 

Sports massage  or Acupuncture should  be able to resolve most sports injuries speedily. Several of our practitioners have competed in various sports at a high level and understand that you will not want to miss any more training time than is absolutely necessary, and will  help you  get back to your sport as quickly as possible. But with any treatment the sooner you seek help the quicker will be the recovery time.

A muscle may feel tight, perhaps through over-use, or be pulled by a sudden movement, or it  may cause pain where it pulls on a joint.   This sort of problem is easily treated by Sports Massage. Your spine or hip may be pulled out of alignment causing pain or restricted movement in your back or a limb.     If your body is weakened by extreme training, by poor diet or the after-effect of  a virus, you may suffer chronic tiredness or repeated injuries.  Acupuncture can diagnose and treat the underlying cause of the problem as well as provide an alternative method of treating musculo-skeletal injuries. 

Sports injuries are not necessarily caused by Sport or only affect Sports people ! Any traumatic or overuse injury can arise and be treated in the same way by our therapists.  For example, slipping on an icy pavement can cause exactly the same problem as slipping on a muddy football pitch;  repetitive activity of a limb or muscle, at work, in the garden, as a craft activity or playing a musical instrument can lead to very similar overuse as running  miles each week! 

 

 

 

Birmingham Centre for Traditional Chinese Medicine Ltd. Directors:
M.R. Ehrenberg BA, PhD, LSSMDip, DipAc,MBAcC,CertAc(Kunming); N. Lampert BA, PhD, DipAc, MBAcC,CertAc(Nanjing)MRCHM; C. Wylde BA, DipAc, MBAcC, CertAc(Nanjing)