Preventing Injury In Young Athletes

Identifying and reducing risk factors in sports in especially important in young athletes. A review published in “The Adolescent Athlete” journal found that up to 50% go injuries could be avoided with preventative measures for youth participating in sport. Some key items to consider when looking at preventing injuries include:

  • A pre-season screening program to identify muscle imbalances, weakness, previous injury locations and progress of healing at those sites. Waiting for an injury in-season is cuter productive for all athletes but especially young ones.
  • An off-season general strength and conditioning program. This should be aimed at maximizing an athletes general movement skills, sport specific injury prevention through balance and strength and general mobility.
  • Awareness of how growth affects athletes from not only a performance point of view but also how growth impacts muscles, strength and co-ordination, especially in the lower limbs.
  • Awareness of how specific skill sets impact the body through repetitive stress and how to prevent that stress through load management, practice balance and body awareness.
  • Early intervention is always the best course of action when dealing with a young athlete. At first sign of dysfunction, even without pain a professional should be consulted to ensure prevention of exacerbation on the condition. “Toughing it out” leads to more issues down the line.
  • Understanding that pain is not a “normal part of sport”. The old adage “No pain, no gain” needs to be scrubbed from the sporting world. Play and practice smarter and pain can be avoided in all sports.

If you are a coach, parent or athlete looking for more information on these or any sports injury related items, feel free to contact us at any time. 

Can Fibromyalgia Br Prevented?

What can be done about it?

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a common cause for chronic pain (pain that lasts three or more months) and afflicts 4% of the general population in the United States! FM commonly affects the muscles and soft tissues – not the joints (like arthritis); however, many FM sufferers are mistakenly diagnosed with arthritis, so it may take years before they get an accurate diagnosis. There are NO known accurate diagnostic tests for FM, which is another reason for a delayed diagnosis.

In order to answer the question, “Can fibromyalgia be prevented?” we must first find the cause of FM. There are two types of FM: PRIMARY and SECONDARY. Primary FM occurs for no known reason, while secondary FM can be triggered by a physical event such as a trauma (e.g., car accident), an emotional event or a stressful situation (e.g., loss of a child), and/or a medical event such as a condition like irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or systemic lupus erythymatosis (SLE). Any condition that carries chronic or long-lasting symptoms can trigger FM, and some argue that the lack of being able to get into the deep sleep stage may be at the core of triggering FM since sleep disorders are a common finding in FM sufferers!

The “KEY” to managing FM has consistently been and probably always will be EXERCISE and SLEEP. So, if FM is preventable, daily exercise and getting the “right kind” of sleep are very important ways that may reduce the likelihood for developing the condition! Since emotions play a KEY ROLE in the cause and/or effect of FM, applying skills that keep life’s stressors in check is also important. This list can include hobbies like reading a good book, playing and/or listening to music, or meditation. The combination of exercise with mindful meditation using approaches like Tai Chi, Yoga, Qi Gong, and others has had positive impacts on FM patients such as improved balance and stability, reduced pain, enhanced mental clarity, and generally improved quality of life. Managing physical conditions that are associated with FM (such as irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or systemic lupus erythymatosis) is also important in managing and/or preventing FM.

Another management strategy of FM is diet. As most patients with FM will agree, certain foods help and others make the FM symptoms worse. In a survey published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 42% of FM patients reported certain foods exacerbated their symptoms. Of course, each individual case is unique, so keeping a food log or journal can be very helpful to determine dietary “friends” vs. “enemies.” The first step is to eliminate certain foods for four to six weeks, such as dairy and/or gluten. Most patients report a significant improvement in energy (less fatigue) while some report less pain when problem foods are eliminated from their diet. Generally, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can have a positive impact on the FM patient. Consider eating multiple small meals vs. two or three large meals during the day, as this can keep blood sugar levels more stable and reduce fatigue.

So back to the question, can fibromyalgia be prevented? Maybe…maybe not. Since the medical community doesn’t know the exact cause, it’s hard to answer this question. However, being proactive and implementing the strategies used to better manage FM may help in preventing it as well!

If you, a friend or family member requires care for Fibromyalgia, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services!

What Is Whiplash?

And what can be done about it?

Whiplash is an injury to the soft-tissues of the neck often referred to as a sprain or strain. Because there are a unique set of symptoms associated with whiplash, doctors and researchers commonly use the term “whiplash associated disorders” or WAD to describe the condition.

WAD commonly occurs as a result of a car crash, but it can also result from a slip and fall, sports injury, a personal injury (such as an assault), and other traumatic causes. The tissues commonly involved include muscle tendons (“strain”), ligaments and joint capsules (“sprains”), disk injuries (tears, herniation), as well as brain injury or concussion—even without hitting the head!

Symptoms vary widely but often include neck pain, stiffness, tender muscles and connective tissue (myofascial pain), headache, dizziness, sensations such as burning, prickly, tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, and referred pain to the shoulder blade, mid-back, arm, head, or face. If concussion occurs, additional symptoms include cognitive problems, concentration loss, poor memory, anxiety/depression, nervousness/irritability, sleep disturbance, fatigue, and more!

Whiplash associated disorders can be broken down into three categories: WAD I includes symptoms without any significant examination findings; WAD II includes loss of cervical range of motion and evidence of soft-tissue damage; and WAD III includes WAD II elements with neurological loss—altered motor and/or sensory functions. There is a WAD IV which includes fracture, but this is less common and often excluded.

Treatment for WAD includes everything from doing nothing to intensive management from multiple disciplines—chiropractic, primary care, physical therapy, clinical psychology, pain management, and specialty services such as neurology, orthopedics, and more. The goal of treatment is to restore normal function and activity participation, as well as symptom management.

The prognosis of WAD is generally good as many will recover without residual problems within days to weeks, with most people recovering around three months after the injury. Unfortunately, some are not so lucky and have continued neck pain, stiffness, headache, and some develop post-concussive syndrome. The latter can affect cognition, memory, vision, and other brain functions. Generally speaking, the higher the WAD category, the worse the prognosis, although each case MUST be managed by its own unique characteristics. If the injury includes neurological loss (muscle strength and/or sensory dysfunction like numbness, tingling, burning, pressure), the prognosis is often worse.

Chiropractic care for the WAD patient can include manipulation, mobilization, and home-based exercises, as well as the use of anti-inflammatory herbs (ginger, turmeric, proteolysis enzymes (bromelain, papain), devil’s claw, boswellia extract, rutin, bioflavonoid, vitamin D, coenzyme Q10, etc.) and dietary modifications aimed at reducing inflammation and promoting healing.

Can I Stop My Migraines?

Migraine Headaches

Migraines can be life-altering! They can stop us from being able to enjoy a child’s piano recital, participate in family events, go to work, or simply do household chores! Wouldn’t it be nice to have ways to self-manage these miserable, often disabling headaches? Here are some options!

1. RELAXATION THERAPY: Search for a calm environment, turn off the lights (photophobia, or light sensitivity, is a common migraine complaint), minimize sound/noise (due to “hyperacusis”), and sleep if possible. Monitor the room temperature and/or use hot/cold compresses to the head and/or neck regions to relax tight muscles (heat) and reduce pain and swelling (cold). Similarly, a warm shower or bath can have similar beneficial effects.

2. SLEEP WELL: Migraines can interfere with falling asleep, they can wake you up during the night, and they are often triggered by NOT getting a good night’s sleep. To improve your sleep quality: a) Establish regular sleeping hours. Wake up and go to bed at consistent times every day, including weekends. b) Keep daytime naps short (20-30 min. max). c) “Unwind” at the end of the day – try soothing music, a warm bath, or reading a favorite book (avoid suspenseful movies). d) Don’t eat/drink too much before bedtime as heavy meals, caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can interfere with sleep. e) Don’t exercise intensely before bedtime (stretching is fine). f) Eliminate distractions in the bedroom, including TV and bringing work to bed. Close the bedroom door and use a fan to muffle out distracting noises. g) If you take any medications, check for known side effects, as many contain caffeine or other stimulants that can interfere with sleep – including some meds that treat migraines! Talk to your doctor and pharmacist!

3. EAT WELL: Be consistent about when you eat and don’t skip meals (fasting increases the risk for migraine). Keep a food journal to figure out your migraine triggers and avoid foods that commonly trigger migraines like chocolate, aged cheeses, caffeine, and alcohol. Try eliminating these and see how you feel!

4. EXERCISE REGULARLY:  This is MOST IMPORTANT for migraine management as it facilitates sleep cycles and stimulates the release of endorphins and enkephlins that help block pain. It also helps fight obesity, which is another risk factor for headaches.

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care for neck pain or headaches, we would be honored to render our services.

Diet Strategies For Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a common condition that affects about five million Americans, often between ages 20 and 45 years old. FM is very difficult to diagnose primarily because there is no definitive test like there is for heart, liver, or kidney disease. Equally challenging is the ability to effectively treat FM as there are frequently other conditions that co-exist with FM that require special treatment considerations. Typically, each FM case is unique with a different group of symptoms and therefore, each person requires individualized care.

Fibromyalgia symptoms can include generalized pain throughout the body that can vary from mild to severely disabling, extreme fatigue, nausea/flu-like symptoms, brain “fog” (“fibro-fog”), depression and/or anxiety, sleeping problems and feeling un-refreshed in the mornings, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, morning stiffness, painful menstrual cramps, numbness or tingling (arms/hands, legs/feet), tender points, urinary pain or burning, and more!

So, let’s talk about ways to improve your FM-related symptoms through dietary approaches. When the FM symptom group includes gut trouble (bad/painful gas, bloating, and/or constipation), it’s not uncommon to have an imbalance between the “good” vs. the “bad” bacteria, yeast, and problems with digestion or absorption. Think of management as a “Four Step” process for the digestive system:

1.  REMOVE HARMFUL TOXINS: Consider food allergy testing to determine any foods the FM patient has a sensitivity for. Frequently, removing gluten, dairy, eggs, bananas, potatoes, corn, and red meat can benefit the FM patient. The use of anti-fungal and / or anti-bacterial botanicals (as opposed to drug approaches such as antibiotics) can be highly effective. A low allergy-potential diet consisting of fish, poultry, certain vegetables, legumes, fruits, rice, and olive and coconut oil is usually a good choice.

2.  IMPROVE DIGESTIVE FUNCTION: The presence of bloating and gas is usually indicative of poor digestion, and the use of a digestive enzyme with every meal can be highly effective!

3.  RESTORE THE “GOOD” BACTERIA: Probiotics (with at least 20-30 billion live organisms) at each meal are often necessary to improve the “good” gut bacteria population, which will likely also improve immune function.

4.  REPAIR THE GUT: If the gut wall is damaged, nutrients like l-glutamine, fish oils, and n-acetyl-d-glucosamine may help repair it.

This process will take several months, and some of these approaches may have to be continued over the long term. Doctors of chiropractic are trained in nutritional counseling and can help you in this process. As an added benefit, many FM sufferers find the inclusion of chiropractic adjustments to be both symptomatically relieving and energy producing.

If you, a friend or family member requires care for Fibromyalgia, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services!

Chiropractic and Headaches

According to the World Health Organization, headaches are among the most common disorders of the nervous system affecting an estimated 47% of adults during the past year. Headaches place a significant burden on both quality of life (personal, social, and occupational) and financial health. They are usually misdiagnosed by healthcare practitioners, and in general, are underestimated, under-recognized, and under-treated around the world. So, what about chiropractic and headaches… Does it help?

Suffice it to say, there are MANY studies showing chiropractic care helps headache sufferers. For instance, in a review of past research studies using an “evidence-based” approach, chiropractic treatment of adults with different types of headaches revealed very positive findings! Researchers note that chiropractic care helps those with episodic or chronic migraine headaches, cervicogenic headache (that is, headaches caused by neck problems), and tension-type headaches (chronic more than episodic). There appears to be additional benefit when chiropractic adjustments are combined with massage, mobilization, and/or adding certain types of exercises, although this was not consistently studied. In the studies that discussed adverse or negative effects of treatment, the researchers noted no serious adverse effects.

In patients suffering from athletic injuries, particularly post-concussion headache (PC-HA), chiropractic care can play a very important role in the patient’s recovery. With an estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million sports-related brain injuries occurring each year, approximately 136,000 involve young high school athletes (although some argue this is “grossly underestimated”).

Several published case studies report significant benefits for post-concussion patients after receiving chiropractic care, some of which included PC-HA from motor vehicle collisions, as well as from slips and falls. For example, one described an improvement in symptoms that included deficits in short-term memory as well as attention problems. In this particular study, a six-year-old boy fell from a slide in the playground, and after 18 months of continuous problems, underwent a course of chiropractic care. After just three weeks of care, his spelling test scores improved from 20% to 80% with even more benefits observed by the eighth week of care!

Another case study looked at a 16-year-old male teenager with a five-week-old football injury who had daily headaches and “a sense of fogginess” (concentration difficulties). He reported significant improvement after the second visit, with near-complete symptom resolution after the fifth visit (within two weeks of care). After seven weeks of care, he successfully returned to normal activities, including playing football.

Dizziness and vertigo are also common residuals from concussion and were present in a 30-year-old woman just three days following a motor vehicle accident. She also complained of headache, neck pain, back pain, and numbness in both arms. The case study noted significant improvement after nine visits within an 18-day time frame.

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care for neck pain or headaches, we would be honored to render our services.