7 Ways to Prevent Injury Using Sports Therapy
Sports therapy may help reduce an athlete’s risk of getting injured. Before we get into the nitty gritty, please take note that you should never try to treat injuries yourself, and that the below may or may not be applicable to every situation, as each situation can be unique. The below should only be used for informational purposes and only implemented by a qualified professional who is licensed to do so. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a quick look at seven approaches for sports injury prevention:
1. Reduce Pain
The brain tells the body to take it easy so to speak when it senses that there’s something wrong, and the brain can easily tell that something is indeed wrong if there is pain present. Aside from performing less optimally, a vulnerable muscle or joint might make an athlete prone to getting injured. Yes, pain might be the result of an acute injury, or a type of injury.
It can be easy for an athlete to end up with a more serious injury if there is pain, again because of the fact that its presence might have an altering effect on the body’s natural movement. Aside from painkillers, there are a number of other things that might be done to reduce localized pain. Some of which may include the application of heat and/or cold.
2. Control Swelling
Inflammation is also a sign that something might be wrong with a joint or muscle, and it could be accompanied by pain and stiffness. Needless to say, inflammation might also change the way that an athlete moves or uses his or her body, considerably increasing the risk of an injury.
There are anti-inflammatory drugs that an athlete may take (always consult with a physician first), but because of the associated risks and side effect, it might be a good idea to minimize their intake depending on your physicians recommendations.
Another possible remedy that might be employed by sports therapists is the use of ice because it helps in making the blood vessels constrict. As a result, the pooling of blood and fluid in the body part with an acute injury might be reduced, relieving inflammation as well as pain and stiffness that come with it.
When inflammation is observed, the application of heat might be avoided as this may accelerate the pooling of blood and fluid, evidently doing more harm than good.
3. Warm up Muscles
It’s a good idea for every athlete to warm up the muscles before and after any practices and competitions. Muscles that are not warmed up may be cold and stiff, and employing them intensely might lead to an injury. Every athlete knows that getting injured might happen in sports, but in some instances the acquisition of injuries might force the athlete to bring his or her dreams to an end.
Warming up the muscles might be done in a number of different ways. When appropriate, a massage may help in warming up muscles and ideally assist in injury risk reduction.
A massage should only be provided by a sports or massage therapist who has full knowledge of which massages are most suited for each circumstance. Yes, certain massages might be a no-no when it comes to preparing someone before an event. There are also massages that might help. The bottom line, don’t guess what is and isn’t appropriate, that can only be done by a qualified and knowledgeable therapist who is licensed to do so.
4. Muscle Stretching
Other than for increasing the flow of blood to certain muscles of the body, certain types of massages are also designed to help in stretching the muscles. Again, the aim is to lessen the risk of injury. Having the muscles stretched is essential for keeping them strong yet flexible. Muscle stretching also helps in maintaining as well as improving the range of motion of the joints, which is something that could be beneficial for an athlete.
5. Strengthening the Muscles
Another very important approach to keeping injuries at bay is by having strong muscles. Athletes in particular need to have strong muscles as they rely heavily on them.
No, it’s not enough for an athlete to build and maintain muscles. While that might help, strengthening the muscles is not the only goal, but also to improve performance. Ideally, the goal is to reduce injury risk and enhance performance.
A sports therapist is someone who is capable of designing programs that may progressively increase the muscular strength of an athlete to keep at injuries at bay and help to improve performance.
In a number of circumstances, a sports therapist works with the coach in order to look for the best ways to help an athlete attain optimum performance. There are also instances, too, in which a sports therapist might help in managing pain as well as in assisting in the healing process.
6. Enough Rest
Although an athlete might seem superhuman to some, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is impervious to pain and physical injury. Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to push the body to the extreme. If pushed too far, it could quickly mean the end of his or her sporting career. If there is pain and inflammation, it is usually a good idea to consult with a physician and provide the body with the rest as needed.
There are 4 things that might be done after acute pain is experienced, and they are rest, ice, elevate and compress. Rest is not mentioned first by mistake.
Providing the body with enough rest is generally a good idea. You don’t want a minor issue escalating. Do take note that the operative word is “enough” because too much rest might also be detrimental. The key here is to have good communication with your physician and follow his or her orders.
7. Appropriate Nutrition
Not too many people are aware that sports therapy could involve nutrition, and not just massages, exercise programs and treatments.
Clearly, the nutritional needs of an athlete are entirely different from the nutritional needs of, say, an office secretary or a ballet dancer. Similarly, the nutritional needs of one type of athlete could be far different from the nutritional needs of another type of athlete. As you can see, sports nutrition could be a complicated matter.
Supplying the body with proper nutrition is of utmost importance most especially for an athlete to have the muscles and joints strengthened, thus helping to reduce injury risks.
While nutrients can be obtained via a healthy diet, there are instances in which their acquisition might need to be made with the help of supplements. Again, athletes have special requirements nutrition-wise, and may need specialized diet plans.
Article: Fremont College
*In no way is it recommended that you try to treat injuries by yourself. That should be done by a qualified professional. Before practicing any new modalities or techniques, check with your state’s regulatory authority to ensure they are within the state’s defined scope and standards of practice for therapy.