25 Apr Spring Brings Sports…And Injuries
The Importance of Injury Prevention
A good injury prevention plan will incorporate the an appropriate amount of weekly strength training. Strength training supports speed, power, agility, muscle mass, AND injury prevention. Strength training builds the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. Muscles and tendon strength allows for proper alignment while protecting bones and joints from impact forces. Strength training is especially important for safeguarding the health of your bones. Bone strength that results from strength training can help prepare your bones for the overload placed on them. Ligaments have to be ready for dynamic movements to avoid injury. We show our patients how to incorporate a balanced strength training program to get the most benefits possible.
Schedule a Fitness Evaluation to Prevent Injuries
Injuries don’t care how old your are or what your current athletic ability is–they will strike anyone at anytime. Before starting any kind of strength or exercise program (or engaging in sports) call Mile High Spine for a fitness evaluation to learn more about your individual biomechanics–your strengths and weaknesses–to determine what areas of your body are more susceptible to injury.
During a fitness evaluation with our Mile High Spine & Pain Center staff, we will perform a series of tests that will reveal where your specific strengths and weaknesses are. Many injuries find their source from weak muscles that are not equipped for the demands of the activity that they are engaged in. For this reason, our plans incorporate resistance training with regular training.
Weak or inhibited gluteal muscles are often the cause of lower back and lower limb injuries (as are misaligned structures.) Muscle imbalances often contribute to injury as well. The relationship between the strength and length of the muscles around a joint is known as muscle balance. During our initial evaluation, we will determine both your stationary and dynamic muscle balance status. Discovering where your muscle imbalances are before you begin a fitness program allows us to work on strengthening the weaker areas to avoid overcompensation injuries.
Preventing Muscle Injuries
The risk of injury is high with exercise programs which is why a functional movement test/fitness test is essential before you begin any exercise program–that goes for seasonal athletes as well as newcomers. The following suggestions can help prevent muscle injuries:
- Begin with a functional movement screening (FMS). FMS testing evaluates your movement patterns to identify and eliminate improper movements that can lead to injury. A FMS consists of seven tests: the squat, hurdle step, lunge, shoulder mobility, active leg raise, pushup, and rotary stability. After we have the results of this screening, we can help you incorporate strength training and corrective exercises to restore your proper movement.
- Strap on a heart rate monitor. Heart rate monitors are great tools for making sure you don’t overtax your body. Most injuries occur from overworking your muscles. Heart rate monitors, coupled with knowing what zones you should stay in during exercise, can help you keep your muscle glycogen stores from getting depleted during exercise and putting you at risk for injury. We can help you determine your max heart rate which uses a formula based on your age, gender, weight, resting heart rate and VO2 max.
- Learn how to use eccentric strength exercises. Simply put, muscles are more resistant to injury when they are strong enough to maintain the loads required of them. After your functional movement test, we can customize a plan that targets your weaker areas with strength training exercises to improve your performance and help you prevent injury.
- Get enough vitamin D. The National Institute of Health advises that athletes (and non-athletes) know and track their vitamin D levels to avoid injury because Vitamin D deficiency can put you at increased risk for injury and prolonged recovery. Vitamin D is an essential component to achieving optimal muscle function. “Vitamin D has been proven to reduce inflammation, pain, and myopathy while increasing muscle protein synthesis, ATP concentration, strength, jump height, jump velocity, jump power, exercise capacity, and physical performance.”
- Warm up, under-stretch. Every exercise routine needs a warm up–a light, 5-10 minute activity that may cause a slight sweat, but nothing strenous. The goal of a warm-up is to elevate your heart rate and respiratory rate. This action increases the blood flow, aiding in the transportation of oxygen and nutrients to your working muscles. The warm up also physically increases muscle temperature which can help you achieve a safer more effective static stretch. Static stretching before exercise (3-5 second holds) for 5-10 minutes can help you avoid injury, but needs to be done correctly. Our team can help show you how you can safely and effectively stretch before exercise to help you avoid injury. (If pre-workout stretching is done incorrectly you can actually increase your injury risks!)
- Incorporate chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic care is effective for injury prevention because it emphasizes proper alignment of the spine and pelvis. Malalignment of the spine can cause unnecessary tension on one particular body part versus an equal distribution of pressure leading to a wide array of injuries.
Call for an Injury Prevention Consultation
Enjoy all that your body is able to do without the worry of injury. With proper injury prevention preparation and regular maintenance, you can have peace of mind that you are doing your part to stay injury free. Mile High Spine & Pain Center provides injury prevention plans to patients in Westminster and Broomfield and can help you on your way to success with your goals. Call (720) 507-0080 today to schedule your free consultation!