Tonic TORONTO ... Health Wellness & Green Living Magazine GAME ON by Tonya Rouse, Host of Perfect Fit Fitness Specialist, City TV & CP24 August 2007
It starts out like any ordinary morning, lace up, grab your water and go for your morning jog ... and then every runner's nightmare; you trip and sprain your ankle!! Once you've dusted yourself off and gotten over the embarrassment, then what? Well the first step is identifying that injuries usually occur because of accidents, improper gear or training. It can be extremely frustrating, especially for an athletic person to work hard on your body, be disciplined, only to have injury force you to the side lines.
There are two types of injuries and it's important to identify both as soon as you can; acute and chronic. Acute (or traumatic) injuries are usually sustained in a single blow and typically the first time; twisting your ankle while running is a good example. Breaks, sprains, strains and wounds are all considered acute.
The second type of injury is caused by overuse and is often chronic. Chronic injuries are those annoying aches and pains that bother you for some time. Most. often repetitive training, such as long distance running is to blame. Tennis elbow, stress fractures and tendonitis are examples of chronic injuries.
Body awareness is important for preventing and controlling injuries. Pay attention to any swelling, pain, or loss of range of motion. The sooner you get on top of an injury, the better. You should always consult an expert like a sports physician, physiotherapist or chiropractor.
In the meantime, should you suffer a minor injury, remember R.I.C.E, or Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation. R.I.C.E. is used for minor injuries such as "bruises, sprains, strains, and pulled muscles. The earlier the R.I.C.E treatment is started the better it works. Rest the injury. If movement causes pain and swelling stop!! Don't bear any weight on an injury like a strained ankle if there is pain or swelling. Ice the injured area to prevent or reduce swelling. Swelling causes more pain and can slow healing. My favourite choice is the frozen ice packs, which won't seep out on your bed. Wrap the ice pack in a tea towel so it's not too cold on your skin and causes frostbite. They should be left on for about 10 minutes per session.
Compression also helps to reduce swelling. Wrap the injured area with an elastic bandage. Make sure it's comfortable and not too tight. You'll want to rewrap it every few hours. Finally, elevate the injured area above the heart. Make sure it is 12 inches above the heart to help reduce swelling. Prop up a leg or arm while resting it. It may be necessary to lie down to get the leg above heart level. Elevation can be done with several pillows.
An expert will help you determine exactly what the injury is and when you are ready to get back into the swing of things. In Sports Medicine, the most accurate way to diagnose injuries is with diagnostic ultrasound. It allows the sports physician or therapist to maneuver around the joints for a better image then an MRI.
Back pain is the number one complaint at the doctor's office, especially from our aging population. Interestingly, it's also the number one reason people take time off work.
Why do our backs become problematic as we get older? Dr. Sender Deutsch of SHAPE Health and Wellness Centre (shapetoronto.com) uses integrated training techniques for his clients. He says, "as we age, many factors occur, including degenerative changes, loos of disc height, reduction of tissue elasticity and decreased strength."
The best way to prevent back pain is to "maintain a strong and stable core through an approved exercise program," he adds. "Research demonstrates that the plank, side-bridge, cross-crawl and abs curl with one leg straight, are the most effective ecercises for stabilizing the spine".
The most important rehabilitation tool for injuries is exercise. "Exerciise is medicine". It is important to start very slowly so you don't re-injure yourself. A good fitness expert, therapist or doctor can help you get back into activity safely. Overall regular exercise is one of the most powerful missiles for good health! Game On!