Friday, June 27, 2014

Now that it has finally warmed up outside, the chance to get out there and get active is here. Whether you are playing sports, running around with your kids, or enjoying a nice, relaxing day sitting in the sun, it is important to keep your health in mind. Preventing injuries it is not hard to do if you know some of the simple steps it takes to make sure your body is prepared for the activities ahead. Everyone knows how beneficial proper stretching, warm ups and cool downs are however, there is another thing you can do to help keep yourself injury free this summer. Getting frequent massages (at least thirty minutes once a week) can not only improve your overall health but it can also be an easy and fun way to help keep you from getting injured while you are out and about this summer.

Massage in relation to exercise and athletic participation can

  • Promote relaxation
  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Improve soft tissue function
  • Increase range of motion
  • Help athletes monitor muscle tone
  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Help speed up recovery from injuries
  • Decrease muscle stiffness after exercise
  • Improve exercise performance
  • Reduce inflammation

So make sure to schedule yourself a massage regularly to help keep your body in tip top shape so you can be as active as you want this summer. The fewer injuries you get, the more you will be able to enjoy this long awaited summer!
- Beth Laskowski, LMT

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The weather will someday get warmer here in Chicagoland, and hopefully we find ourselves becoming more active!  All activities bring with some risk of injury.  The most common type of injury is one we can control, an overuse injury.  Sprains, strains and stress fractures are all types of overuse injuries from working out or playing sports.  Most of these can be avoided!  Here are some tips on how to minimize your risk of injury:

1.       Stretch – A proper warm up including some type of dynamic stretching will increase the blood flow to your joints and muscles and create a more comfortable workout or practice.  Static stretching (a held stretch for 30-60 seconds) after workouts will help elongate muscles and prevent post-workout soreness. 

2.       Use proper form – With any activity, whether it be driving a car or playing basketball, if you do not use correct form, excessive stress is placed on your joints.  Over time this stress can lead to pain, muscle spasm and injury.  

3.       Listen to Your Body – Stop if you are in pain!  If you continue to exercise through pain, you may cause more injury and prolong your healing time.  

4.       RICE – “Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation”.  If you do encounter pain during your workout, or sustain a traumatic injury be sure to follow the principles of RICE immediately. The longer you wait to care for an injury, the more damage that is done. 

5.       Strengthen- Performing strengthening exercises to areas where you are weak will only help improve your workouts.  If you love participating in cardio, try adding 2 days of strength training to your regimen.  You will prevent painful overuse injuries, and improve your endurance during your cardio workouts!

6.       Rest- It is important to rest from exercise one day per week. Or, take a break from your sport for at least one month per year.  Researchers have found that the young athletes that are at the highest risk of injury are those that only participate in one sport.  Your body needs to engage in different movement patterns, this will only make you a stronger athlete!

One of the reasons Jen Bazan and I started TheraCORE was to include a concept into our practice that many physical therapists, trainers and coaches leave out - injury prevention.  There are many things that you can do to prevent injuries weather you are an avid runner, or just trying to sit at your computer without pain.  TheraCORE offers injury prevention seminars to teams looking to prevent ACL injuries or rotator cuff tears, to companies who want to teach their employees better postural awareness.  Please give us a call if you are looking for more information! 

- Amy Goebbert, PT, DPT