Pro Athletes Rely on Acupuncture Therapy to Stay in the Game

Natural treatment for painSports injuries affect more than 20 million Americans each year, and many of those injuries go untreated or leave residual pain that never fully goes away. For professional athletes, the risk of suffering an injury or feeling chronic pain is much greater than for the average person – and traditional treatment options aren’t always effective in treating symptoms and restoring health. Conventional treatments, in fact, often have long recovery times and fail to leave athletes feeling 100 percent. Through acupuncture, however, many sports stars have been able to bounce back from an injury and come off the bench feeling better than ever.

Dwyane Wade (NBA), Matt Hasselbeck (NFL), and former MLB pitcher Kris Benson have all turned to acupuncture as a natural treatment for injuries and chronic pain, often in conjunction with other modern medical treatments. It has helped athletes who might otherwise find themselves watching from the sidelines get back in the game more quickly; and it has helped others continue successful sports careers even after a debilitating injury.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an effective natural treatment for injuries such as:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Swollen muscles
  • Knee injuries and pain
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Shin splints

It is an alternative therapy that involves inserting thin needles into strategic acupuncture points in the skin. According to traditional Chinese medicine, this helps regulate the body’s energy and restores balance. In modern medicine, acupuncture is said to ease pain by stimulating the nervous system and by releasing pain-relieving chemicals into the body.

Acupuncture for athletes

Dwyane WadeAcupuncture can drastically speed up recovery time and even improve performance, which is why so many athletes are increasingly turning to this natural treatment for pain and sports-related injuries. Professional basketballs players have always been supporters of acupuncture with stars turning to the treatment for sore muscles and strains. In the 90s, Charles Barkley saw an acupuncturist for a sore neck. Grant Hill famously visited an acupuncturist in Phoenix for sluggishness and even admitted to receiving treatments for allergies. Meanwhile, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade relied on acupuncture for pain relief caused by knee tendinitis.

Aside from reducing pain, acupuncture has also been shown to promote tissue regeneration, leading many athletes to turn to the treatment post-surgery. Former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher, Kris Benson, started acupuncture treatments after undergoing Tommy John surgery in order speed up recovery. He was able to get back on the mound within a year of his operation. Another famous baseball player, former homerun king Mark McGwire, also trusted acupuncture treatments during his time in the Majors in order to manage back pain induced by a bulging disk.

With big name athletes spreading the word about the success of acupuncture therapy, this natural treatment for pain is sure to continue gaining popularity with pro athletes and amateur sports players alike.

Photo source: Dwyane Wade by Keith Allison

Yoga: Too Much Of a Stretch?

Careful when practicing Yoga, you could be doing more harm than good- as a dedicated Yoga follower, I feel compelled to investigate is this true?

Yoga’s popularity is constantly gaining momentum. In 2001 there were around 4 million people practicing and teaching Yoga. Now, in 2011, there are over 20 million. Yoga is seen to be an appealing exercise, as the stretches and poses work on not only the body, but also the mind. Yoga is perceived as a “gentle” exercise, which for many, provides an alternative to an intense cardio workout.

A controversial article, published in the New York Times, interviewed Glenn Black, an experienced and popular Yoga teacher in New York City. Black made a number of interesting claims, that really opposed many modern ideas on the perceived benefits of Yoga.

He claimed that a vast majority of people should give up Yoga

Yoga is for people in good physical condition. Or it can be used therapeutically. It’s controversial to say, but it really shouldn’t be used for a general class.

The reason most people develop Yoga related injuries, according to Black, can be traced to the manner in which Yoga first developed. Initially poses were developed from Indian practitioners. They often spent the day squatting and sitting crossed legged. Compare this to the average day of a New York City office worker, who spends the day sitting on a chair, it’s a no brainer to understand where difficulties may arise!

The medical community started to recognize the threat Yoga can pose to people’s health. A number of respected medical journals researched common injuries, that often affect Yoga practitioners and students. Musculoskeletal injuries were the most common, often developed from a number of common yoga poses, that put too much strain on this system.

Although often people attend yoga to deal with chronic or acute pain, some find themselves seeking out medical attention to deal with injuries that Yoga can cause. Clinics all over the country see more and more Yoga “ victims” attending pain management clinics. Some even attend special pain management in tyler texas.

I myself, am a keen follower of Yoga. I appreciate both the physical and mental benefits. So rather than throwing in the towel altogether with my Yoga routine, I made some “wellness” guidelines. They allow me to keep in good shape and NOT injure my body.

Hope they help!

Marina’s Tips for Safe Yoga:

 

  • It’s Yoga, not Tennis

Yoga is not a competitive sport, so do not make it one. You are not in competition with the other members of your Yoga class. How can you possibly relax and concentrate, if you are constantly checking out everyone else’s progress? Concentrate on your OWN progress.

 

  • Listen to your body

Just a little further…..Pushing through stretching plateaus is a sure way to improve your Yoga postures. IF done gradually. You know the difference between a stretch and throbbing pain. If your body is telling you to stop, listen to it.

 

  • Start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start

I see them coming into the local Yoga class. The cynics who think Yoga is gentle and easy. It is not. Very few come into class and can master the poses on their first try. Unless they have some post experience in other forms of stretching and balance training, everyone struggles at the start. It is normal. That is why you attend the class, TO LEARN.

 

  • Choose a teacher to suit your style

I have been through my fair share of Yoga teachers. Some were bad, others great, some were great, but I knew they were not suited to me. Check out the vibe you have with your Yoga teacher. How you feel after the class. If you are not suited to one another, it’s easy, change Yoga teacher. There are millions out there. Find the one that suits you!

Neck and back pain in office workers decreased by simple exercise plan.

back painSpine surgeons in Hyderabad, India have reported an upsurge in reported cases of chronic back pain in the last 5 years. The city has a high population of office workers due to the busy I.T. industry. Five years ago only 5% of the population under 40 complained of back pain, now that figure has risen to 50%.  Surgeons are blaming long office hours in combination with, lack of exercise and unhealthy food habits as primary causes for this increase.

Some of these cases of chronic back pain result in needing corrective spine surgeries. 5 years ago in Hyderabad, neurosurgeons reported performing about 10 corrective spine surgeries a month. That figure has now increased 4 fold to 40. Spine surgeons nj and neurosurgery new jersey report similar figures.

Chronic back pain amongst office workers is a global problem. How to combat it? Combat the causes.

A Danish study 2009, reported that a combination of all round physical exercise and specific strength training exercise reduced pain in several regions of the body that office workers cite as common pain sites. A one year intervention was completed from Feb 2005-Janurary 2006. 3 times a week workers did sessions of 20 minutes of specific exercises such as front raises, lateral raises, shoulder shrugs for 2-3 sets with 15 repetitions. General exercise was incorporated into leisure and work time. For example, commuting to work by walking or cycling.

These small exercise interventions had big effects after a one year cycle. After one year complaints of pain by workers in the neck, lower back, right elbow and right hand decreased dramatically.

It is also in the interest of business owners to educate workers on the benefits of exercise and stretches in the office environment.  Chronic back pain is one of the main causes of lost working days in the office. If back pain is prevented and treated the office environment becomes more productive, as fewer workers would need time off from work secondary to neck and back pain.  It would also save workers hundreds of dollars in medical bills.

The benefits are clear, the solution free, and the implementation easy.  So take a break now and stretch!

9 Low Impact Back Pain Remedies

physical therapy in freehold njAccording to medical professionals, as many as 90 percent of U.S. residents suffer back pain at some point in their lives. Back and spine pain is second only to the common cold as a cause of lost days at work and it is one of the most common reasons people visit a doctor’s offices, according to experts in NJ chiropractor.

While new, minimally invasive surgical procedures are becoming more readily available on the market, spine doctors recommend exercise and choosing healthy lifestyle habits to prevent back pain at their roots.

  • Heat it, ice it – Medical experts recommend using a combination of heat and ice to soothe a sore, stiff back. Heat can reduce muscle spasms and pain. Cold can reduce swelling and numb pain.
  • Strengthen your back muscles – Back pain usually happens when a weak spine is overworked. For this reason, it is especially important to keep your back strong, healthy, and ready for action when the time calls. Building up muscle strength in the back with exercise gives the spine support. The main goal of physical therapy after back pain, is exactly to build up the muscles that were supposed to have prevented such pain from happening in the first place, according to experts in physical therapy in Freehold NJ.
  • Stay active – Like the previous tip, movement and exercise are extremely important to not only overall health, but also a pain-free back. A sedentary lifestyle makes the body mushy and unable to cope with even small traumas. From walking the dog to avoiding elevators, small steps can help harden the body and will reduce the chances of injury.
  • Sit up straight – Just like your mother used to say and with good reason. Poor posture is a major cause of back pain. Standing up straight with your ears over your shoulders, your shoulders over your hip joints, and your hip joints over your ankles will help keep your healthy pain-free.
  • Stretch often – This is especially important for those who work in offices or spend extended periods of time in the same position. If this is you, medical experts recommend taking a break every 15 to 20 minutes to get up and stretch. Yoga can also be a helpful way to stretch against back pain.
  • Buy shoes wisely – The proper alignment of the spine, relies on the alignment of the hips, which relies on the alignment of the knees, which rely on the shoes on our feet. Yes, the wrong footwear can throw off your entire body and cause you pain when you lay down at night. High heels are especially dangerous as they create an unstable posture and can put pressure on your lower spine. Professional physical therapist in Freehold NJ recommend wearing well balanced sneakers with arches in the middle of the sole.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – More weight means more pressure – on everything. Extra pounds stress your back and can cause pain in a variety of areas along the spine. Eating smaller portions and filling up with vegetables and fruits can help you shed pounds and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Lift properly – Bend those knees! You’ve heard it a thousand times and it’s probably for a good reason.  Also, take care not to twist your body when you lift.
  • Explore alternative treatments – If you’ve seen the doctor a hundred times about the same pain in your back, it is possible he or she is not giving you the treatment you need. In contrary to what some mass media outlets may say, there are many alternative treatments for back pain that produce real, proven results. Among them are acupuncture, acupressure, massage and spinal manipulation. Some doctors won’t recommend them, but if all else fails, what do you have to lose?

The Fear of Spine Surgery

According to a recent survey conducted by the North American Spine Society (NASS), people who experience back pain may avoid getting help due to their fears spine surgery. Any spine surgery NJ specialist would agree that these results are upsetting, since back pain relief is of utmost important for a patient in discomfort and spine surgery is not the common treatment.

Approximately four in five adults will experience back pain at some point in their lifetime. There are several causes of back pain, from day-to-day stresses to medical conditions to injuries. In general those with back pain experience aches, tension, or stiffness.  In addition, there are several different specific types of back pain, including a strain, herniated disc, arthritis, or spinal stenosis. The back is so complex that every patient requires specialized, individual treatment options.

Spine surgery is usually recommended for only around 1 percent of patients, and it is never the first treatment applied. However, 66 percent of the spine specialists surveyed believe that fear of spine surgery keeps people in pain from seeking help for back pain.

The majority of people with back pain will get better without surgical treatment by using alternative options such as anti-inflammatory medication, exercise, coping skills and physical therapy. The NASS reports that 76 percent of the spine specialists surveyed recommend regular exercise before any other treatment. Other recommendations include not smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight, and using proper posture.

After the inception of back pain, it is advised to wait no longer than four to six weeks before seeing a doctor. 12 percent of patients, however, took over 12 weeks to seek help for their back pain.

Back pain is common and can generally be treated without spine surgery. The fear of spine surgery is not a good reason to not seek help.