OVERVIEW Though exercise is an important factor to the maintenance of health and well being, it can result in injuries. Injuries can occur whether the person in engaged in sports or any other form of exercise. The most prevalent and common sports injuries are: Sprains and strains, dislocations, fractures, abrasions, concussions, whiplash, tendonitis, and hernias. Sports injuries can result from a traumatic occurrence such as being hit or falling or it can be due to prolonged and repeated use of a specific muscle. No one is immune to sports injuries, as it affects both the professional athlete and the lay person.
INCIDENCE AND PREVALENCE The number of sports injuries have been progressively increasing, which may be due to the fact that there are ever increasing number of participants in some form of sports or exercise program. Injuries occur in both men and women; however, some are more common in one sex than the other. This is believed to be a result of anatomical or hormonal differences.
CAUSES FOR SPORTS INJURIES
The cause of a sports injury varies according to the activity. However, there are common causative factors in most sports injuries. These include: poor training methods, unsafe exercise environments, improper gear, weakness of muscles, tendons and ligaments, and accidents. Training without allowing for recovery time, as well as increasing the intensity of the workout too quickly significantly elevates the risk of injury. In addition, engaging in a sport or exercise program in bad weather or unsafe facilities as well as using improper gear that compromises the protection of the body often leads to injuries.
SYMPTOMS OF COMMON SPORTS INJURIES: Different sports injuries cause different symptoms. Below are some of the more common sports injuries and their symptoms.
Sprains are stretched, twisted or torn ligaments. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bone to bone.
Symptoms of sprains include: pain, swelling, redness, bruising and limited movement in the affected area.
A muscle or tendon can be strained, meaning they are stretched or torn. Tendons are tough narrow tissues that attach bone to muscle.
Symptoms of strains include: pain, muscle spasms, and muscle weakness.
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is one of four ligaments in the knee. ACL tears typically occur due to a sudden stop or change in direction or a poor landing after a jump.
Symptoms of ACL tears include: severe pain, unstable knee joint, limited range of motion particularly inability to straighten leg.
Tennis Elbow is inflammation of the outside of the elbow. It results from vigorous and repetitive use of the tendons and muscles of the forearm and surrounding the elbow.
Symptoms of tennis elbow include: swelling and inflammation around the elbow, area around elbow is very tender, pain upon movement of elbow.
Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendon. This occurs as a result of a tear or strain of the tendons of the shoulders, elbows, wrists, thigh, knee or Achilles tendon in the back of the heel.
Symptoms of tendonitis include: pain, swelling, redness at the affected area; limited movement of the injured area, position change or lump visible in the affected limb (sometimes observed).
One of the most common knee injuries, this condition occurs as a result of the wearing down and softening of the cartilage situated below the knee cap. As a consequence to the thinning of the cartilage, inflammation develops in the back of the knee cap. It is believed that sports activities that involve constant and repetitive impact on hard surfaces cause runners knee.
Symptoms of runners knee include: Soreness on one side or beneath the knee or a grating sensation in the knee.
Shin Splints, also known as sore shins: a painful condition affecting the length of the shin bone. The shin bone is situated along the front of the leg from the knee to the ankle. Shin splints results from micro fractures and inflammation on the surface of the shin bone. This injury is seen predominately in sports that involve running especially when its done on hard surfaces or in poorly fitting shoes.
Symptoms of shin splints include: throbbing pain and tenderness along the inside area of the shin.
Head injuries occur in many contact sports, when a participant experiences a blow to their head.
Concussions, a mild and reversible brain damage lasting seconds to hours, may be caused by a head injury.
Symptoms of a concussion include: loss of consciousness, dizziness, vertigo, nausea and vomiting.
CONVENTIONAL TREATMENT: When a person who is exercising or involved in a sports activity is injured, the first thing they must do is stop the activity. The initial treatment involves 4 components with the acronym R.I.C.E. or Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. The RICE method is utilized to alleviate pain, decrease swelling and encourage faster healing. Subsequent treatment includes pain killers, splinting, rehabilitation and surgery. Of course treatment of the injury will also depend on type of injury and what part of the body it affected.
ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT: Magnetic Therapy
Magnetic therapy offers an array of therapeutic benefits to those experiencing sports injuries. Magnetic therapy helps promote healing by improving blood circulation. Restoring the normal blood flow helps bring the nutrients and oxygen need for the healing process. Magnetic energy also normalizes metabolic functions that are factors in cell degeneration and inflammation. Though scientists are not clear as to the underlying reason and factors involved, magnetic therapy has been shown in research and clinical studies to alleviate pain, reduce swelling, and improve joint function. Athletes of different sports, as well as those engaged in various exercise programs report shortened healing and recovery time, allowing for quicker resumption of activity.
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