As a sports doctor in Austin, TX knows, when you live an active lifestyle, it is not uncommon to suffer from back injuries and pain. Anyone who has an active lifestyle is prone to sustaining an injury that can dramatically affect their mobility and cause a great amount of pain. Especially if you play sports that are particularly rough like football, hockey, or rugby, you may not be a stranger to back pain. If you play high-contact sports, you are even more susceptible to suffering serious injuries like spinal injuries, back fractures, and other back issues. While this is common, if you are experiencing back pain that lingers and lasts more than a few weeks, it is time to bring in the professionals. If you have even a mild injury after participating in sports activities, you should see a specialist right away so that your injury can be treated. You want to ensure you are getting the help you need for your back pain or what could have been a short-term injury could turn into chronic pain. If you would like to see how the team at Austin Physical Therapy can help you, please give our office a call today.
What is Sports Medicine?
Sports medicine healthcare field that specifically involves the diagnosis and treatment of injuries, disorders and conditions related to sports and similar activities. Doctors who practice sports medicine commonly treat athletes who routinely play sports, but they can help anyone who has suffered an injury. They can help you improve your body and prevent you from suffering injuries in the future. For anyone who wants to improve their health, strengthen their body, and stay in good physical condition they can benefit from seeing a sports medicine doctor.
Specialized in sports medicine have specific training recognizing and treating sports-related injuries. They are required to complete one to two years of additional school and pass a certification exam to obtain the necessary qualifications. Sports medicine doctors must be able to collaborate and work with other healthcare specialists who work in the athletic field. Their training also includes practical experience with other healthcare professionals like physical therapists and athletic coaches.
Determining How To Help You
Your Austin, Texas sports doctor knows that before creating any type of treatment program for you, they must determine what caused the injury in the first place. Carefully conduct a detailed physical evaluation to see what kind of symptoms you are suffering from. A sports doctor will assess your symptoms as well as your medical history and lifestyle to see what the nature of your condition is.The treatment plan that they prescribe depends on the nature of your injuries. You could be dealing with an injury that needs treatment in the form of:
- Stabilization exercises. When you begin having a problem with the muscles that stabilize your spine, it is time to see a doctor. These muscles can become weak and allow your spine to move in ways it is not supposed to. Stabilization exercises can help to train those muscles to better stabilize your spine.
- Mobilization exercises. If you are experiencing stiffness in your spine and do not have the range of motion that you used to, mobilization therapy may be the right choice. One common form is chiropractic care. This can give patients the mobility and range of motion that they were lacking.
Who Can See a Sports Medicine Doctor?
A common misconception is that only athletes can see a sports doctor. However sports medicine doctors do not only help athletes, their patients include a wide range of individuals of various lifestyles and backgrounds. Patients who have an active lifestyle, such as people who are engaged in recreational activities like hiking, mountain climbing, bicycling, running and other forms of physical activity can benefit from seeing a sports doctor. Sports doctors can also diagnose and treat younger patients like children who are enrolled in various extracurricular activities. They can help anyone determine the best ways to strengthen their body and keep it in the best condition possible.
Can I perform treatment exercises at home?
We do not recommend skipping out on seeing your sports doctor when you are experiencing back pain. That said, your treatment will likely not just be in the office. Instead, your doctor will give you different exercises and techniques that can help you to continue improving when you are at home. Doing these are home exercises in addition to your in-person sessions will greatly improve your condition. This is often the best combination of treatment to get you healing and allow you to get back on your feet again quickly. Be sure to follow the instructions as directed by your sports doctor so that you avoid injuries and maximize the effectiveness of your treatment plan.
Managing a Sports Injury at Home
The first 24 to 72 hours can play an important role in your long-term recovery from a sports injury. The steps you take to treat your injury will be important. Do not delay treating your injury at home. This is why it’s important to see a sports injury doctor right away so that you can receive necessary and urgent treatment. Experts, such as a sports doctor in Austin, TX recommend the P.R.I.C.E. protocol to prevent further damage to the body and to speed healing.
P = Protection
It’s best to avoid putting weight on the site of injury and to limit unnecessary movement of the affected limb. Use crutches or a cane to support your weight if you have a leg or foot injury. You can also use a sling, splint or brace to immobilize the injured area. Austin Physical Therapy can show you how to use these interventions to protect the affected area and prevent further damage.
R = Rest
Rest the injured area to speed healing but do not become completely immobile. Add gentle range-of-motion exercises to encourage some muscle use while you are recovering.
I = Ice
Applying ice to injuries reduces pain and swelling. A sports doctor in Austin, TX recommends a schedule of icing for 10 to 15 minutes and then waiting one or two hours before re-applying. Alternating ice with rest is safer than keeping ice on the injury continuously. You can use a bag of ice, an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables for cold treatments.
C = Compression
Compression helps to minimize swelling and provides some support to the injury. A sports doctor in Austin, TX, can show you how to wrap an elastic bandage around the injury for compression. When using elastic bandages, be careful not to wrap too tightly. Loosen it if you experience numbness, tingling or skin color changes. Remove the bandage or keep it very loose while you are sleeping.
E = Elevation
When you elevate an injured body part, it helps to prevent the pooling of fluid that leads to swelling. Reducing swelling will lessen pain and help to maintain range of motion. Position the injured area above the level of the heart. It may help to prop up limbs with extra pillows. If swelling returns, repeat the elevation routine. Controlling swelling with elevation can speed up the healing process.
Over-the-Counter Pain Relief
Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen, naproxen or ibuprofen are helpful for pain relief during recovery. Follow the instructions on the label or call your doctor to ensure you have the proper dosage for each medication.
Adding physical therapy during your recovery can improve healing and help to prevent future sports injuries. Call Austin Physical Therapy today to schedule an appointment. We can help you get moving again so you can resume the activities you enjoy.
Common Sports-Related Injuries
Sprains can occur when tissues that connect bone to bone, called ligaments, move in the wrong way or are pushed beyond a normal range of motion. Sprains have a wide range of severity, and can result in an impact in a person’s mobility. Ankle sprains, knee sprains, wrist and elbow sprains are the most commonly treated sprains seen by sports doctors. In some cases, the joint where the sprain happened will require immobilization in order for it to heal properly. Sprains can cause a person significant pain and can take weeks and months to fully heal.
Strains are the most commonly encountered form of sport-injury. When a muscle or tendon is pushed to move beyond the typical range of motion, a strain can occur. Muscle strain is also commonly referred to as “pulling a muscle”. The level of severity varies among muscle strains. In some cases a strain has little impact on a person’s ability to move; in other cases, a strain can drastically hinder the person’s ability to move and go through daily life.
Avoid strains from sports by warming up properly and then stretching before engaging in strenuous activity.
In contact sports, fractures are particularly common – although fractures can occur from repetitive impacts to skeletal bones – such as shin splints. More severe fractures and breaks require surgery and immobilization for months to correct the break and allow time for the bone to heal. By maintaining safe sporting practices, wearing padding, and using safe form will help lower the risk of a break during your sport. Even through proper protection practices, warming up, and form – fractures and breaks are an inherent risk of most strenuous contact sports.
Plantar fasciitis/shin splints
Both plantar fasciitis and shin splints occur through repetitive strain and impact to the feet and legs. This is common among people who do a lot of running jumping and high impact activities. Seeing a sports medicine doctor can help you manage the pain and symptoms from this condition.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of a tendon in the arch of the foot, causing sharp pain with every step. Shin splints describe an inflammation of the muscles in the lower leg caused by repeated stress and high impacts of running, dodging or quick stops and starts.
The knee supports a great deal of our body weight and is essential in movement. As a result, the knee has to endure a great deal of impact through normal use during sports. The knee is also very vulnerable to injury due to the complexity of the joint. Knee injuries are often extremely painful and debilitating – in some cases a sports doctor will conclude that surgery is necessary to repair the knee. Adequate warm-ups, stretches, and safe sporting practices will help lower the risk of a debilitating knee injury during sport.
A commonly seen repetitive strain injury, Tennis elbow happens when the ligaments of the elbow are strained, and overextended during the sport or exercise (not necessarily tennis). By practicing good form, taking breaks, and avoiding overuse – tennis elbow can be avoided. A sports doctor will be able to evaluate the severity of your tennis elbow and offer recommendations for treating it – so you can return to your game of choice with confidence.
5 Ways To Reduce the Chances of a Sports Injury
Your sports doctor in Austin, TX is capable of treating your sports injuries, but some of them may be avoidable. You can help restore movement through the care at Austin Physical Therapy, but a few proactive habits can reduce the likelihood of injuries. Here are five ways to avoid getting injured with an active lifestyle.
1. Know Your Limits
If you’ve taken a break from exercise or intense activity, don’t push yourself too hard in the first days back. Staying in shape all year round is the best way to keep the body conditioned and ready to engage the different muscles, bones and joints. Don’t be embarrassed about taking breaks or letting your body rest.
2. Take Time To Stretch
Don’t just rush into a lap around the field or a game of basketball with the guys. It’s important to open up the muscles and joints by stretching and warming them up. Many of the exercises you do through an Austin Physical Therapy program works on stretching out your musculoskeletal system.
3. Wear the Proper Gear
If you are playing a particular sport, use high-quality, sport-appropriate gear to protect your body. The right shoes, protective pads for the elbows, knees, shoulder, shins, etc., eyewear, mouthpieces and helmets play a role in reducing the risk of injury. Back pain is a common symptom brought to the attention of a sports doctor in Austin, TX, and rough contact sports like football or hockey increase the risk of injury to the back. Protective gear is vital to safely participate in certain sports.
4. Stay Hydrated
If you don’t stay properly hydrated, you increase the likelihood of developing heat cramps. As you work out, your body loses water by sweating. This is how excess heat is taken out of the body and the core body temperature regulated. However, this process can cause the muscles to become more tense and interfere with your performance. It increases the risk of overexertion and injury.
5. Use Good Techniques
For things like baseball, golf and tennis, good form will do more than give you positive results on the scoreboard. Following the proper technique for a sport or activity prevents injury. Using good form keeps your body aligned correctly with an even distribution of weight.
Don’t ignore these tips and risk your sporting career or active lifestyle on an injury waiting to happen. However, when your body shows signs of wear and tear and you are feeling pain, a visit to Austin Physical Therapy, a sports doctor in Austin, TX, can help.
Who can I turn to for help?
When you are looking for help after you injured your back playing sports, look no further than Austin Physical Therapy. Our team can come up with solutions to help you with your back pain. Call now to schedule an appointment with our sports doctor Austin, Texas patients rely on today.