While conventional medical doctors have a variety of treatment alternatives at their disposal, many of them focus on the use of drugs and surgery as the primary means of alleviating pain and helping to heal sports injuries. There is definitely a time and place for medical and surgical interventions, and much is owed to those who have developed and refined those techniques. However, the newest treatment trends include several non-invasive and nearly non-invasive techniques that show great promise in helping sports injury patients. If you are suffering from a sports-related injury, here are four techniques that you may want to ask your injury chiropractor about:
The Graston Technique was developed by an athlete who believed that the use of instruments could help make deep tissue massage much more effective than a strictly hands-on therapy. These instruments are constructed from stainless steel, and they are shaped in such a way that the practitioner can apply substantial force to scars and lesions within muscle tissue.
The Graston Technique is non-invasive, and each treatment session is relatively short. From a disadvantage standpoint, the treatments themselves can be quite uncomfortable, which may leave patients feeling sore upon conclusion. However, reports from happy patients indicate that the Graston Technique helps cure both chronic and acute sports injuries.
Active Release Therapy
Active Release Therapy is another innovative approach to treating sports injuries. Its practitioners provide pressure to the site of internal muscle injuries, past and present, that prevent patients from being able to continue on with their activities.
What sets Active Release Therapy apart from other therapies is that the patient is actively involved with treatment; the practitioner instructs the patient to make deliberate motions while pressure is applied to scars and lesions. Patient movements enable the process to be much more effective in restoring muscles to normal functioning while also freeing entrapped nerves and blood vessels.
Dry needling is a procedure that has some commonality with acupuncture. However, dry needling is a much more modern interpretation of the use of needles as a therapeutic modality. Dry needling involves inserting needles, both acupuncture and conventional hypodermic needles, into muscle trigger points and using gentle manipulation to help heal the underlying problem. Dry needling is only mildly invasive since the needles don't penetrate far into tissues.
Dry needling can cause some discomfort for patients, especially if conventional hypodermic needles are used for the procedure. However, thin acupuncture needles don't usually cause much, if any, pain for patients, and these are what are used by most practitioners.
Direct electrical stimulation of the muscles and nerves is another important treatment option for sports injury patients. The application of controlled amounts of electrical current to strategic points on the patient's skin causes underlying muscles to contract and relax in response. Depending on how much electrical current is used and in what particular frequency it is applied, the muscles will react in a way that can help bring about pain relief and healing.
Direct electrical stimulation is available for home users, too. Known as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units, these devices are inexpensive and readily available. These devices provide benefits for patients by giving them around the clock care without requiring them to come to a chiropractic office for every treatment.
How To Move Forward From Here
Recovering from a sports injury is more than just applying treatments without thought for your whole body's health. Even before starting to focus on an injured area, you should consider adopting these good practices:
Get a full health evaluation – there is a tendency to think about injury in terms of a specific body location. Both patients and doctors can be guilty of making this common mistake. However, injuries in one location of the body are often caused by an adaptation to an injury or illness elsewhere. Ask your chiropractor for a full evaluation of your health; their training and background as holistic thinkers can help you find the truth about your body's needs.
Start incorporating nutrition into your plans – no matter which direction you go with treatment for your injury, you should locate and implement a nutrition plan that matches your needs. Dieting is much more than restricting food intake, and proper eating can involve some complex decision-making based on your own personal variables. Your chiropractor is a nutritional expert, and they can provide constructive advice and support as you seek to improve in this area.