• The "Secret" to Athletes Rapid Healing


    When you love being active, especially when you're playing a sport, the worst thing to happen is getting injured. It can take weeks to get you back on your feet, and you can forget about playing sports again anytime soon.

    Now, how is it that professional athletes can injure themselves, but be back on the field, or on the court, in a matter of days? Do they have some magical powers allowing them to heal so quickly? Maybe there is some secret ointment or medication they have that allows them to heal at a rapid rate. Believe it or not, the answer might be a lot simpler than you thought.

    So how do they do it?

    Well, to start, professional athletes are in prime physical condition. They train their bodies to prevent an injury in the first place. So when they do get injured, they are already in good shape and in good health, which aides in their speedy recovery. However, this isn’t necessarily the reason they rehab faster from an injury. When an everyday person twists their ankle or pulls a muscle, it could take them a few days to get to the doctor to start their treatment. Then, they typically will spread out their physical therapy sessions over the course of a few weeks. On the other hand, when a professional athlete is injured, they get immediate treatment. A perk to being a professional is, having a team of doctors and trainers whose job is treating injuries the moment they happen.

    Having a professional there from the moment you are injured has a few different advantages. When you are injured, your body reacts to the injury by swelling. The trainers immediately apply ice and compression to the injury, which keeps down the swelling. Then, the trainers act fast to determine exactly what the problem is in order to find a remedy. They are also able to determine right away if an X-RAY or an MRI is needed, or possibly bring in a massage therapist. Regardless, the athletes are always told to rest, apply ice, apply compression, and elevate the injury, no matter what the injury is.

    Along with being seen by a trainer and starting treatment right away, these athletes’ jobs go from playing sports to focusing on healing. Unlike everyday people, who have to fit their treatment around their full time jobs and families, professional athletes get to spend their entire day concentrating on recovering. An injured athlete can have physical therapy multiple times a day. They have a team of professionals to help them get better, like physical therapists and one on one yoga instructors. Many athletes even have equipment like hot tubs and icing machines at their own home, making treatment easier to get. Also, some teams will fine a player if they skip a physical therapy session. Some athletes have been known to overuse painkillers and other prescription medications as a way to speed up their recoveries. They feel pressure from the team to get back to playing quick. This, however, isn't what the trainers and therapists advise to do for quick healing.

    Trainers don’t just help the athletes heal quickly, but they help prevent injury in the first place. They monitor the athletes while they workout. The trainers also look at the type of sport the athlete plays and determines the best workouts for them to do in order to avoid injury. If an athlete complains of back pain, the trainer will evaluate the athlete’s workouts to determine the cause of the pain and find an exercise to help get rid of the pain. Preventing an injury is the key to keeping a player in the game.

    Even though a lot of hard work and time has to go into rehab for professional athletes, it’s not some unheard of miracle treatment getting the athlete back in the game so quickly. There are no magic powers that are making them better, just a lot of will power, time, and resources. So while most average people can’t expect this type rapid healing, we at least know the truth behind why athletes rehab faster from an injury.

  • 3 Ways To Properly Heal A Jammed Finger


    When it comes to the types of injuries that can occur to your fingers, having a broken or dislocated is the highest pain threshold. A jammed finger is essentially a minor sprain of the joint. This type of injury occurs when your finger comes into contact with a solid object.

    The collision of soft flesh banging up against a hard, immobile object, makes the joint retract slightly. Because the object isn't designed to move when you encounter it, the only other option is for the soft tissue of the finger to recoil to brace against the impact.

    Jamming your finger is slightly more painful than a strained finger. A strain doesn’t require any type of treatment, except refraining from using it. To avoid recurring centralized pain on the joint, begin immediate treatment. If left untreated, this could potentially lead to arthritis in the finger.

    Below are 3 ways to administer treatment at home, to ensure that the finger heals properly and retains full range of motion.

    1. Anytime you injure a joint, there are nerves, ligaments, tendons and muscles in and around the area. So, start by examining the finger, to make certain that there isn’t any major swelling or bruising; which would indicate a more serious injury. If it isn’t bent or crooked, then simply apply an ice pack to the joint. Continue with ice only for a total of one hour. If there’s lingering pain, after the hour, then proceed to number two.

    2. Take two ibuprofen, and if the pain persists after four hours, take two acetaminophen or one 365 mg aspirin tablet. Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID), an over-the-counter medication. It'll lessen redness and reduce any remaining pain, while decreasing inflammation. Acetaminophen and aspirin are intended for pain only, as they won’t help with any abnormal puffiness.

    3. And finally, the third way to treat a jammed finger is to immobilize the joint. This can be done with simple sports tape or medical tape. Don’t wrap the adjacent fingers and there’s no need to use any type of splint. Of course, if the joint's tender to the touch, a simple do-it-yourself splint can be made, using two wooden Popsicle sticks and the tape.

    After treatment and rest, if there's soreness and swelling, it'd be good idea to see your family physician. In the case of bruising or stiffness, then it might be necessary to go to a local clinic or hospital facility for a medical assessment and/or x-ray.

    Sometimes, a jammed finger can accompany a more serious injury, such as minor ligament tear or a damaged tendon. Pain is the indicator for when it’s okay to treat an injury at home or if you need to seek medical attention. Little or no pain and it’s just a moderately jammed finger. A great deal of pain, which doesn’t ease after taking over-the-counter pain relievers, could indicate a soft tissue injury.

  • 3 Ways To Prevent Neck Cramps


    Sometimes your neck can be a real pain in the neck. Exercise, reading or working at the computer can all make it cramp up. But don't let these cramp your style. Here are 3 ways to keep your neck from making you a wreck.

    Prevention Tip #1: Give Your Neck a Good Rest

    Your sleeping habits and bedding can make a big difference in how your neck feels all day. Try sleeping on your back. This is the best position to help your neck rest because it's aligned with the rest of your spine. For more support, try sleeping on your back with a pillow under each arm. Many people find that this takes a lot of strain off the neck.

    Another option people find helpful is to sleep with the head at a slight incline. You can add a pillow or even opt for a bed with a head that raises. It may be that you just need a new pillow. Pillows get flattened after a while and lose the ability to support your head. Many doctors suggest an orthopedic pillow that has extra support under the neck and a slight depression under the head.

    Prevention Tip #2: Watch Your Posture

    Improving your posture can be very helpful in alleviating neck pain. Keep your shoulders back and chest out, like Mom used to tell you. If your shoulders bend forward, so will your neck, causing it to cramp after a while. A good way to work on your posture is to increase your shoulder strength. Lift some weights to build up shoulder muscles, especially the rhomboid muscles between the shoulder blades, which are very important in supporting the neck.

    Another way to improve your posture and help your neck is to lose weight. As people put on weight, the increased mass tends to pull the shoulders forward, triggering more neck pain. Exercise and losing weight will take a lot of strain off both your shoulders and neck and make all your activities more comfortable.

    Prevention Tip #3: Adjust That Culprit, The Computer

    Everyone has had the experience of getting up from the computer and saying, Ouch, my neck! A few changes in your work station can prevent that. Make sure the monitor is neither too high nor too low. Experts suggest setting it slightly below eye level or at about 15 degrees. Looking up at the screen is much more tiring than looking down and causes more neck strain. You can tip the screen or, if the desk is too low, you can set it on something to raise it a little. It's also important to take breaks from the computer screen to give your neck a little time to move around.

    A trick for taking stress from your neck while working is to check the position of your chin. If it's pointing up or down while reading the screen, you're probably straining your neck. Your chin should be closer to a neutral straight line. You can adjust the monitor to get your neck and head into a more aligned, comfortable position.

    Many people wear bifocals or trifocals to work in, and looking through bottom lenses for a long time can cause neck pain. It's recommended that single-vision glasses are best for reading and computer work.

    Your neck does a lot of work holding up your head all day. Show it some love and help it out by getting good rest, sitting up straight and adjusting that computer screen. That way you can avoid cramps in your neck of the woods.

  • Can Cracking Joints Lead to Something More?


    Human joints are marvels of engineering, able to move a myriad of ways. However, these unique-designed parts are subject to a variety of problems that can arise because of athletic injury, accident or simply from normal wear-and-tear. Individuals may notice cracking or popping sounds that occur frequently when changing position, which is not necessarily a sign of a problem, but could indicate a condition that should be monitored.

    Why Do Joints Make Cracking Sounds?
    The joints are lubricated by a naturally-occurring substance called synovial fluid. This fluid contains gases that produce the sounds of cracking of popping when a joint is moved in a certain way. The sound is natural and does not mean that something is wrong. However, when the sound is accompanied by discomfort, it could be a sign that ligaments connecting the joint are not moving smoothly or that the bones in the joint itself have a problem.

    Common Joint Problems
    If the cracking and popping sounds in the joints are associated with discomfort, it may be an early sign of a joint disorder. Osteoarthritis is the common joint problem in people over the age of 50. The structure within and around the bones that make the knee joint can become inflamed and swollen, leading to pain and problems with mobility. In many cases, the condition is a result of earlier injuries that have failed to heal completely and cause problems long after the original injury.

    Supplements For Joint Health
    Herbal dietary supplements were once the realm of alternative health gurus, but scientific data suggests that a number of these compounds can reduce discomfort and improve function:

    • Glucosamine-Chondroitin – These compounds are found in the human body and are also sold as supplements made from shellfish. Studies find glucosamine-chondroitin compounds help to prevent joint damage and help to treat existing joint pain.
    • Turmeric –Turmeric is a spice made from a Southeast Asian plant. It has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal compound. It has been found to help prevent and treat joint problems.
    • Fish Oil/Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Fish oil contains two different types of omega-3 fatty acids that help to reduce joint swelling and pain.
    • Ginger – Highly concentrated ginger extracts have been found to have a beneficial effect on joint discomfort by acting as an anti-inflammatory compound.
    • SAM-e – S-adenosylmethionine is a compound that is found naturally in the tissues and fluids in the human body. It helps to maintain cell membranes and produce brain chemicals. Researchers have found that taking a SAM-3 supplement can help to reduce joint damage and discomfort. It appears to work by repairing cartilage in the joints.

    Regular Exercise For Joint Health
    Staying active is a critical measure in maintaining joint health as you get older. A regimen of long works, sports activities or workouts at the gym will help keep supporting muscles strong and will maintain good flexibility. Swimming, bicycling and tennis are effective activities for keeping joints functioning well. Whatever your taste in activities, find one that you can enjoy on a regular basis to keep your joints healthy and pain-free.

    If you notice popping and cracking sounds that come from your ankles, knees, wrists and other joints, talk to your doctor about ways to strengthen the muscles and ligaments surrounding your joints so you can avoid painful problems in the future.

  • When Not to Apply Ice to an Injury


    For many years now, athletes across the world and those who simply dabble in various sports during their free time have been following the rule known as RICE, which was initially recommended by Dr. G. Mirkin way back in the 1970s. RICE means Rest, Ice Compression and Elevation, a method designed to help prevent further injuries following an accident during a sporting event. However, in recent years, this method has come under fire - with many questioning whether or not it is actually effective at treating a muscle injury.

    Ice works by decreasing blood flow to a specific area of the body, thus removing the swelling and inflammation that tends to follow a significant sports injury. Back when the RICE method was introduced, however, doctors knew very little of sports injuries, in fact. Believe it or not, inflammation is actually useful for an injury. It is important because it begins the natural healing process within the body. When an injury is experienced, blood vessels in the immediate area dilate, causing swelling and warmth. This increased blow flow actually brings in proteins and cells that aid in the healing process.

    Counter Intuitive

    Ice, despite what we all have heard, is actually quite counter intuitive to the healing of a sports injury. If you use ice to delay the inflammation, this will also delay the overall healing of your injury, causing potentially worse long-term damage.

    Ice will often lead to a significant decrease in blood flow within the area, plus a decrease in:

    • Potent Chemicals
    • Repair Proteins
    • Repair Cells

    "Ice Feels Good, Though!"

    While this is very true, that ice does feel good on a new wound, that is the only benefit it offers the body during the overall healing process. Using ice immediately after an injury is fine, but only when done in short bursts. Ice the area for a maximum of five minutes, then remove the ice for a good 30 minutes afterwards to let blood flow back into the area. After a couple of hours of this method, the injury will not require the use of ice whatsoever.

    Minor Pain

    Icing a sports injury is mostly used for minor pain. Anything more significant than a bit of bruising, scrapes, or some inflammation in a specific area should be treated with other methods - or perhaps a doctor. Ice is a wonderful tool to manage pain levels within the body, but do not expect it to be a cure-all for a sports injury.

    Again, simply use ice in moderation. No more than five minutes at a time should be effective enough to counter the pain and uncomfortable feelings that stem from inflammation and an injury while playing a game. After those five minutes, though, allow the body do it what it does best and heal the wound and any damaged tissue or cells within the body via a totally natural method that has worked for longer than anyone can remember by now.

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