You are a University Athlete, Away from Home and You are Injured. What do you do?

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Find the right TEAM of experts to work together to fix you!

Your School provides the very best they know but sometimes we need more!

Here I hope to provide you with the insight that there are professionals out there who have studied the latest in therapies, body mechanics and evaluation procedures that your school might not know about. My hope is to educate you on some of these options and how to find them.

So many times I have a patient who comes home from college on a break and they want to be evaluated for their injury that isn’t quite getting better fast enough. They’ve received the best of care by the team medical staff but still feel less than 100%.  Some have returned to play but feel as though they can’t perform as well or maybe have a fear of reinjury so they hold back. Some are fearless and play hard but get hurt soon after their return and now they are frustrated. Once in a while you get that really bad one that needed surgery but just can’t seem to get back in the game.

No matter the situation they all have a similar issue; they need help. In some cases they have to wait until they get home, talk with their parents and hope to see a Specialist that can fix them. Oh, and get that all figured out in the three weeks that they are off from school! Or better yet, in the fours days they are off because they have to get back for practice.

As a parent you want what’s best for your child. You helped them find their sport, watched them excel and finally support and admire them while they play at a University level.

If they are injured you trust that the physicians and trainers and therapists at the University are taking the best care of them. After all, it IS a Top school in a major city surrounded by teaching hospitals and the world’s best research programs. Clearly they are in good hands and wouldn’t possibly need anything more!

As an athlete you would do anything to stay in the game, work through the pain, seek a second opinion, do all of the exercises, ice, heat whatever it takes just tell me what to do!! Right?

Why is it that even our professional level athletes who have access to the best of the best sometimes go out on their own to find the latest in therapies and travel out of the country for it?

Do we need to travel far and wide to find the right expert? Or is it that we just don’t know what or who we are looking for? My point is there are great people everywhere. Maybe the problem isn’t where to go to find them but WHO exactly do we need? We need a team!

“The Whole is Greater than the Sum of all its Parts”Aristotle

Remember that when you are trying to solve a dilemma  you might need more than one expert for the solution. I like to start with these three priorities when searching for WHO might be able to help:

  1. Identify the problem (What is injured? What type of specialist do we need?)
  2. How do you Fix it? (What are our options??? Corrective Exercise, Muscle Release, rehab, Therapy? Aren’t they all the same??)
  3. How do we prevent it from happening again? (Get to the source, the cause. Who can do that?)

There are so many professions out there, so many experts in many different fields. It can be difficult to sort out if you are not familiar. It is best to go to someone that specializes in the type of problem you have.  If all we know is Orthopedics and Physical Therapy then we are living in a very narrow minded small world. Remember that there is no one person who can know all and do all for every type of injury. A good physician, trainer or therapist will know when they need help. In many cases you’ll need to work with several different types of providers in order to get back in the game. My hope here is to simply educate you on just some of the other type of professionals or credentials/certifications you can search for should you need some expert opinion. If you are a parent and your child is away and is not responding well enough to their treatment you should have this information handy to guide you in the right direction for help.

KNOW YOUR OPTIONS!

I would like to provide you with a short list of Specialists out there and websites with search engines that can help you find someone in the area you need. These recommendations are based on my nearly 20 years of experience and education and what I personally have found helpful in my practice. There are many others that are just as good so please understand that this list is not all inclusive.

I advise parents and athletes too to start NOW and assemble a team of professionals in your area that you might need to find at a moment’s notice. Sometimes you can find one Professional that has multiple credentials so you may be able to combine therapies. Many Chiropractors and Physical Therapists and British Osteopaths will study the same areas so be sure to check out the full list of what they’ve certified in.

Types of Health Professionals to have on your call list:

  • Orthopedic Surgeon – for broken bones or torn parts (Specialist in area injured)
  • Physical Therapist – rehabilitation with at  LEAST these certifications (SFMA, FAFS)
  • Chiropractor – biomechanical correction with at  LEAST 1-2 of these certifications  (DACRB, SFMA, FAFS, ART)
  • British Osteopath – biomechanical correction with at  LEAST 1-2 of these certifications  (MOst, SFMA, FAFS, ART)
  • Massage Therapist – scar and adhesions in muscle (ART, Scarworks)
  • Acupuncturist – pain control
  • Nutritionist – metabolic efficiency testing
  • Sport Psychologist – Better Mind. Better Performance

Here are some sites to reference when searching for these types of professionals.

  1. SFMA: Selective Functional Movement Assessment – helpful in finding the right diagnosis whether soft tissue tension or neurological weakness.

www.functionalmovement.com Click on Find a Certified Member and select SFMA in your search

  1. ART: Active Release Technique – useful for tight muscles, strains, pinched nerves, inflexibility

www.activerelease.com Click on Find a Provider and search by Location/Zip code. Try to find the provider with the most certifications under their name

  1. FAFS: Fellow of Applied Functional Science – these experts are the TOP in their field who understand body function in 3 dimensions. You can find many types of movement specialists here including Strength Coaches, Athletic Trainers, Physical Therapists, Chiropractors and Osteopaths.

www.grayinstitute.com Scroll to bottom of page and Click on Fellow Locator and search by location. Be sure to switch your miles radius to the lowest area. GIFT is the program with the highest level of education.

  1. ScarWorks

http://www.wheelerfascialwork.com This search is for Scar tissue release. Go to Contact Us and send a message to find a certified provider in your area

5. DACRB: (Diplomate of the American Board of Chiropractic) – These are Chiropractors who continued their post doctoral education in the physical therapy arena.

http://www.acrb.org

There are so many other techniques that are out there that can be very effective in the treatment of injuries both old and new. Some of my colleagues are certified in Graston technique, Class IV Laser therapy, Gait Analysis using Optogait system or RunScribe technology. If you take away any message from this post I hope it is at least to search for more than what is traditional or commonly recommended. Find your team of experts in a variety of fields who work together for you!

Coming soon……..Video of Soccer Specific Flexibility Training!

3D Warm Up and Flexibility – Lower Body

elephant-balance-300x199The following  video demonstration shows a simple warm up for the entire body which allows communication between all joints from the ground up. It is important to establish this communication of movement to the muscles so that they become aware of the action the body is about to demand on them. Remember from our previous post about Balancing the Hip that the joint commands the muscles so why would you just do a static hold of a stretch for 30 seconds or so as a warm up? Doesn’t make sense now, right?

The second half of this short clip will show you how to warm up the back hip (hamstring, glute), front hip (hip flexor, quad), side hip (adductor, IT band) and ankle (calves, achilles). Some important things to note about these movements:

  1. The movement is full body, meaning that as you move it should start at the ankles and move up through the hips into your upper body. The communication between joints connecting as a chain is the key to proper flexibility. A restriction in one area can lead to compensations in others.
  2. Perform the warm up on both sides! If the demo shows the right foot forward be sure to do the same moves with the left foot forward.
  3. Avoid the Cheat! During what I call the ‘Stride Warm Up’ I will often instruct the athlete to hold an object overhead such as a baseball bat, golf club, Lacrosse stick or any straight item. This helps to improve the quality of the warm up by the unavoidable ‘cheats’ the body may try if, say, the upper body tension is preventing a full body stretch you might see an arm drop in compensation.
  4. Power in the Pelvis! Remember that the hip is a ball in socket joint where the ball is the top end of the femur bone and the pelvis has the socket part. When trying to warm up the HIP we are fixing the ‘ball’ in place and moving the ‘socket’ around it. So, don’t just move your arms in the directions you see, be sure to let the pelvis lead the way. I tell people to use their belly button as a guide.
  5. Kneeling before Standing. In the demo you will see the same movements performed kneeling then again standing. When starting out with 3D hip flexibility it is best to eliminate any kind of ‘cheat’ the body will look for. If we take away the knee as compensation we will allow the hip to achieve more range of motion so start with the kneeling ones until you can feel the proper warm up in the right places. You’ll begin to see how many knee injuries can be avoided by simply allowing the hip to do it’s job. More to come on KNEE safety!
  6. Speaking of safety PLEASE, if you feel pain when performing these movements consult with your movement specialist physician before continuing.
  7. m&m Principle applies! The more often you perform these movements the easier your body will remember them and the more efficient and reproducible your movements will become. More is better! Move Better. Perform better.