Questions for You from the Injury Assessment & Management Workshop

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Notes from the Sports Injury Assessment & Management Workshop

cr-notesIf you’re reading this, chances are you’ve suffered with an ache or pain, either occupationally or sports-related. In this piece, we’ve picked out some of the best points that you can apply to your own life (that we’ll also be applying to our practice).

After each point, we have a question for you, and would love to know your answers in the comments.

A few weeks ago the whole team attended the CAM Expo, which is one of the largest trade shows for complementary therapies in the UK. In addition to winning their prestigious Clinic of the Year award (shameless plug*), we all had an opportunity to attend workshops with some of the most prominent people in the industry. This is one in a series of our biggest takeaways and how we’ll be using them to help you going forward.

Cameron Reid is a highly-skilled and experienced osteopath who regularly provides workshops and training for massage therapists. Lina, Marcus and Sarah all attended his ‘Sports Inury Assessment and Management Workshop’ to learn more about how to assess the complaints that clients come to us with. What they left with was a number of principles that work well for life in general, really.

Key Takeaways

The Balance between Mobility and Stability

There must always be a balance between mobility and stability (I’d argue, both in the body and in life).

This can be an easy one to get wrong. Many practitioners err on one side or the other – have problems? Let me give you 20 strength exercises!

Or, let’s release all the muscles in the body and see what happens (spoiler alert: if you don’t also strengthen whatever those muscles were compensating for, you’ll end up with an injury).

Mr Reid rightly emphasised the importance of finding a balance between strength and flexibility when working with clients. The spine needs to move, and be supported, as does pretty much every joint in the body. Too much flexibility, and the joints are prone to excessive movement which can damage them or the ligaments supporting them.

Too much strength and every movement becomes a chore, movement tracking becomes clunky or jagged and the body loses its ability to move optimally.

This is why, for example, we tell you to stretch your chest and also strengthen your back when dealing with neck and shoulder pain.

It’s easy to indulge in the aspect you’re good at – people who are naturally flexible and/or loose-ligamented tend to yoga, and naturally bulkier/muscular people towards strength training.

Our Question for You

Where do you fall on the spectrum of flexibility and strength? Do you focus on flexibility to the point of instability?

Or are you focused on strength and stability to the point of losing mobility in your joints?

What is one thing you can do today that would bring more balance to your approach?

Your Problem Can Be Your Answer

The workshop reminded us that watching the movement that causes the pain or the problem can give helpful clues to  the underlying mechanics that cause the problem.

Most of our clients who’ve come with a specific problem know the movement assessments we do, plus ‘show me the movement that causes the pain’. When we can see how you move when you have the problem, we can often see where there may be movement dysfunctions.

In some cases, it won’t be clear to us where the mechanical problems are, so you may be recommended to a gait analyst or physiotherapist when the imbalance isn’t obvious to us.

Our Question for You

If you have a problem or pain that occurs with a movement, do you know where your form might be lacking? Or perhaps which muscles are tight and restricting ideal movement?

Power without Control Is Dangerous

Again, in life as in the body, power without control can set you up for problems.

A lot of people think they need to be stronger, so focus on strengthening exercises. If you don’t have control in your movements, firing the correct muscles at the correct time, you’re likely to end up with an injury.

If you’re a cardio-focused exerciser (*ahem runners and cyclists*) you may be thinking this applies just to weight training.

But – how many runners and cyclists pound the pavement and increase their mileage, without any work on functional movement or supporting muscles for good form?

Soooooo many of our clients with sport-related injuries have control issues around their core or pelvis that end up creating tears, strains, or spasms.

Our Question for You

How balanced is your approach to functional training (or, improving your ability to control your movements) vs just increasing power, strength, or distance?

Even If It’s Sports-Related, It Might Not Be Sports-Related

This was a particularly good (and true) point raised in the workshop.

Most of the time, problems are related to what you do most of the time.

And if you’re not a professional athlete, what you do most of the time is probably your job.

Even if you’ve injured yourself while running, the underlying reasons for that injury may be something to do with your occupation (tight hip flexors from sitting at a desk perhaps?).

This is why when you come to see us we ask you your occupation, and other questions that aren’t related to your sporting injury. Usually your job is what your body is engaged in 40-60 hours per week – how does that compare to how many hours you do your sport?

Our Question for You

If you have a problem that’s bothering you, is it possible that there’s something you’re doing during the time you’re not engaged in that activity that’s influencing it?

This isn’t even everything that was covered in the workshop (it looked really good and I’m kind of sorry I missed it – thank goodness for notes), but we tried to choose ones that you’d find helpful and/or interesting.

Now, I’d love to know which, if any, of these points resonated with you, and if any of them have changed the way you approach any of your aches, pains, or training strategy.

*I’ve been told I should talk about the awards we’ve won a bit more 🙂

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