How to Stay at the Top of Your Game
Injury and Pain: Prevention and Treatment
Gym and sports injuries often bring people to the osteopath. With a work hard, play hard lifestyle common in Shanghai, pain usually stems from the workplace or workouts. Sitting for long hours is hard on the body . A sedentary lifestyle combined with an intense workout routine can be the perfect recipe for injury.
How can you get the exercise your body needs while preventing injury?
- Listen to your instincts. Our individual abilities differ. You have to know your limits. Focus on your own progress, rather than comparing yourself to others. Sometimes you have to acknowledge “my body can’t do that” (or at least can’t do it right now).
- Incorporate regular movement into your life and vary your physical activity. The body needs balance. Think about the bodily strain of sitting at a desk all day…and then suddenly doing hours of high intensity training. Try to move about and stretch during the day. Do different forms of exercise and get enough rest.
- Listen to the body’s messages. Your body may continue to function on a crazy schedule for some time. Our strength is also our weakness, as the body can handle a lot of “abuse”. Pain and illness are signals. Most injuries are not sudden, but build up over time.
- If you’re serious about sports and keeping fit, invest in your body. Work with a qualified trainer/physiotherapist. An osteopathic “tune up” can correct imbalances before you experience a major injury or chronic pain. Kids who are involved in high impact sports like gymnastics or rugby, or who participate in many sports, should have regular osteopathic checkups.
Treatment for sports injuries and pain:
Much Western medical treatment for injuries and pain focuses on masking the pain using pain killers and such. But, pain is an important message. By masking it, we’re only perpetuating the problem. Unsurprisingly, pain and injuries don’t get better in the long run with this type of treatment. It is important to understand why an injury isn’t healing and what is really going on with the body.
To do this, the osteopathic assessment looks at the chain of dysfunction. This means examining the local dysfunction (site of the injury or pain) and the distal (what is happening throughout the connections within the body). The body absorbs stress/force in a certain way. With a deep knowledge of these patterns and connections, osteopaths can unravel the chain of dysfunction. Treatment of the local site does sometimes unravel the chain of dysfunction, but usually only with early intervention. So, the sooner you notice pain and get treatment, the better.
In many cases, however, it is a more complex process to unwind the damage that has been building. “Band-Aid osteopathy” (and other quick fixes) just patch up the immediate problem. You may feel better at the time, but it often won’t last. Effective, long-term healing is not always simple or quick. The ultimate goal is to take your body back to a pre-injury level so it’s not prone to continued problems. Without this, pain or injury may reappear, even in areas of the body that might seem unrelated. Experienced osteopaths understand the complex connections that make the body work.
Working as an osteopath is a constant learning experience. We continue gaining a better understanding of the human body and our individual patients. We learn to look at a patient’s overall health for signs and to work with other practitioners for solutions. The musculoskeletal system is connected with what is going on in various organs, the nervous and vascular systems. A person’s condition cannot be looked at in isolation.
Fortunately, at Body & Soul we have an array of expert practitioners to treat the patient holistically. Using a team approach, rather than a segmented departmental approach, we gain a better understanding of all the options for helping patients heal. Acupuncture is highly effective in reducing pain. TCM can improve the flow of qi for better healing and address various internal medical conditions. With the largest pain management and rehabilitation center, Body & Soul’s physiotherapists and other practitioners can help you stay at the top of your game. Contact us to make an appointment with one of our pain experts.
Matthew Stevens is specialized in integrative manual therapy, combining osteopathic treatments with medical massages. He offers consultations at our Hongmei Road Clinic – Hongqiao and Four Seasons Cinic - Jing’an.