Your patients are most likely becoming more active.
According to a 2017 Participation Report compiled by the Physical Activity Council, 42 percent of the American population engages in some type of “high calorie burning activity” at least one day per week, up 0.3 percent from the year before.
Some of the activities showing a gain in participation include cross training, stair climbing, and triathlons, just to name a few.
While this is good news because it shows that we as a society are becoming more active, albeit slowly, there are still some things that athletes and athletes-in-training are doing that are make sports chiropractors everywhere wince. Here are a few to consider.
1. Taking NSAIDS during long-distance events
“As a sports chiropractor, I wish my patient’s would stop taking NSAIDS ,such as ibuprofen, prophylactically to reduce pain during a marathon or triathlon,” says A.Carlo Guadagno, DC, CCSP, ICCSP, FICC, Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences at the National University of the Health Sciences, Florida Campus. To back up this statement, Guadagno points to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Athletic Training which found that “Ibuprofen did not reduce the effect of muscle damage and pain on performance.”
It can also have negative effects on your digestive system says Guadagno as one 2007 study found that, “with prolonged running, gastroduodenal permeability is increased if aspirin or ibuprofen is used prior to such exercise.” This research goes on to say that this can also increase small intestinal permeability. In easy to understand terms, “This may lead to GI symptoms,” says Guadagno.
2. Ignoring forward shoulder posture
Another thing that Guadagno wishes athletes would quit doing is ignoring their forward shoulder posture, subsequently “wearing down their rotator cuff.” This is especially prevalent with sports such as swimming, tennis, and volleyball says Guadagno.
Apparently, this is a widespread issue as “shoulder pain is one of the most predominant complaints affecting athletes” according to Guadagno. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that some of the most common shoulder injuries in individuals who perform regular throwing-type motions include SLAP (superior labrum anterior to posterior) tears, bicep tendinitis and tendon tears, rotator cuff tendinitis and tears, internal impingement, and shoulder instability.
3. Not following recommendations to avoid stress fractures
Guadagno would also like athletes to quit disregarding his suggestions that would help his patients avoid stress fractures. These recommendations include “activity modification, optimizing nutrition (including adequate caloric intake, calcium, and vitamin D), and addressing risk factors, including the female athlete triad (eating disorders, amenorrhea, osteoporosis),” says Guadagno. “It is important to screen for these risk factors during pre-participation evaluations,” he adds.
4. Not cooling down
Jason Yakimishyn, DC at Foundation Chiropractic Co. and APEX Optimal Performance, and official chiropractor of the Ontario Blue Jays (Canada’s largest youth baseball program), shares that, “Working with high level athletes on a regular basis is both rewarding and frustrating at the same time,” and one of the things that he wishes they’d stop doing is ignoring the importance of a proper cool down.
“A specific example of this is easily seen in the pitchers that I work with,” says Yakimishyn. “They’ll spend hours throwing pitches until their arms want to fall off, constantly rotating, straining, and exerting primarily one side of their body. Then after a while they wonder why they have rotational range of motion issues and muscle imbalances. The simple solution here would be to implement a cool down routine that stimulates opposing muscle groups and takes your body through its full range of motion on both sides.”
5. Failing to listen to your body
Another thing that Yakimishyn would like athletes to quit doing is ignoring their bodies. “If you’re tired, or you feel like you’ve had enough, then stop,” says Yakimishyn. “Learn to recognize when you’ve hit your threshold to prevent injuries from fatigue or overexertion. Obviously athletes want to push themselves to their limit to improve and hit new performance highs, but we need to recognize our limits.”
6. Being reactive versus proactive
Yakimishyn also wishes that more athletes realized that “regular maintenance” is key to keeping the body in optimal shape. This can “prevent many injuries from occurring in the first place,” says Yakimishyn. “If you’re someone who suffers from chronic tight hamstrings for example, then it’d be wise to be proactive and keep them as loose as possible, rather than waiting until they become a major issue. Doing things this way will allow you to spend more time on the court, field, or ice, rather than in the trainer’s room.”