Redwood City Olympian Lili Zhang Competes in Rio 2016

Love the olympics?  Did you know that the Bay Area has a large constituent in the olympics? Well, we do….

We are fortunate enough to have several athletes in the 2016 Rio Olympics.  Northern California has a whopping 84 athletes out of a total of 555 for the United States.

In the 2012 London games, 71 of the 530 athletes had Bay Area ties, making up 13.9% of the contingency. This year’s number (13.7%) is slightly lower, however, there are some participants that are from Cal or Stanford competing in the summer olympic games.

One Redwood City native is Lili Zhang.   Lili is a table tennis athlete.  Here are some of her accomplishments:

1. 2010 and 2011 during the U.S. National Championships where Zhang won the title in the junior girls’ event and was the runner-up in women’s singles.

2.  In 2011, won a bronze medal in women’s singles and women’s team during the Pan American Games. She also dominated the women’s doubles and won the title at the Qatar Peace and Sport Cup.

3. 2012, she won her first national championship in women’s singles

4.   In 2012, She competed in the London games and was the 2012 US national champion in women’s singles competition.

5. Currently, she is a member of the United States National Women’s team and is competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Wishing everyone in the Bay Area good luck during these olympics.  You are all amazing!

What Are Muscle “Knots” and How Should They Be Treated?

This is in response to an article I just read in the NY Times.

According to an article in the NY Times regarding muscle knots,  “no one knows definitively what muscle knots are made of.”

This article states that experts believe knots, are “specific areas of contraction within the muscle fiber,” (Rob Grieve, a senior lecturer in physiotherapy at the University of the West of England in Bristol, England).

Mr. Grieve’s research results state that “the knots seem to develop when a muscle tenses repeatedly “and “are normally not caused by a specific, traumatic event,” “but by muscle overuse or faulty biomechanics.” (This is also known as slouching).

Mr. Grieve’s statement is something that I and many of my colleagues disagree with.  Knots have shown in several studies to be scar tissue and adhesions.  Knots can be caused by trauma, muscle overworking and strains. Over time these adhesions prevent muscles from contracting and stretching to their potential leading to discomfort and immobility. -Dr. Amie Gregory, DC, CCEP

The article continues to state that “scientists from Australia and the United States pointed out that muscle knots rarely show up on scans, leaving researchers with “no scientific basis” for believing that knotted muscle fibers make us sore. Instead, the researchers contend, the soreness is likely neural, involving the brain and irritated nerve endings”.

Yes, the nerves are irritated along with the muscle fibers.  Doctors can feel such fibers and of course any soreness that is felt in the body is ALWAYS a nerve.  That is our sensory mechanism in our body!  Muscles move, they don’t send pain signals.  Nerves do!  That is why Chiropractors study them and understand how the brain, spinal cord and nerves work so that we can eliminate the cause of discomfort. – Dr. Amie Gregory, DC, CCEP

The article goes on to say “Regardless of the possible cause, most therapists feel that the best treatment for purported muscle knots is to vigorously massage the sore spot or use a small, hard ball (such as those used for lacrosse) or a foam roller”.  – Well I do agree with that!  Finally!

Suggestions of injections were mentioned, but this is only a bandaid for the problem.  The pain will go away but continued usage of a body part that is injured will only lead to a long term problem that will not go away unless the CAUSE is treated.  Chiropractors find that cause and treat it allowing the body to heal without putting needles through your skin.  I think that is so much better than going and getting a shot every 3 months.

Chiropractors deal with sports injuries, car accidents and postural issues daily.  We can help people recover from muscle injuries and keep them functioning properly leading to a high quality of life.

Exercise Really Does Pay Off!

A new study suggests that becoming physically active in middle age, even if someone has been sedentary for years, substantially reduces the likelihood that he or she will become seriously ill or physically disabled in retirement.

This study joins a growing body of research examining successful aging, a topic of considerable scientific interest, as the populations of the United States and Europe grow older, and so do many scientists. When the term is used in research, successful aging means more than simply remaining alive, although that, obviously, is the baseline requirement. Successful aging involves minimal debility past the age of 65 or so, with little or no serious chronic disease diagnoses, depression, cognitive decline or physical infirmities that would prevent someone from living independently. Basically, no dis-ease in the body.

Previous epidemiological studies have found that several, unsurprising factors contribute to successful aging. Not smoking is one, as is moderate alcohol consumption, and so, unfairly or not, is having money. People with greater economic resources tend to develop fewer health problems later in life than people who are not well-off.

But being physically active during adulthood is particularly important. In study that looked at more than 12,000 Australian men aged between 65 and 83, those who engaged in about 30 minutes of exercise five or so times per week were much healthier and less likely to be dead 11 years after the start of the study than those who were sedentary, even when the researchers adjusted for smoking habits, education, body mass index and other variables.

Whether exercise habits need to have been established and maintained throughout adulthood, however, in order to affect aging has been less clear. If someone has slacked off on his or her exercise resolutions during young adulthood and early middle-age, in other words, is it too late to start exercising and still have a meaningful impact on health and longevity in later life?

To address that issue, researchers with the Physical Activity Research Group at University College London and other institutions turned recently to the large trove of data contained in the ongoing English Longitudinal Study of Aging, which has tracked the health habits of tens of thousands of British citizens for decades, checking in with participants multiple times and asking them how they currently eat, exercise, feel and generally live.

For the study, scientists isolated responses from 3,454 healthy, disease-free British men and women aged between 55 and 73 who, upon joining the original study of aging, had provided clear details about their exercise habits, as well as their health, and who then had repeated that information after an additional eight years.

The researchers stratified the chosen respondents into those who were physically active or not at the study’s start, using the extremely generous definition of one hour per week of moderate or vigorous activity to qualify someone as active. Formal exercise was not required. An hour per week of “gardening, cleaning the car, walking at a moderate pace, or dancing” counted, said Mark Hamer, a researcher at University College London who led the study.

The scientists then re-sorted the respondents after the eight-year follow-up, marking them as having remained active, become active, remained inactive or become inactive as they moved into and through middle-age. They also quantified each respondent’s health throughout those years, based on diagnosed diabetes, heart disease, dementia or other serious conditions. And the scientists directly contacted their respondents, asking each to complete objective tests of memory and thinking, and a few to wear an activity monitor for a week, to determine whether self-reported levels of physical activity matched actual levels of physical activity. (They did.)

In the eight years between the study’s start and end, the data showed, those respondents who had been and remained physically active aged most successfully, with the lowest incidence of major chronic diseases, memory loss and physical disability. But those people who became active in middle-age after having been sedentary in prior years, about 9 percent of the total, aged almost as successfully. These late-in-life exercisers had about a seven-fold reduction in their risk of becoming ill or infirm after eight years compared with those who became or remained sedentary, even when the researchers took into account smoking, wealth and other factors.

Those results reaffirm both other science and common sense. A 2009 study of more than 2,000 middle-aged men, for instance, found that those who started to exercise after the age of 50 were far less likely to die during the next 35 years than those who were and remained sedentary. “The reduction in mortality associated with increased physical activity was similar to that associated with smoking cessation,” the researchers concluded.

But in this study, the volunteers did not merely live longer; they lived better than those who were not active, making the message inarguable for those of us in mid-life. “Build activity into your daily life,” Dr. Hamer said. Or, in concrete terms, if you don’t already, dance, wash your car and, if your talents allow (mine don’t), combine the two.

Reference: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/29/exercise-to-age-well-regardless-of-age/?ref=health

Is Laughing Exercise?

Is laughter a kind of exercise? That offbeat question is at the heart of a new study of laughing and pain that emphasizes how unexpectedly entwined our bodies and emotions can be.

For the study, which was published this year in Proceedings of the Royal Society B,  researchers at Oxford University recruited a large group of undergraduate men and women.

They then set out to make their volunteers laugh.

Most of us probably think of laughter, if we think of it at all, as a response to something funny — as, in effect, an emotion.

But laughter is fundamentally a physical action. “Laughter involves the repeated, forceful exhalation of breath from the lungs,” says Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford, who led the study. “The muscles of the diaphragm have to work very hard.” We’ve all heard the phrase “laugh until it hurts,” he points out. That pain isn’t metaphoric; prolonged laughing can be painful and exhausting.

Rather like a difficult workout.

But does laughter elicit a physiological response similar to that of exercise and, if so, what might that reveal about the nature of exertion?

To find out, Dr. Dunbar and his colleagues had their volunteers watch, both alone and as part of a group, a series of short videos that were either comic or dryly factual documentaries.

But first, the volunteers submitted to a test of their pain threshold, as determined by how long they could tolerate a tightening blood pressure cuff or a frozen cooling sleeve.

The decision to introduce pain into this otherwise fun-loving study stems from one of the more well-established effects of strenuous exercise: that it causes the body to release endorphins, or natural opiates. Endorphins are known “to play a crucial role in the management of pain,” the study authors write, and, like other opiates, to induce a feeling of euphoric calm and well-being (they are believed to play a role in “runner’s high”).

It’s difficult to study endorphin production directly, however, since much of the action takes place within the working brain and requires a lumbar puncture to monitor, Dr. Dunbar says. That is not a procedure volunteers willingly undergo, particularly in a study about laughing. Instead, he and his colleagues turned to pain thresholds, an indirect but generally accepted marker of endorphin production. If someone’s pain threshold rises, he or she is presumed to be awash in the natural analgesics.

And in Dr. Dunbar’s experiments, pain thresholds did go up after people watched the funny videos, but not after they viewed the factual documentaries.

The only difference between the two experiences was that in one, people laughed, a physical reaction that the scientists quantified with audio monitors. They could hear their volunteers belly-laughing. Their abdominal muscles were contracting. Their endorphin levels were increasing in response, and both their pain thresholds and their general sense of amiable enjoyment were on the rise.

In other words, it was the physical act of laughing, the contracting of muscles and resulting biochemical reactions, that prompted, at least in part, the pleasure of watching the comedy. Or, as Dr. Dunbar and his colleagues write, “the sense of heightened affect in this context probably derives from the way laughter triggers endorphin uptake.”

The physical act of laughing contributed to the emotional response of finding something to be funny.

Why the interplay of endorphins and laughing should be of interest to those of us who exercise may not be immediately obvious. But as Dr. Dunbar points out, what happens during one type of physical exertion probably happens in others. Laughter is an intensely infectious activity. In this study, people laughed more readily and lustily when they watched the comic videos as a group than when they watched them individually, and their pain thresholds, concomitantly, rose higher after group viewing.

Something similar may happen when people exercise together, Dr. Dunbar says. In an experiment from 2009, he and his colleagues studied a group of elite Oxford rowers, asking them to work out either on isolated rowing machines, separated from one another in a gym, or on a machine that simulated full, synchronized crew rowing. In that case, the rowers were exerting themselves in synchrony, as a united group.

After they exercised together, the rowers’ pain thresholds — and presumably their endorphin levels — were significantly higher than they had been at the start, but also higher than when they rowed alone.

“We don’t know why synchrony has this effect, but it seems very strong,” Dr. Dunbar says.

So if you typically run or bike alone, perhaps consider finding a partner. Your endorphin response might rise and, at least theoretically, render that unpleasant final hill a bit less daunting. Or if you prefer exercising alone, perhaps occasionally entertain yourself with a good joke.

But don’t expect forced laughter to lend you an edge, Dr. Dunbar says. “Polite titters do not involve the repeated, uninhibited series of exhalations” that are needed to “drive the endorphin effect,” he says. With laughter, as with exercise, it seems, there really is no gain without some element of pain.

References: Article by Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times on the science of fitness.

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/laughter-as-a-form-of-exercise/?ref=health

Health Secrets From The Pro Athletes: What do they all have in common?

What do Evander Holyfield, the heavyweight champion of the world, John Smoltz, the 1996 Cy Young award winner and Dan O’Brien, the 1996 Olympic Gold Medallist in the decathlon have in common? What do they share in common with Marla Maples Trump, who can afford the best the world has to offer and James Earl Jones, the fine actor?

They all have been on the cover of Today’s Chiropractic Magazine sharing their excitement about the benefits of Chiropractic Wellness Care. Evander Holyfield stated in the December 1998 issue, “I do believe in Chiropractic. I found that going to a Chiropractor three times a week helps my performance. Once I drove 20 miles to see a Chiropractor before a fight. I have to have my adjustment before I get in the ring.”

Dan O’Brien said in the August 1996 issue, “you obviously can’t compete at your fullest if you’re not in alignment. It was the holistic idea that I liked about Chiropractic. I really think Chiropractic is essential in running. If I could put a percentage on it, I think I compete eight to ten percent better from regular Chiropractic use, if not more. It is essential for me and my training routine,” declared O’Brien.

Ten percent is a huge amount for an athlete or anyone for that matter. For Dan O’Brien, it would have been the difference between the gold medal and not even making the team.

A runner who runs a 10 second hundred meter dash may win a Olympic race, while an 11 second hundred couldn’t even qualify for the team. A 4.5 second 40 yard dash would make a fast running back, while a 5 second 40 yard dash would be an average time for a lineman. A baseball player batting .330 might win the batting title, while a player hitting .230 would get sent down to the minors.

Can you imagine if your entire life improved by ten percent? What if your energy, sleep, healing ability and immune function were all improved by 10%? How about a 10% improvement in hormonal balance and digestion efficiency? If your entire body was functioning ten percent better it would make a huge difference. You would enjoy a much happier, healthier, energetic life!

What is it that the pros know about wellness and Chiropractic that most people don’t know? Why do they receive Chiropractic Wellness Care to help them be their best and healthiest?

The first answer is that these people know health is not just how you feel. For example, they know that you can feel perfectly fine and still not be healthy.

Did you ever know someone who thought they were healthy and then all of a sudden had a heart attack? Do you know anyone who one day was fine and then , what seems like all of a sudden, got diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, arthritis, or a herniated disk?

These conditions take 10, 20, or 30 years before they show any outward symptoms that you or your doctor might be able to identify. However, what they will do is reduce your body’s function slowly over time, thereby limiting your health potential and quality of life.

This process happens so slowly over time that we accept these weaknesses as normal and go on with our life, never knowing what we are missing out on. Top athletes and performers are challenging their physical and mental limits every day, so they keep track of their function and performance in relation to their true wellness potential. Rather than waiting until they get sick or injured, they fine tune their body and mind all the time with Chiropractic Wellness Care.

Next, these top performers fully understand the relationship between their nervous system, and the function of every cell, tissue and organ of their body. Consider trying these simple interactive experiments.

Wiggle your fingers and toes. How did you do that? Your brain sent signals down your spinal cord telling your fingers and toes what to do. All motor function, all movement, is controlled by your nervous system including your balance and coordination.

Pull a hair on your arm, and then pull another one within an inch of the first. Do you feel the pulling in the same place each time, or a different place? You can feel the pulling in a different place because even every hair cell has its own distinct and unique nerve supply that is connected to the brain. All feeling and sensation is controlled by your nervous system.

How do you digest your food to get the maximum intake of nutrients your body needs to function properly? How does your heart know how fast to beat when you are exercising in order to supply appropriate oxygen to all the cells of your body? How does your body know what hormones to produce and when it’s time to go to the bathroom?

Every function of your body is controlled and regulated by your nervous system. Your brain takes in all the information from the environment and sends out signals which trigger the appropriate response by your body. As long as there is no interference to this system, the brain receives the correct signals and in turn sends out the correct response. The result is a healthy human being with unlimited abilities and human potential.

Unfortunately, if there is interference to this pathway, it acts like static on a telephone line and all the body functions become reduced. Dr. Chung Ha Suh, a researcher out of the University of Colorado, found that 45mm. of a mercury pressure, roughly the weight of a quarter, is enough to reduce the function of that nerve to 40 percent of its original value. We’ve already seen the significance of 10%, can you imagine the effect of 40%? Removing this interference is a serious health issue.

One person came in for Chiropractic care after not being adjusted for over a year. When confronted on the issue of wellness, he said, “I’m into wellness. I eat healthy and I exercise regularly.”. Unfortunately, his neck muscles had atrophied significantly and he had lost close to 50% of the range of motion in his neck. He had interference in his nervous system and didn’t know it until the damage was done.

This is not wellness. Random House Dictionary defines wellness as the fact or condition of being in maximum mental and physical health.

Chiropractic care is essential for wellness. Chiropractic removes interference from your nervous system so there is no static on your lines. Chiropractic Wellness Care keeps your spine and nervous system free from interference so that your body can function at its best all the time.

This is why top performers receive Chiropractic Wellness Care. Maria Maples Trump” has made her Chiropractic care a family priority. Her daughter gets adjusted and she has referred her husband, mother, chauffeur, nanny and personal assistant for care.”

You too can experience true health and wellness. Begin by making Chiropractic Wellness Care a part of your families life!

References: https://www.chiropracticresearch.org/

Runners May Be In Great Shape, But They Are Prone To Injuries

By most estimates, nearly 70 percent of runners will become injured. While many of their injuries will appear minor, they can become more serious over time if not properly treated.

Running injuries may impact other areas of the body as well. Because I am an extremity expert as well as a chiropractor, I am trained to look at the body.   I want to identify the true source of the problem treat any malfunction in the body and develop a training or rehabilitation program to solve it.

Among the most common running-elated injuries are:

  • Runner’s Knee – This is the most common running-related injury. Known as patello-femoral pain, and sometimes diagnosed as chondromalacia of the patella, runner’s knee is essentially irritation of the cartilage of the kneecap. The condition results in pitting or fissuring of the cartilage to varying degrees. While running, various mechanical conditions may predispose runners to a poorly tracking kneecap. This can result in irritation and/or damage to the kneecap. Runners will notice pain near the kneecap, especially after sitting for extended periods of time with knees bent or while walking down stairs or downhill. Appropriate treatment involves eliminating or modifying activities that cause the pain; correcting improper biomechanics that allow the injury to arise; and avoiding positions that further irritate the condition, such as sitting for prolonged periods of time.
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome – Symptoms of this syndrome include pain or aching on the outside of the knee, usually occurring in the middle or at the end of a run. When you flex and extend your knee, the iliotibial band, which runs along the outside of the thigh, can become irritated from repetitive rubbing over the outside of the knee. There are several causes of this syndrome, including weak gluteal muscles, bowed legs, over-pronation of the foot, leg length discrepancy, and running on uneven surfaces. Running on a circular track may also contribute to the problem. As with other running injuries, athletes should decrease their training regimen. In addition, they should also add stretches for the ouside of their thigh to their warm-up program, avoid running on uneven or circular track surfaces, and some should wear motion control running shoes.
  • Shin Splints – Also called medial tibial stress syndrome, “shin splints” refers to pain occurring in either the front or inside portions of the lower leg. Tenderness extends along the length of the lower leg at either of the surfaces. Those most at risk for shin splints are beginning runners who are not yet used to the stresses of running or who have not stretched or strengthened properly. To care for shin splints, runners should decrease their training, and begin with ice and rest, later adding strengthening of their lower leg muscles. They may use swimming and biking as alternative forms of exercise. If symptoms persist, runners should consult their physicians.
  • Achilles Tendinitis – The Achilles tendon is the connection between the heel and the muscles of the lower leg. Several factors contribute to the development of Achilles tendinitis, including excessive hill running, sudden increases in training, and improper shoes. One of the major factors is excessive tightness of the posterior muscles of the leg, including the calf muscles and the hamstrings. Runners with this condition should reduce their running. They can use ice and gentle stretching to reduce pain and tightness. If not treated properly, Achilles tendinitis can develop into a chronic problem.
  • Heel Pain (Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis) – The most common heel problems are caused by strain of the plantar fascia, which extends from the heel to the toes. Strain in this tissue can become very painful, especially with the first steps of the day. The condition can cause swelling at the origin of the plantar fascia at the heel. The pain is most noticeable when the foot flattens during weightbearing or when pushing off with the toes during walking or running, and it is usually located near the heel. The problems tend to occur in flat, flexible feet and in high arched, stiff feet. Left untreated, the pain can spread around the heel. Treatment should include a decrease in the intensity and duration of running workouts. Runners should also evaluate their running shoes for excessive wear and for proper fit. The wrong shoe for a foot type can worsen biomechanical flaws and cause plantar fasciitis.

Runners can take several precautions to prevent being sidelined because of an injury. While some of these steps might seem time-consuming or expensive, they are a good way to keep you on the right track.

  • Prepare for exercise/activities – Understand what muscle groups will be used and slowly start conditioning them by strengthening them. Talk with a PM&R physician to determine the appropriate type of exercises.
  • Properly stretch muscles before running – Muscles and joints need to warm up before beginning a run. Also be sure to allow for a “cooling down” period afterward.
  • Use an appropriate running shoe – There are several brands and models of running shoes. Make sure you are using the type best suited for your feet and your running style. Running shoes should also be replaced regularly. Consult a specialty running store to choose an appropriate shoe.
  • Incorporate hard days and easy days into your training program – Mileage should only be increased approximately 10 percent each week. Runners should make sure to decrease their mileage slightly every third week as a way to allow for recovery prior to additional mileage increases. Runners should also be patient with their development, being careful not to push themselves too far or too fast.
Some information provided by the 2012 American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: https://www.aapmr.org/patients/conditions/msk/Pages/runfact.aspx

YIPS Makes Putting Hard To Do

Yips are involuntary wrist spasms that occur most commonly when golfers are trying to putt. However, the yips can also affect people who play other sports — such as cricket, darts and baseball.

It was once thought that the yips were always associated with performance anxiety. However, it now appears that some people have yips that are caused by a focal dystonia, which is a neurological dysfunction affecting specific muscles.

Some people have found relief from the yips by changing the way they perform the affected task. For example, a right-handed golfer might try putting left-handed.

The involuntary movement associated with the yips may:

  • Occur at the beginning or middle of your stroke
  • Come and go
  • Worsen during high-pressure situtations
  • The yips may result from neurological factors, psychological factors or a combination of both.

Neurological factors
In some people, the yips are a type of focal dystonia, a condition that causes involuntary muscle contractions during a specific task. It’s most likely related to overuse of a certain set of muscles, similar to writer’s cramp. Anxiety worsens the effect.

Psychological factors
In a pressure situation, some athletes become so anxious and self-focused — over-thinking to the point of distraction — that their ability to execute a skill, like putting, is impaired. Choking is an extreme form of performance anxiety that may compromise a golfer’s game.

A combination of factors
For some people who have a mild degree of focal dystonia, stress, anxiety or high-pressure situations can worsen the condition.

Neurological yips are associated with:

  • Older age
  • More experience playing golf
  • Lower handicap

Psychological yips can be a problem at any age and experience level. When you start to have episodes of the yips, you lose confidence, worry about recurrence and feel anxious whenever you have to putt. These reactions can perpetuate the cycle — your increased yips-related anxiety makes your symptoms worse.

Because the yips may be related to overuse of specific muscles, a change of technique or equipment may help. Possible strategies include:

  • Change your grip. This technique works for many golfers, because it changes the muscles you use to make your putting stroke. However, if you have the type of yips related to performance anxiety, changing your grip likely won’t make much difference.
  • Use a different putter. A longer putter allows you to use more of your arms and shoulders and less of your hands and wrists while putting. Other putters are designed with a special grip to help stabilize the hands and wrists.
  • Mental skills training. Techniques such as relaxation, visualization or positive thinking can help reduce anxiety, increase concentration and ease fear of the yips.

Snowboarders More Injury Prone Than Skiers, Especially Women

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) By Genevra Pittman.  A new study from a Vermont ski resort found that snowboarders get injured slightly more often than skiers, with the most injuries happening in young, inexperienced female snowboarders.

The types of injuries in the study also varied by sport, with snowboarders most likely to be taken out by a hurt wrist or shoulder, and skiers more commonly injuring a knee ligament.

During 18 winter seasons with 4.6 million visitors, researchers counted a total of close to 12,000 injuries severe enough to bring skiers and snowboarders to the resort clinic.

“It’s true, these things do happen,” said Dr. David Salonen, a radiologist who has studied ski injuries at Toronto Western Hospital — and there’s probably no way to avoid them completely.

But, “For how many people are out there skiing (and snowboarding), injuries are relatively rare,” added Salonen, who wasn’t involved in the new study.

Salonen told Reuters Health that as with any sport, if you use the equipment properly and don’t push the boundaries of your experience or fitness, your chance of injury drops.

For the new study, Dr. Robert Johnson from the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington and colleagues analyzed injury reports from Sugarbush Resort in Warren, Vermont, from 1988 through 2006.

Snowboarders accounted for 17 percent of the resort’s visitors during that time, but slightly more of its injuries — about 19 percent. Since 2001, the research team reported, injury rates have been consistently higher in snowboarders than skiers.

On average, both skiers and snowboarders who got injured were younger and less experienced than a group of uninjured athletes who were surveyed for comparison.

“If you’ve got a whole bunch of people that are young and trying to learn how to do something that is like an extreme sport, there’s going to be a higher incidence of injury,” Salonen told Reuters Health.

“In any sport — and skiing and snowboarding is one of them — there are areas that will be more threatening and challenging to the athlete but also more intriguing. As you’re younger in age, you have a tendency to want to push your limits greater in any sport.”

Johnson’s team did not find that injuries were more common in athletes who used so-called terrain parks at the resort, which include half-pipes and jumps, even though researchers had been afraid that would be the case when they were installed.

One in five of all snowboarding injuries in adults and close to two in five in kids were wrist sprains and breaks, which are generally the result of a fall forward on to the snow, according to Salonen. Fractured collar bones and concussions each accounted for about four percent of the injuries in adults and five percent in kid snowboarders.

Among skiers, on the other hand, torn and otherwise injured knee ligaments sidelined one-third of the adult skiers, with leg muscle bruises being most common in kids, Johnson and his colleagues reported in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

Salonen said that it’s hard to tell how bad those different injuries were, and one snow sport isn’t typically associated with worse injuries than the other.

He said that in both skiing and snowboarding, recreational athletes need to make sure their equipment fits correctly for their body size, ability and technique, and newcomers should start out with lessons and know their limits on the slopes.

“It’s like any sport,” Salonen said, “if you’re physically not in any position to be able to do what you’re about to do, it’s probably going to be a bad outcome.”

Johnson said that injury prevention is about “common sense, which is a bit difficult to conjure up with the young males… who imitate what they see on the X Games.”

While wearing a helmet and some kinds of wrist guards might be helpful, he told Reuters Health, making safe decisions is what’s most important.

“You have to modify your behavior and not go out hitting your head on trees, whether you’re wearing a helmet or not.”

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/yUR70M American Journal of Sports Medicine, online January 20, 2012.

 

Heading Soccer Balls Could Cause Brain Injury or concussion

I have always wondered about this and knew that brain bruising and damage can sometimes happen with sports and wondered if there were any studies on soccer with heading or passing the ball.

In this article published on January 15, 2012 in the HealthDay News, it states that soccer players need to use the correct techniques when “heading” the ball.  My thoughts are even with proper technique, the brain takes a bit of a beating with repetitive heading.

Although researchers have not yet proven a link between the sport and brain damage, Dr. Alejandro Spiotta and other experts from the Cleveland Clinic said soccer balls are moving at high speeds when they come into contact with players’ heads, putting athletes at risk for a possible traumatic brain injury.

“Even if the cognitive impairment were to be mild, it would still present a major medical and public health concern because of the massive volume of soccer players worldwide,” Spiotta and colleagues wrote. “Any possible detrimental effect may only become clinically evident decades in the future.”

In their review of existing research, published in the January issue of Neurosurgery, the researchers said caution about heading must be used at all levels of soccer. They advised that children use age-appropriate balls until they develop the neck strength and body control necessary for correct heading technique.

English soccer player Jeffrey Astle, who had a reputation as a fierce header, died with degenerative brain disease in 2002. The brain damage he sustained was similar to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease seen in football players and other athletes, the researchers said in a journal news release.

The researchers noted that soccer balls are no longer made of leather and do not absorb moisture, which may make them safer for heading. Also, a debate about the use of soft headgear to help protect players’ heads is ongoing.

The review concluded that more research is needed to determine the long-term effects of heading on soccer players’ brains.

References: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_120832.html

Is Jumper’s Knee (AKA: Patellar Tendonitis) Serious?

This problem occurs when there is an inflammation or injury of the patellar tendon, right underneath the kneecap. Jumper’s knee is an overuse or repetitive injury that occurs over time.

This injury can happen with any sport that requires constant jumping, landing, and changing direction.  This can cause strains, tears, and damage to the patellar tendon.

Jumper’s knee can seem like a minor injury and a lot of people ignore it until they can’t stand it anymore. Because of this, many athletes keep training and competing and tend to ignore the injury or attempt to treat it themselves. However, this strain can lead to a serious condition.

Bones, joints and muscles in the knee work together to flex and extend the knee.  When the knee is extended, the quadriceps muscle pulls on the quadriceps tendon, which in turn pulls on the patella. Then, the patella pulls on the patellar tendon and the tibia and allows the knee to straighten. In contrast, when bending the knee, the hamstring muscle pulls on the tibia, which causes the knee to flex.

In jumper’s knee, the patellar tendon is damaged. Since this tendon is crucial to straightening the knee, damage to it causes the patella to lose any support or anchoring. This causes pain and weakness in the knee, and leads to difficulty in straightening the leg.

Symptoms:

1. Pain directly over the patellar tendon (or below the kneecap)

2. Stiffness of the knee, particularly while jumping, kneeling, squatting, sitting, or climbing stairs

3. Pain when bending the knee

4. Pain in the quadriceps muscle

5. Leg or calf weakness

6.Warmth, tenderness, or swelling around the lower knee

7. Balance problems

For mild to moderate jumper’s knee, treatment includes:

1. Resting from activity or adapting a training regimen that greatly reduces any jumping or impact

2. Icing the knee to reduce pain and inflammation

3. Wearing a knee support or strap (called an intrapatellar strap or a Chopat strap) to help support the knee and patella. The strap is worn over the patellar tendon, just beneath the kneecap. A knee support or strap can help minimize pain and relieve strain on the patellar tendon.

4. Elevating the knee when it hurts (for example, placing a pillow under the leg)

5. Anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen, to minimize pain and swelling

6. Massage therapy

7. Minimum-impact exercises to help strengthen the knee

8. Rehabilitation programs that include muscle strengthening, concentrating on weight-bearing muscle groups like the quadriceps and calf muscles.

How long does it take to recover?

Recovery can take a few weeks to several months. It’s best to stay away from any sport or activity that can aggravate the knee and make conditions worse. However, recovering from jumper’s knee doesn’t mean that someone can’t participate in any sports or activities. Depending on the extent of the injury, you can still play the sport you love, you just need to maintain stretching and maintenance to the joint.

How can we prevent Jumper’s Knee?

The most important factor in preventing jumper’s knee is stretching. A good warm-up regimen that involves stretching the quadriceps, hamstring, and calf muscles can help prevent jumper’s knee. Sometimes applying heat to the area helps as well before a work out.  It’s always a good idea to stretch after exercising, too.