HOW TO PREVENT THREE COMMON MUSCLE INJURIES
Playing sports, sitting at a desk all day, or even running outside are all simple actions performed in our day-to-day lives. But, did you know that most of these actions require repetitive movement that can often cause muscle strain. The motions of everyday activities can sometimes contribute to common injuries, such as tennis elbow, shoulder tendonitis and shin splints.
Here are three types of preventative exercises you can do at home to help alleviate and prevent those everyday injuries from slowing you down:
- Tennis Elbow, a common overuse injury that happens in the summer months due to increased sports activity with racquet sports, cycling, or golf.
Preventative exercise: Eccentric strengthening. Use weights to strengthen the area and muscles used in your favourite activities.
- Shoulder Tendonitis, a common injury often due to faulty shoulder mechanics that can be a result of sitting disease.
Preventative exercise: Chest stretches. Chest stretches helps get the shoulders back into the right position. Shoulder blade exercises are also a great way to help mobilize the muscles around your shoulder blades and strengthen the muscles of the mid-back.
- Shin Splints, a common injury as people increase their mileage outdoors. It is caused by running on concrete or other hard surfaces for longer periods of time.
Preventative exercise: Leg stretches. Use a foam roller to warm up your calf muscles and lower leg muscles prior to running.
Being mobile and staying active is a great way to keep fit and healthy. Remembering these simple preventative exercises will help you stay on an injury-free path.
Provided by Dr. Luciano Di Loreto, HBSc., D.C. & Associates
Chiropractic health care
The word “chiropractic” comes from ancient Greek and means “done by hand.”
Adjustment of the joints of the body has been used in the healing arts for many centuries and is at the heart of modern chiropractic care.
Chiropractors are specialists in manual adjustment of the vertebrae of the spine and other joints of the body. Adjustment helps relieve pain and restore normal functioning to the joints and supporting muscles and ligaments – so you can enjoy your everyday activities again as quickly as possible.
Your chiropractor will recommend a course of treatment specific to you that may also include mobilization of the joints, ultrasound, muscle release techniques, muscle stimulation and therapeutic exercises. Chiropractors are also trained to provide nutritional counselling, and recommend rehabilitation and injury prevention strategies.
Back health is important
The body’s information highway – your nervous system – is protected by the spine. The nervous system travels out between the vertebrae or joints of the spine to carry messages from the brain to every corner of your body. Stress and strain on the vertebrae can put pressure on the nerves in the affected area. That is why a problem with your spine can have far-reaching effects causing symptoms such as arm or leg pain.
When to consider chiropractic care
If aching joints and muscle pain are affecting your ability to get through the day and keeping you away from your favourite activities, consider chiropractic care. Work, accidents, sports injuries, household chores, even the stress of daily living can cause painful joint and back problems. Even if you do not have painful symptoms, chiropractic care can help you maintain healthy spine and joint function.
Here are some of the most common reasons why more than 4 million Canadians visit a chiropractor each year:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Strains and sprains from daily activities
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Work and sports-related injuries
- Restricted movement in the back, shoulders, neck or limbs
Benefits of chiropractic care
Chiropractic treatment is skilled, hands-on health care that relieves pain and helps your body be its best. Here are some of the ways it can help you.
- Improved movement in your neck, shoulders, back and torso
- Better posture
- Relief from headaches, neck and back pain
- Prevention of work-related muscle and joint injuries
- Enhanced athletic performance
- Improved flexibility
- Relief of pregnancy-related back ache
- Correction of gait and foot problems
Patient: Male 35 Years of Age
I recently had a patient come see me in regards to shoulder pain. While bench pressing the patient felt a pull in his left shoulder. Not knowing what it was, he stopped exercising and took a break. He is in his mid 30’s and physically active. X-ray and Ultrasound came back unremarkable. No swelling in the shoulder. Only pain when reaching overhead and when bringing his arm across his body (adduction movement). What is happening, he asked? What would cause this type of shoulder pain, decreased motion and weakness.
Let’s talk about shoulder anatomy for a moment
Our shoulder region is made up of the arm bone (humerus), shoulder blade (scapula), and collarbone (clavicle) – see images below. The humerus attaches into the scapula. Furthermore, the scapula has a protruding bony area at the top of the arm bone called the acromion. The acromion attaches to the collarbone or clavicle. This joint or connection is known as the acromioclavicular joint (AC Joint). The AC joint is held together by various ligaments. Ligaments are soft tissues which connect bone to bone. The ligament between the acromion and clavicle is called the acromioclavicular ligament. Furthermore, you have two other ligaments which hold the clavicle down on the scapula. These are known as the coracoid-acromion ligament and coraco-clavicular ligament. Surrounding the bones and ligaments are muscles. The rotator cuff muscles are responsible for most movements in the shoulder. They help us to raise our arm over head, comb our hair and open a door.
What is the purpose of the AC Joint? The AC joint allows the ability to raise the arm above the head. This joint functions as a pivot point, acting to help with movement of the scapula resulting in a greater degree of arm movement.
How do the ligaments surrounding the shoulder sprain or tear?
The ligaments of the shoulder sprain or tear most commonly is one falls on an outstretched arm, falls on their shoulder or endures a sport injury (football, weightlifting, rugby, etc.).
How are AC Joints Graded?
AC joint separations are graded from mild to severe. The grading depends on which ligaments are sprained or torn. The mild type, grade 1, is a simple sprain of the AC ligaments. A grade two AC separation involves a tearing of the AC ligaments and a sprain of the coracoclavicular ligaments. A complete tear of the AC ligaments and the coracoclavicular ligaments is a grade three AC separation. This injury results in the bump on the shoulder which is known as a step defect.
Let us recap the grading of an AC joint injury:
- Grade 1 is a simple sprain to the AC joint
- Grade 2 involves rupture of the AC ligament
- Grade 3 rupture of both AC and CC ligaments which often results in a superior displacement.
- Grade 4 involves posterior displacement (movement backwards)
- Grade 5 superior (upwards) displacement, to a greater degree than grade 3, with an increase in coracoclavicular space by 3-5 times normal
- Grade 6 involves full rupture of both AC and CC ligaments with the clavicle being displaced downwards.
How do I treat an AC joint dislocation?
Ice, graston therapy, soft tissue therapy, taping techniques, exercises/rehabilitation as well as laser therapy helps to heal the A/C joint area. Grades 4-6 may require surgical intervention. If this injury is neglected and allowed to heal out of place this could increase the wear and tear on your joint causing you problems in the future. Make sure you seek medical attention, if you experience this injury.
What else can this injury be?
It is important to rule out other conditions, such as SLAP lesions (labrum injuries), shoulder impingement, tendonosis and/or tears.
MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The following information is my personal notes about this subject matter. It is intended for informational purposes only. Consult a health practitioner to help you diagnose and treat injuries of any kind.