The 2016 athletic season has officially begun with the kickoff of the Winter Run Series and the annual favorite Brewery Run. Many of my patients past and present had a terrific 2015 season. I am personally proud to see that many of them performed consistently well, a good percentage finding their way to the podium while others achieved PR’s and/or challenging lofty goals. The names are too numerous to list, but you all know who you are. A sincere and well-deserved congratulation to all of you. I am happy to have contributed in a small part to your success. Thank you for your patronage.
With the advent of a new season, it is an opportune time to address the nagging injuries and conditions that perhaps hindered your training and/or performance last season. Many believe that simple rest in the offseason is the antidote for your ailments; this is not always the case and a common misconception. Recuperation time is an important component but may not be enough to ultimately resolve the condition.
Many of these nagging, reoccurring injuries are the result of repetitive stress and strain that occur from lack of adequate recuperation time and inadequate preventative activities, such as proper stretching, yoga, pilates, plyometric and the like. These repetitive stress and strain injuries will cause adhesion to develop in soft tissue including muscles, tendons, ligament and/or fascia. Adhesions are simply fibers that have become stuck together. As the adhesion recruits more fibers, increased tension is taken up in the structure which causes a restriction in range of motion and freedom of movement. A good example is a paintbrush that is not cleaned thoroughly. Once this brush dries the bristles become stuck together. The brush is not going to perform properly in this condition and neither are soft tissue fibers that are adhered.
The adhesions form in various ways, such as a simple strain, perhaps a sprain, the accumulation of micro-tears that occur over time or perhaps there was a muscle pull or a sprain of some kind that has not completely resolved. In many cases, the athlete is not aware that any damage occurred until over time, due to the repetitive nature of training, it becomes cumulative and soreness, discomfort or pain develops, also referred to a Cumulative Injury Disorder (CID).
Rest and recuperation alone in many cases will not be sufficient to resolve these types of conditions. The intervention of ancillary modalities often proves to be beneficial. Specifically, manual manipulation therapy, such as Active Release Techniques (ART), provides an effective success rate at resolving many of these related conditions. The goal of ART treatment is simple, identify the tissue that is compromised, palpate the location of the adhesion and through specifically designed movement based massage protocols break up the adhesions which ultimately allow the fibers to move independently once again restoring normal function and integrity to the tissue.
The beginning of the season is the perfect time to address these types of conditions for a few reasons. First, training frequency normally follows a light schedule and second, the intensity of training tends to be low to moderate. Therefore, recuperation time is adequate, allowing muscles and other soft tissue structures to effectively recover between training sessions. Including injury treatment at this stage of training allows the athlete the ability to effectively test, assess and evaluate the progress of treatment under normal training conditions. This process of treating and testing normally results in complete resolution of the condition and is typically accomplished within 3-5 treatments, on average.
With the 2016 season upon us, it’s a good time to personally assess any injuries or conditions that may have negatively affected your training or performance last season, minor or otherwise. Do you still feel that twinge in the calf, does the hamstring still not feel quite right, does the quad still feel a bit tight, is the shoulder still stiff, does neck movement continue to feel restricted? If your aspirations for 2016 include building upon your personal performance achievements of last season, it is best to address the issue(s) now before training begins to ramp up.
Best of luck to all this season. Train hard, train smart, be safe, have fun and above all, enjoy the journey.
YES, an ounce of prevention is undoubtedly worth a pound of cure!
by Terry Stein, LMT, ART
Athletes Performance Care is an alternative medicine practice specifically dedicated to assessing, evaluating and resolving conditions associated with soft tissue injuries. We accomplish this by utilizing a specialized modality known as Active Release Techniques®, ART. ART is an advanced movement based medical massage technique that restores normal function to compromised tissue. The conditions that we treat are all related to muscles, tendons, ligaments, myofascia and peripheral nerve impingements. ART resolves repetitive stress/strain injuries and cumulative injury disorders resulting from overtraining, overuse, athletics, occupational activity or injuries occurring from activities of daily living (housework, yard work, gardening, snow shoveling, etc…).