Coaches Corner

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Health Benefits of Massage Therapy


» Connection of the Mind and Body is increased

» Creates a general feeling of well being

» Emotional expression becomes easier

» Enhances self-image

» Reduces anxiety

» Satisfies the need for the human nurturing touch

» Self-image is enhanced


» Enhances calm thinking and creativity

» Improves the ability to notice stress signals and respond appropriately

» Induces a relaxed state of alertness

» Reduces mental stress


» Aids in re-education of muscles

» Promotes deeper breathing

» Promotes Deep relaxation and stress reduction

» Relieves muscle tension and stiffness and reduces muscle spasm

» Increases ease and efficiency of movement by providing greater joint flexibility and range of motion

» Improves circulation of blood and lymph fluids

» Assists with removal of metabolic wastes

» Reduces blood pressure

» Relieves tension related headaches and eye-strain

» Enhances and promotes faster healing time from pulled muscles and sprained ligaments: reduces pain and swelling; reduces formation of excessive scar tissue

» Improves skin nourishment

» Improves posture

» Strengthens the immune system by increasing circulation and disposal of wastes

» Improves the ability to notice stress signals and respond appropriately

Most Common Sports Injuries and Treatment

The most common sports related injuries are overuse and strain injuries. An overuse injury results from excessive wear and tear on the body, particularly on areas and muscles subjected to repeated activity such as ankle, knee, shoulder and elbow joints.

The most common high impact sport that leads to injury is running. Sports medicine experts report seeing more runners than any other recreational athletes in their clinics, followed by those who participate in skate and snow boarding, mountain biking, triathlon, dance (including high impact aerobics), tennis, skiing, basketball, gymnastics, football, soccer and figure skating.

Certain types of injuries plague sports participants. Most of them, however, are minor. Knowing the early signs, symptoms and what to do can help prevent them from becoming nagging chronic pain problems.

Muscle Pull

A muscle pull can happen to almost any muscle in the body. No matter how you warm up and stretch, or cool down and stretch, you may pull a muscle from strain, overuse, fatigue or taking a fall. To prevent a muscle pull, stretch after a light warm up exercise and prior to any vigorous activity. Work your muscles on a regular routine. Often people go too hard and too fast in their exercise or sports activities. Start slow and work your way up to a higher intensity level gradually.

A muscle pulls when a sudden, severe force is applied to the muscle and the fibres are stretched beyond their capacity. If only some of the fibres tear, that is a muscle pull. If most of the fibres tear, that is a muscle tear.

Muscle Cramps

A muscle cramp is a painful, involuntary muscle contraction. Muscle cramps are also called muscle spasms.

What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?

The main symptom of a muscle cramp or spasm is pain in the muscle. The muscle itself is tender to the touch. In most cases a person is unable to continue using the affected muscle due to the pain. What are the causes and risks of the condition?

The exact cause of muscle cramps is not well understood. They can occur in any muscle at any time. Cramps occur most often in the muscles of the leg or foot. They usually occur while playing sports, exercising, or lying in bed. The calf muscle in the back of the lower leg is a common place for night time cramps. These often occur after vigorous exercise.

Tight muscles are more likely to cramp than flexible muscles that have been stretched. A low level of physical fitness increases the risk of muscle cramps. Overexertion and muscle fatigue also contribute to cramping. Excess sweating or dehydration can deplete minerals in the body. These minerals are important for good muscle function and include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Medications like diuretics or water pills can also lead to cramping due to loss of sodium and potassium. Other situations can contribute to muscle cramping. A person with one leg longer than the other is more likely to develop cramps. People, who run with too much rolling in of the foot or too much rolling out of the foot, are more likely to get leg cramps. Wearing high heel shoes can also cause cramping. A poor blood supply to leg muscles caused by smoking and arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) can cause a type of calf pain called claudication.

The common muscle cramp lasts a few seconds to minutes. It does not carry any risk of other long-term medical problems.

What can be done to prevent the condition?

Stretching the calf and other leg muscles improves flexibility. This reduces the risk of cramps. Individuals who get night time calf cramps should: Sleep on their sides, not tuck in their blankets and sheets too tightly. This can bend the toes down and cause a cramp. Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables to reduce the risk of mineral deficiencies. Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise to prevent dehydration, especially during hot weather, wear comfortable shoes with good arch support to helps prevent cramps.

Neck Strain and Pain

A pulled muscle or a muscle spasm in the neck can happen when a tennis player looks up to serve or hit an overhead smash, or you turn your head around to quickly. The pain is on one side of the neck as the neck may be pulled over slightly to that side. It may be very painful to turn the head in the direction of the pain.

Cyclists and mountain bike riders may also feel neck stiffness. After long rides, the neck muscles may tighten up and stiffen or the neck may go into spasms from this awkward position.

Rotator cuff Tendonopathy / Frozen Shoulder Injury

The shoulder bones are held together by a group of muscles known as the rotator cuff muscles. These shoulder muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor) are responsible for the shoulder's fine movements. Because of the shoulder's shallow socket and lack of ligament strength, any weakness of the small, rotator cuff muscles makes it easy for the head of the shoulder to slide around in the joint.

As the shoulder joint and muscles are over stressed with the arm in an overhead position, as it is in softball, tennis, volleyball, swimming and weight training, the small rotator cuff muscles begin to stretch out and may cause joint pain, Frozen Shoulder, and Arthritis, type symptoms or what is also referred to as frozen shoulder.

Frozen shoulder causes the tendon, to become inflamed and painful. Restricting the range of movement of the shoulder joint. If shoulder joint pain lasts longer than a few days after a sports activity or physical exertion, a program of range-of-motion exercises can help strengthen the rotator cuff muscles. Strengthening these muscles will help hold your shoulder firmly in place, then the head will not slip out of the socket and the tendons will no longer become inflamed or irritated. A sports medicine regiment of physical therapy, ultrasound, moist heat and electrical muscle stimulation followed by rehabilitative exercises may also be recommended.

Strained Lower Back Injury

Almost all sports participants will experience a strained lower back injury at some point, usually from twisting awkwardly to the right or left, lifting a heavy excessive weight or doing some unpractised sports activity. Strained Lower back injuries are primarily due to weak or tense muscles. Overloading weak or tense muscles may pull or tear fibres and tendons, sending the back muscles into spasm and causing back ache problems.

Often people will injure their lower back due to the fact that the core stomach and back muscle are weak and tense from lack of proper core muscle strength training exercises. An exercise ball is an excellent and inexpensive tool for strengthening the core back and stomach muscles, while at the same time stretching the same muscles. The exercise ball can also be used anywhere. Overuse exercise with poor core muscle strength can lead to severe and potentially chronic lower back pain problems.

Elbow Tendonopathy (Tennis Elbow), Injury

Tennis elbow is really a strain/inflammation of the muscles and tendons of the forearm. These muscles bend the wrist backward and cause the wrist to turn the palm face up. When the muscles and tendons are overused, from playing sports such as tennis or Repetitive Strain Injury, they become inflamed and Tendonopathy pain is felt.

Golfers may also suffer from tennis elbow symptoms and injury; a right-handed golfer will feel the pain in the left elbow. Pulling the club through the swing with the left wrist causes irritation in the left elbow.

It is most often seen among golfers, baseball pitchers, tennis players who hit topspin forehands and weight lifters. Also among office based persons working on a computer desk a lot.

Runner's Knee Injury, Patellar Tendonopathy

The most common cause of knee pain is runner's knee. This problem is due to misalignment of the kneecap in its groove. The kneecap normally goes up or down in the groove as the knee flexes or straightens out. If the kneecap is misaligned, the kneecap pulls off to one side and rubs on the side of the groove. This causes both the cartilage on the side of the groove and the cartilage on the back of the kneecap to wear out. On occasion, fluid will build up and cause swelling symptoms and pain in the knee. Pain can develop around the back of the kneecap or in the back of the knee after participating in any running sport. The uneven strength of muscles like the Quadriceps and TFL (ITB) can cause incorrect patella tracking as mentioned above.

Iliotibial band syndrome, ITBS

Marked by a sharp, burning knee or hip pain, ITBS is a very common running injury among marathoners. Indeed, it's responsible for as many as 80% of all overuse pains on marathon day. The ITB is a ligament that runs along the outside of the thigh -- from the top of the hip to the outside of the knee. It stabilizes the knee and hip during running, but when it thickens and rubs over the bone, the area can become inflamed or the band itself may become irritated -- causing pain. ITBS may be caused by running on a banked surface that causes the downhill leg to bend slightly inward and stretches the band, inadequate warm-up or cool-down, running excessive distances, increasing mileage too quickly or certain physical abnormalities.

The best stretch?

Place the injured leg behind the good one. If the left side is sore, cross your left leg behind your right one. Then lean away from the injured side toward your right side. There should be a table or chair that you can hold onto for balance. Hold for 7 to 10 seconds and repeat on each side 7 to 10 times.

Shin Splints prevention and Treatment

Shin splints are pains in the muscles near and around the shinbones. Running and jumping on hard surfaces or simply overuse usually cause them. The are common in people unaccustomed to exercise and training, although they can also plague experienced athletes who switch to lighter shoes, harder surfaces or more concentrated running speed work.

The shin splint pain symptoms occur on the inner side of the shinbone. The muscle responsible for raising the arch of the foot attaches to the shinbone at that spot. When the arch collapses with each foot strike, it pulls on the tendon that comes from this muscle. With repeated stress, the arch begins to pull some of its muscle fibres loose from the shinbone. This causes small areas of bleeding around the lining of the bone, and pain.

Sprained / Twisted Ankle, Anterolateral Ligament tear

The most common ankle sprain happens when the foot is twisted, rolls to the outside and sprains the support ligaments on the outside of the ankle. The outside of the ankle immediately begins swelling up and throbs with pain, and may turn black and blue around the swollen injury.

Sprained ankles can occur with different severity;
1.Mild sprain, for example is when a jogger steps gently off a curb and "twists" an ankle, this simply stretches the ligaments, with no real tearing, and is considered a mild sprain.
2. Moderate Sprain is when a tennis player lunges out over a poorly planted foot, partially tearing the fibres of the ligament that is considered a moderate sprain.
3.Severe Sprain is when a volleyball player jumps and lands on another player's foot, twisting and forcing the ankle violently to the court, most or all of the fibres tear, and this is a severe sprain.

If weight bearing is possible on the ankle after a sprain, the ankle probably is not broken. If you feel pain on the inside of the ankle, then it should be x-rayed to rule out a hairline fracture.

Achilles Tendonopathy, Injury

The Achilles heel tendon, in the back of the ankle is the largest tendon in the body. It transfers the force of muscle contractions to lift the heel. Achilles tendonopathy is an inflammation/strain of the tendon, usually due to overuse, such as frequent jumping in basketball or volleyball. The most common cause is excessive pronation of the ankle and foot, which causes the Achilles tendon to pull off centre. The pain symptom of a torn Achilles tendon feels like a gunshot in the leg. A partial tear is harder to spot and symptoms may be subtler.

Foot Arch Pain and Strain, Plantar fasciitis

The elastic covering on the sole of the foot--the plantar fascia--runs the length of the foot and holds up the arch. When this shock-absorbing pad becomes inflamed, this is called plantar fasciitis, causing a dull ache along the length of the arch. The plantar fascia strain and ache in the foot, is due to over-stretching or partially tearing the arch pad. This happens most often to people with rigid, high arches. They feel the pain when they put weight on their foot or when pushing off for the next stride. Pain is particularly intense upon arising or after sitting for a long while.

Foot arch pain is particularly common among middle-aged people who have been sedentary and who suddenly increase their level of physical activity and exercise, which makes them more susceptible to foot injury. Runners are most susceptible, but almost any sport that keeps the athlete standing can lead to arch pain. Also common, when switching from high-heeled shoes to flat shoes. As well as from wearing shoes regularly and then going barefoot.

Injury Treatment

Broadly discussed as each case is individual

Rest - stop the injurious activity
Ice - apply ice for no longer than 7-10mins, then leave it off for 15-20mins and reapply as necessary for the first 48/72 hours after injury
Compression - apply a light compression bandage to help reduce the swelling and support a joint as necessary
Elevation - by keeping the injured area horizontal and not under gravitational pressure, bleeding and swelling will be reduced

All of these should be done from time of injury and at least for 48 hours after. I recommend seeing a professional like myself or other industry professionals to ensure that the best treatment is being followed for your injury. With correct treatment an injury's effects, time and scarring can all be reduced considerably. Aiding you in returning to you love of activity with no apprehensions.