Whether sports are a means of income or just a way to keep in shape, remaining injury-free is a top priority for professional athletes and the sports enthusiast alike. Unfortunately, engaging in sports and other high impact activities is associated with an increased risk of causing orthopedic injuries that are notoriously painful and require long periods of time to heal. Today, sports medicine doctors use natural joint & back pain management to treat a wide variety of sports injuries including damage to tendons, ligaments, muscles, and cartilage. For many athletes, being out of the game can be very costly. As a result, much research over the past several decades has focused on the use of these treatments to heal sports-related joint injuries and avoid surgery.
Natural back and joint pain management for professional athletes
Increasingly, professional athletes are saying no to cortisone injections and surgery and are relying on natural joint & back pain management to get back on the field, course, or court. Previously many opted directly for surgery, but now more and more are beginning to seek out these treatments to speed repair and relieve pain. Alex Rodriguez received injections into the knee and shoulder. Kobe Bryant sought this kind of treatment for degeneration of his knees as did tennis star, Rafael Nadal. Tiger Woods received treatments for a blown ACL and Achille’s tendon injury. Similarly, Jack Nicklaus received natural joint & back pain therapy on his shoulder after years of steroid injections failed to relieve his pain. And this only scratches the surface of the number of famous athletes that have benefited from natural joint & back pain management.
Joint structures commonly associated with sports injuries
Here we describe the structures that comprise joints that are commonly involved in sports-related injuries and the development of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition caused by repetitive use or trauma to a joint that leads to the loss of joint space between abutting bones causing severe pain and immobility.
- Articular cartilage is a type of tissue that covers the surface of a bone at a joint. Its principal function is to provide a smooth, lubricated surface for low friction movements and to facilitate the transmission of mechanical loads to the underlying bone. Damage to articular cartilage in the knee, for example, may occur due to direct trauma but also occurs in association with injuries to the surrounding joint structures.
- Meniscus is a C-shaped piece of tough, rubbery cartilage that acts as a shock absorber well known for its function in the knee where they act like a cushion between the tibia (shinbone) and femur (thighbone). Tears can occur when there is both compression and twisting, frequently with ligament injuries. Tears in the knee are common in contact sports, like football, skiing, volleyball, and basketball.
- Labrum is a cup-shaped rim of cartilage that lines the shoulder joint where the humerus fits into the socket or glenoid. Tendons and muscles of the shoulder attach at the labrum which, when torn, can lead to shoulder dislocation. Labral tears can result from a direct blow to the shoulder, falling on an outstretched hand, overuse in weightlifting, and in throwing and overhead sports (e.g., volleyball, tennis, and track & field).
- Ligaments are strong, fibrous, elastic bands of interwoven collagen fibers. Ligaments surround the joint, supporting and limiting its movement. An overstretched or torn ligament is a sprain. Ligament injuries occur in any high-intensity sport involving running and pivoting, and are commonly seen in the knees and ankles but possible in any joint (e.g., the wrist, thumb, should, neck, and back).
- Tendons connect muscles to bones; located on each side of the joint, they control movement. They are composed of collagen fibers that run parallel to each other, providing support but also elasticity and typically heal quicker than ligaments. A strain is a twist, pull, or tear of a muscle or tendon. Most tendon injuries are caused by overuse. Sports involving running, jumping, overhead hitting and throwing, or gripping (e.g., tennis and golf) can lead to inflammation, irritation, or a rupture of tendons.
Skip the side-effects and down time when treating sports injuries and osteoarthritis
The field of natural pain management has revolutionized the treatment of sports-related bone and joint injuries. Without the serious side effects of cortisone injections and the lengthy recovery time associated with surgery, a growing number of professional and amateur athletes are turning to these treatments for pain management and healing.
To learn more about natural methods for treating sports-related injuries, contact the Spark Health naturopathic medical specialists. Located in Solana Beach, CA. Our practitioners will spend time evaluating how the internal and external parts of your body interact in order to develop a comprehensive care plan that is specifically designed to address your biggest health needs. Contact us to schedule an initial appointment!
Article written by the Spark Health Musculoskeletal Team