Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Time to knock off the rust

The spring is right around the corner. We are all very excited to be able to get outdoors and back to the sports and activities we love. But you may want to wait just a second.

It’s been a few months indoors with not too much in the way of preparation for the coming active seasons. We routinely treat people for injuries during their competitive or active season but we always wish we could have seen them before they got going!

So many injuries result from improper mechanics, poor flexibility and overall decreased joint health. The great thing is that if you catch some of these problems before you get going full force, you can head off injuries and even improve your performance.

The reason is actually pretty simple: Let’s take a softball or baseball player. They spend the entire winter in their normal routine of sitting at a desk and staring longingly at the snow covered ground wishing the spring and summer to come soon. Sitting at a desk and forgetting how important upper body and shoulder posture is, it gets worse and worse. He/she may even experience some neck or back pain over the winter that resolves slightly.

Now it’s spring!!! Yea! On the first warm day they grab their glove and a few friends and get after it! They feel good! Pain isn’t a problem and they are enjoying the weather. … that is until the next day. Shoulder pain, neck pain, arm pain all creep in. What happened? Well during that winter while each of us is hard at work, our muscles forget the “athlete mode” and go into “worker mode”. Everything an athlete needs for efficient and powerful movement is essentially reset.

IF they'd have asked themselves a few questions before running out there on the first lovely day, they’d might have learned that not everything is how they left it.
1. Have I kept moving?
2. Am I in the same condition now that I was last season (year/spring/etc)?
3. Did my aches and pains from last season resolve?
4. Am I ready?

If you can answer these questions with an honest YES, then you might be good to go! Just be sure to warm-up properly before hand and don't overdo it the first time out.

If even one of them is a NO, consult with someone who will sit and discuss some ways to get you back to 100%.

A good performance-minded PT will gladly consult with anyone who is looking to prevent injuries. We're much happier seeing our friends out there enjoying themselves rather than spending time on the treatment table.

Get after it!