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Tennis, Anyone?

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Chiropractic Care and Injury Prevention

Some exercise- and sport-related injuries are random. Stuff happens. But most exercise- and sport-related injuries are preventable. If you're a beginner, making sure you don't do too much too soon is a major principle in injury prevention. If you're an intermediate, intermediate-advanced, or advanced exerciser or athlete, not suddenly doing way more than you're used to is another major injury prevention principle. For example, if your training runs are from 3 to 4 miles, and you've never run more than a 4-mile road race, then running a half-marathon (without additional extensive preparation) is usually a very bad idea.

Again, stuff happens, and common sense is the best method of injury prevention. Regular chiropractic care assists your overall exercise program by helping make sure that your musculoskeletal system is operating at peak efficiency. When your bones, joints, muscles, and other musculoskeletal tissues are working in harmony, the likelihood of experiencing an injury is reduced. For people who exercise and/or do sports, regular chiropractic care helps to get the most benefit out of any exercise time.

Repetitive stress injuries are typically very difficult to treat successfully. These injuries are the result of actions done repeatedly, frequently, and consistently over time. They've taken a long time to build up and, therefore, the healing process also requires a fair amount of time. Shin splints, iliotibial band syndrome, and rotator cuff syndrome are examples of common repetitive stress injuries. These problems are also known as overuse injuries. Tennis elbow is another common injury that is likely caused by repetitive stress.

Tennis elbow usually involves pain on the outer bony surface of the elbow joint (the lateral epicondyle). A variant involves pain on the inner surface of the elbow (the medial epicondyle). Regardless, tennis elbow pain interferes with many activities, not only those involving tennis and golf. Even the simple act of firmly twisting the lid on a difficult-to-open jar can cause significant pain. Driving for more than 30 minutes and prolonged keyboard activity are other examples of activities that may become quite troublesome when one is hampered by tennis elbow. Treatment usually involves rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and even injections of steroid compounds.1,2 But such treatments tend not to provide more than short-term relief. Ultimately tennis elbow may be frustrating and disheartening, as there doesn't appear to be an effective solution.

More useful treatment for repetitive stress injuries involves directly addressing the source of the problem. In the case of tennis elbow, mechanical issues in the forearm itself need to be corrected. For those whose painful elbows are in fact caused primarily by tennis or golf, focusing on sound technique will often help to provide significant relief. For example, in both sports, if lines of force generated by the arm muscles and lines of force generated by the forearm muscles cross at the elbow, significant pain is likely to develop over time. Learning how to generate parallel lines of force will help solve the problem, and such a solution may require the services of a coach.

For the rest of us, there are additional specific solutions. First, trigger points in the major forearm muscle bundles need to be treated.3 Trigger points in themselves may be very painful, and a trigger point also causes chronic fatigue in the muscle of which it is a part. When you try to use such a pre-fatigued muscle, damage to the muscle fibers and the tendon may result. Over time the involved region, such as the elbow, becomes chronically painful. Manual trigger point treatment relaxes chronic spasm and helps restore normal muscle tone. Increased blood flows to the muscle belly, and the involved muscle fibers have an opportunity to regain their normal length and to heal. The second specific solution is to use a narrow (1.5-inch thick), nonelastic elbow brace placed approximately 1 inch below the elbow. The brace will shorten the contractile length of the major forearm muscles, allowing them to achieve relative rest. The combination of trigger point therapy and appropriate use of a specific elbow brace will help to achieve long-term resolution of painful, difficult-to-treat tennis elbows.

1Childress MA, Buelter A: Management of chronic tendon injuries. Am Fam Physician 87(7):486-490, 2013

2Coombes BK, et al: Efficacy and safety of corticosteroid injections and other injections for management of tendinopathy: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Lancet 376(9754):1751-1767, 2010

3Ajimsha MS, et al: Effectiveness of myofascial release in the management of lateral epicondylitis in computer professionals. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 93(4):604-609, 2012

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Testimonial

I was referred to Heartwood Holistic by some friends. Their exact words were, "Dr. Drew is amazing! And Debbie at the front desk is wonderful!" They were right! At most doctor's offices you go in for the initial visit and fill out pages of paper work only to be asked those questions again once you get seen by the physician. Not so here. Dr. Drew zeroed in on what was ailing me and presented a plan of action by the end of my first visit. I've been a regular and don't plan on changing up anytime soon. I look forward to my visits there 1.) for the relief 2.) the staff. Everyone is so friendly and they actually care about your wellness. Alexis is a special treat! She is very committed to her craft and just a wonderful person. Ask her for the Moxa and just relax on her amethyst heating pad. Dreamy!! You can't go wrong here. Looking forward to my Rolfing session with Aaron. Thank you, HHH family!

Ashley D,  August 2017


I am so thrilled to have come across this little gem of a place! I had the pleasure of meeting this beautiful couple this past week and was able to get in to the clinic for a chiropractic adjustment. I currently live about an hour away from the wellness center, but I'll be making the drive just to see them for my health needs. Dr. Drew was so attentive and thorough. He really listened to me and we discussed what I was accustomed to as far as treatment goes. He takes careful time with each client and truly cares about your health. After 15 years of visiting many different chiropractic doctors, I can quickly get a read on the type of care I'll receive. I immediately felt at ease and confident with him. I was able to chat with his lovely wife, Alexis, as well and am anxious to set up an appointment with her. This is no ordinary wellness center. They offer so many options for treating a vast amount of health challenges. They see and treat the body as a whole, which is the only way to find true health.

Kari P, February 2017

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