• Christina Hellmann

Osteopathy in Sport

Not only can participating in sport or keeping fit be fun and rewarding, it can also improve your health and reduce your risk of serious illnesses such as heart problems, stroke or cancer as well as maintain your weight and improve your self-esteem. The NHS recommends we do at least 150 hours of moderate activity every week. This means doing activity that raises the heart rate and may include things like brisk walking or cycling etc. Strength training is also a very important aspect of fitness and it’s recommended that we take part in some kind of strength training at least twice a week. This doesn’t mean you have to spend ages in the gym lifting weights and you don’t have to invest in expensive fancy equipment either. Your own body weight is the best tool you’ll ever use for strength training. Simple exercises like squats, lunges and planks are fantastic ways to strengthen your body and best of all, they’re free and you can do them anywhere.

Sports injuries

Even though sport and activity is good for us, sport related injuries is something that I treat often. There’s often confusion about what to do if you injure yourself whilst being active. I often get asked: ‘Should I use ice or heat?’ or ‘Should I just work through the pain?’ etc. Both questions can lead to different answers depending on how and when the injury occurred. However, as a general rule, ice is better in the first instance as it helps to reduce the pain and any inflammation. Heat is best off used after the first 72 hours of injury. Working through pain will often lead to greater injury and it’s normally better to stop the aggravating activity until fully recovered. If in doubt, it is useful to talk through your symptoms with an osteopath to assess your specific situation.

You are more likely to injure yourself in sport if:

  • You participate in sport/activity too often or too hard

  • You don’t warm up or cool down properly

  • You use inappropriate equipment or use equipment inappropriately

  • You wear the wrong footwear

How can osteopathy help?

It is common to feel some minor discomfort after training as the body can take a little time to recover from activity and adapt to the demands of the activity. This discomfort, also known as ‘DOMS’ – delayed onset muscle soreness usually quickly resolves itself. Occasionally it may persist for more than a few days or make it difficult for you to continue your normal activities. In these instances, osteopathy can be useful.

Osteopathic treatment is based on the individual needs of the patient and so varies depending on your age, fitness levels and diagnosis. Your symptoms can be relieved through using some gentle hands on techniques that focus on releasing tension, stretching muscles and mobilising joints. This is often used with exercise and helpful advice - all of which are designed to relieve your pain, help you return to your normal activity levels and maintain the best of health.

Even though sports injuries are common, those who are already active and have experience of following exercise routines may find that they recover more quickly and easily from their injuries.

How can you help yourself?

  • Make sure you always warm up and cool down every time you partake in any sport or activity

  • Begin your activity slowly and gradually build up intensity especially after an injury

  • Drink plenty of water when you are exercising

  • If you are in any pain or discomfort, stop the activity as working through the pain will often make the injury worse

Even minor injuries can take time to heal with an average recovery time of up to 12 weeks in most cases. If you are concerned about any injury, please feel free to get in touch. Your treatment will be tailored specifically for you to get you back to activity as safely and quickly as possible.