Friday, September 19, 2008

Alternate sports therapy 2.0

Came across a great article in the October edition of National Geographic Adventure magazine on alternate forms of therapy regarding sports injury therapy. Having recently gone though similar experiences wanted to chime in with my own experiences with a couple of the methods mentioned.

Competing in both cycling and long distance running; I have suffered a few knee injuries along the way. Most were minor in that I didn't tear or damage a ligament or cartilage; but the injury has left me hobbling around for some time.

Usually the remedy would be to take a anti-inflammatory; in my case I recommend Aleve; along with RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method of healing. Though recently the aching in my knee spread up to my hip causing me to be sidelined from training; which as we all know makes for a fun individual to be around. At first I thought it was more tightness of the IT band; so I hit the foam roller every day for about an hour; with little relief when I started to run.

So after speaking to a few sports medicine specialists; who were advocating alternate forms of treatment; besides the normal surgery followed by PT regemin. I decided to explore what one treatement called Prolotherapy; which is refered to the "Anti anti-inflammatory"; which is an injection of typically glucose, distalled water, along with lidocaine, and in some cases zync may also be part of the active substance. The difference with prolotherapy; unlike a normal anti-inflammatory drug is it promotes the growth of tissue in areas where the tissue has grown weak.

I decided to try over the course of a two month three injections into the knee; both leaving it a little tender at first; but after the two months the pain had significantly reduced and the stability has returned. Is it for everyone; no; it really depends on the severity of the condition; again its best to consult with a sports medicine specialist.

The other therapy I decided to try was a treatment called Active Release Techinque (ART). With most endurance atheletes; injuries to joints are quite common due to stress repetitive movements. Usually scar tissue builds up in the muscle, tendon, and ligaments to stabilize the area; but this build up also hinders the stressed area from returning to normal function. ART is meant to examine and treat these areas where the scar tissue has built up.

I visited a therapist who specializes in what some may feel is a form of toture; after the first couple of sessions. They dug their fingers and thumbs deep along the quad and knee region to release the built up scar tissue; for those who have seen the body hair removal scene from "40 year old virgin"; I had very similar verbal outbursts. After the session though my knee felt limber; and the normal flexability had returned without the pain.

Both of these treatments though come with a cost; both are typically around 120 - 150 dollars a session; with an added bonus that your insurance company may not cover. I benefited by both treatments; again on recommendations given to me; what it does provide is alternatives from what has been perceived as the only options for recovery out there.

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