AN INTEGRATIVE APPROACH TO SPORTS INJURIES AND PAIN

          By: Dr. Antoine Chevalier, PhD, ND (Cand.), MPP, LMT, HK

www.healedandhappy.net

I had a dream….. I woke up and told my wife: “I just had a dream !… that all Licensed Massage Therapists in the US are part of an integrative medical team working together for the highest good of the patient, similar to the European model of multidisciplinary medical teams. Medicaid and Medicare cover our services. We are well respected by other medical professions.” She replied:” Great honey why don’t you do something about it”. That is the reason why this column is titled “Integrative Medical News”. The goal is to raise the bar through RESEARCH and publications.

If you google: “NIH Antoine Chevalier”, you will see the latest scientific article published initially by the most prestigious peer-reviewed Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in the world: the Journal of Medical Acupuncture. It is a case study showing how, with Micro Direct Current Electrical Acupuncture without needle (MPS Therapy), you, me, all of us Licensed Massage Therapists, can permanently free a patient suffering from Post Concussion syndrome with intention tremors, 10/10 pain, and more. It is within your scope of practice. It is beyond exciting and EMPOWERING to say the least. For those who already are MPS Practitioners, please print the article and show it to your patients, add it to your website, use it for any marketing purposes. IT WILL EMPOWER YOU AND YOUR PRACTICE AND ULTIMATELY YOUR PATIENTS. Regarding Sports injury, this is what we can offer:

First a little background on the Sport Injuries in the U.S. According to the  Centers for Disease Control (CDC), participation in organized sports is on the rise. Nearly 30 million children and adolescents participate in youth sports in the United States. This increase in play has led to some other startling statistics about injuries among America’s young athletes:

  • High school athletes account for an estimated 2 million injuries and 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year.(1)
  • More than 3.5 million kids under age 14 receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year.(1)
  • Children ages 5 to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospitals. On average the rate and severity of injury increases with a child’s age. (4)
  • Overuse injuries are responsible for nearly half of all sports injuries to middle and high school students. (2)
  • Injuries associated with participation in sports and recreational activities account for 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among children in the United States. (4)
  • Overuse injuries caused by microtrauma due to repetitive loading combined with insufficient tissue recovery time and result in both immediate and long-term time loss from sports. (5)

 

The term “sports injury,” refers to the kinds of injuries that most commonly occur during sports or exercise. Some sports injuries result from accidents; others are due to poor training practices, improper equipment, lack of conditioning, or insufficient warm-up and stretching.

 

Following are some of the most common sports injuries. Of the 9 leading sports injuries, six are musculoskeletal:

 

Why do athletes get injured? 

 

High intensity training all the time without proper rest appears to produce additional stress on the body’s sympathetic nervous system. Science and technology have proven that athletes require a minimum of 48 -80 hours rest after any intense workout (6). Exercising in higher frequencies than every  3 days can be more unhealthy to your body (7). With the high stress, constantly on-call lifestyle many lead these days it’s quite common for people to turn to exercise for an escape. But is the exercise really helping to remove stress from your body or is it adding to it?

 

To answer this question, it is important to remember that an accurate detection and prevention of overuse musculoskeletal injuries is limited by the type of injury. In the pathogenesis of overuse injuries, it is well recognized that an abnormal inflammatory response occurs within somatic tissue before pain is perceived which can disrupt the normal remodeling process and lead to subsequent degeneration. Current overuse injury prevention methods focused on biomechanical faults or performance standards lack the sensitivity needed to identify the status of tissue injury or repair. Recent evidence has revealed an apparent increase in the prevalence and impact of overuse musculoskeletal injuries in athletics. When compared to acute injuries, overuse injuries have a potentially greater negative impact on athletes’ overall health burden. Further, return to sport rehabilitation following overuse injury is complicated by the fact that the absence of pain does not equate to complete physiological healing of the injured tissue.

 

Together, this highlights the need for exercise monitoring and injury prevention methods which incorporate assessment of somatic tissue response to loading. One system primarily involved in the activation of pathways and neuro-mediators responsible for somatic tissue repair is the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Although not completely understood, emerging research supports the critical importance of peripheral ANS activity in the health and repair of somatic tissue injury. Due to its significant contributions to cardiac function, ANS activity can be measured indirectly with heart rate monitoring. Heart rate variability (HRV) is one index of ANS activity that has been used to investigate the relationship between athletes’ physiological response to accumulating training load. Research findings indicated that HRV provide a reflection of ANS homeostasis, or the body’s stress-recovery status (8). This noninvasive marker of the body’s primary driver of recovery has the potential to incorporate important and as yet unmonitored physiological mechanisms involved in overuse injury development. We know that abnormal somatic tissue response to accumulating microtrauma may modulate ANS activity at the level of HRV. The link between HRV modulation and somatic tissue injury  reveals the putative role of ANS homeostasis on overuse musculoskeletal injury development.

 

It is widely accepted in science that imbalances of the parasympathetic (rest and healing, calming) and sympathetic (flight/fight/stress) branches of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) are directly linked to wide variety of pain and diseases. The sympathetic system is designed for short term survival creating a cascade of neurophysiological responses. However, “upregulation” or persistent tone in this  sympathetic system -called sympathetic upregulation – and it is directly related to almost all disease patterns throughout the body, including sports injuries. Science proves sympathetic upregulation by producing increased muscle tone, increases the risk of sports injuries!

 

The neurological and cardiovascular system are completely integrated with all the others, including the musculoskeletal system,” Antoine says. “If they not recovered enough to help the muscles recover, then the musculoskeletal system is not going to work properly on that day.”

 

A recent study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine 2014 annual meeting, an international team of researchers found that soccer players training with muscle fatigue or contracture had less variable heart rates and were much more likely to be injured. (4) Veterinarian Dr. Christine Ross monitored the HRV of 16 competitive race horses, all of which were in training. Of the 16, 13 had HRV readings that were associated with pain, fatigue, illness or injury. It was stated that even though the horses appeared healthy and energetic, they were considered “at risk” based on their HRV. There were no outward signs or symptoms to suggest these horses were currently sick or hurt. Within 3 months, 12 of the 13 at-risk horses got injured or sick requiring veterinary intervention and cessation of race training. (9)

 

The above research strongly suggests that you must control the nervous system to help sports injuries. In fact, controlling the nervous system can actually predict the onset of injuries. Increasing HRV decreases both pain recovery time!

 

 

Controlling HRV and Sports Pain with Massage/MPS

Close Menu