Over the past 10 years in practice, my interest in cycling and the athletic lifestyle have driven me to learn more about sports injuries and athletic recovery. It’s been crucial for me to become well-versed in these topics because of the active base of clients that I treat. Most of the people that I take care of, however, are not athletes. In fact, many of them are not involved in any type of formal exercise. Regardless, both populations frequently suffer from similar ailments and injuries that respond similarly to treatment. Why? Here are my observations:
What I find is that most sports injuries are overuse injuries that were quiet problems waiting to happen. For example, a runner with weak gluteal muscles that fatigue quickly will often have pain/dysfunction in the lower back. Running on uneven terrain may overload the lower back joints and lead to the sudden presence of focused pain. Even though the runner may think it’s from that isolated event, it’s really more related to the long-standing hip problem. The repetition and physical demands of running merely amplified this problem until it injured tissue, gave him pain, and limited his performance.
Now, take, for example, a sedentary desk worker who comes in to my office for similar sounding localized lower back pain. He can’t really relate it to anything except for a “twinge” he felt in his lower back while lifting a heavy box of kitty litter out of the trunk of his car a few days earlier. Now he sits in front of me describing pain that is similar to the pain of the injured runner. As it turns out, our desk worker has hip dysfunction and weakness that have put a constant stress on his lower back for years. Not unlike the runner, this person’s symptoms began as the result of pushing his body to the limits of his compromised abilities.
The dysfunction of these two patients is clear, and the treatment offered ended up being similar in this case. Even though there are sport specific injuries that athletes will present to my office, the majority are due to dysfunctions that are independent of whether or not a person chooses to participate in a sport. Hopefully, this set of examples is clear and helpful in demonstrating that to you, and also in showing you how sports injury treatment can be of benefit to non-athletes, as well.