What can you do when you sustain an injury during playing your favorite sport? This blog is here to help! Last week Dr. Brunner actually sustained an injury to his sacroiliac joint (SI joint) while diving for a volleyball in the sand. He landed a little too hard and even though the sand was soft it still caused a "jolting" sensation to occur and immediate pain in his low back. So what do you do if you get injured playing a sport?
First thing's first, if the injury causes sudden severe pain or prevents you from moving fully through a range of motion, there is likely swelling that is going to occur due to the severity of the injury, you need to stop playing and begin resting. The next thing to do is to put ice over the painful spot to help reduce pain and swelling. You want to ice 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off and repeat as needed. Do not put ice over an injury for more than 20 minutes however, the body needs to warm back up before continuing with more ice. If there is severe swelling to a joint it is okay to immobilize the joint by applying a medical wrap or a compression sleeve to help stabilize the joint and apply compression which may help reduce further swelling. Bracing a joint can lead to muscle atrophy over time with reliance on the brace during activities, and will not promote proper healing of a joint. So, if the injury is not as severe, it is recommended to allow the joint some mobility and by gently using it to promote a proper healing response which will ultimately get you back to a state of full health faster. Take a look at this video to see Dr. Brunner describe his injury the day after it occurred, and perform a specific exam to identify exactly what joint is injured and what it is preventing him from doing.
After 2-3 days, it is okay to switch to heat based modalities such as a heating pad. In our office we can also perform continuous ultrasound which is a deep heat that stimulates cellular metabolism to increase the rate at which your body is healing. Once able, we will begin performing adjustments to help restore the natural motion of the joints that are restricted. Adjustments help to improve function, motion, and helps the healing response of tissue to an injury. These are very gentle and specific adjustments to what joint is restricted which is the bread and butter of Chiropractic care. Then depending on what joint or tissue is injured, Dr. Brunner will provide exercises for you to do at home to specifically strengthen or relax tissue around a joint as needed. Here is another video of Dr. Brunner getting treatment and performing exercises specific to his injury of his SI joint. Extension based movements were the most beneficial and thus you see him actively moving into extension which helps relieve pressure over the SI joint.
All in all, from this experience, I learned that back pain can most certainly force you to change your daily habits. We sometimes take for granted the things we are capable of doing until we can no longer do those things. Chiropractic has helped me return to my activities of daily living faster and I have become more aware of my body's needs so as to prevent future injury again hopefully! I still love playing volleyball though...