Surgeons are some of the greatest snake-oil salesman around. They don’t just sell you a tonic. They convince you that only by cutting you open can they heal your ills. Their solutions don’t just cost a few bucks…we’re talking thousands of dollars and then weeks of tedious and difficult rehab to rebuild, in many cases, the very tissue they cut into. In some cases that may be necessary. But wouldn’t it make sense to try the less invasive approach first. Work with your body’s natural ability to rebuild and heal whenever possible. Use surgery only as a last resort…not the first thing you do. Even when surgery is found to be the best solution, a more favorable outcome results if you are better conditioned going in. Most anyone who’s been there would agree, the best surgery is no surgery.
Injury prevention is about staying in the game and avoiding the knife, scope and rehab therapist. It can be done with the right care of your musculoskeletal system.
Let’s start with the most common injuries, connective tissue problems:
Ankle strains, sprains, ligament tears, cartilage rips or crushes.
Cartilage does not wear out through use. It wears out through misuse, poor joint mechanics, or poor nutrition. For most issues if you fix the mechanics, you cure the cartilage. Cartilage tears won’t necessarily heal themselves though and a loose piece of cartilage floating around will need to be removed. But anymore, this can be a minimally invasive clean up. With the right care afterward the joint can be better than it was before. So why not do the work to improve the joint strength before the injury forces rehab. Strengthen the joint materials, mechanics and ability to withstand a wider range of strains. Injury prevention is similar to injury repair, you just don’t have to get hurt first.
Left to their own will, tendons and ligaments shrink and tighten with age like old rubber bands. Eventually even minor trauma loads can cause snaps and tears.
Tight tendons and ligaments lead to bad joint mechanics and limited range of motion. These are among the most common underlying causes for chronic pain and repetitive motion injuries. When the intra-joint spacing tightens up, there is less opportunity for nutrients, oxygen and restorative fluid to surround the cartilage and bone-end wear surfaces. It is essentially the poor fluid circulation in and around the cartilage that can lead to irritation, inflammation, swelling and chronic injury and wear. Life processes, such as protein growth and maintenance, require nutrients and oxygen. If there is poor fluid circulation, the proteins deteriorate. Unlike muscles, the connective tissues have no direct blood flow. They depend on
Stretching is used throughout sport to warm up muscles and extend range of motion. However, the low impact static stretching that most people use provides virtually no benefit toward maintaining and building ligament and tendon strength and resilience. Only hands-on flexion of the connective tissues using dynamic loading provides the energy necessary to safely improve function, suppleness and strength. Dynamic loading creates controlled strain on the connective tissue that stimulates natural strength and elasticity development. Improved elasticity allows the intra-joint spaces to open up allowing better fluid circulation and range of motion. These key elements work together to resist chronic and acute injuries from sports and repetitive motion work.
From the California Pacific Medical Center website:
“…Orthopedics is the medical specialty focusing on prevention and correction of disorders of the skeleton, joints, muscles, connective tissue and other supporting structures of our bodies (i.e., cartilage and ligaments). This complex system allows one to move, work and be active.
Seventy percent of all ailments in young active people involve the musculoskeletal system. As people age, their chance of developing the debilitating joint affliction known as arthritis increases.
The Department of Orthopedic Surgery at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) provides specialized services for treating conditions of the foot and ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, elbow and hand as well as spinal ailments. The orthopedic surgeons at CPMC also offer specialized care for nonunions and deformities of bones and bone infections (osteomyelitis).”
Performance enhancement and injury prevention therapy is a non-medical training and treatment practice developed by Ari Gronich over 15 years of study and practice. He employs a wide range of methods to custom fit a solution for each individual. Therapy utilizes the movement and leverage practices of mixed martial arts, muscle and skeletal understanding derived from over a dozen certifications in various massage methods, injury prevention methods developed by the former Russian Sport Federation, and his experience working with professional athletes and sports teams, and as a leader of the international massage and physical therapy support group for the 2004 Para-Olympics in Greece.
The problem with Orthopedics is right there in the definition…one cannot focus on prevention, when it’s the correction that pays the bills. The truth is few people ever go to an orthopedic surgeon for prevention of problems. These practitioners only see people with injuries, pain and existing deterioration. Since all business relies strongly on repeat sales, prevention of injury is not in the surgeons’ best interest.
The comprehensive musculoskeletal therapy developed by Mr. Gronich is specialized around preventing pain and injury rather than solely treating these conditions after the fact. Even after an injury occurs, the same method can be used in most cases to prompt the natural healing power of the body to develop stronger, more injury resistant connective tissue. Better performance in every type of physical activity is the natural result of improved joint mechanics, muscle power, balance and movement.