When dealing with an injury, it’s important to take the proper steps to repair, heal and recover. However, when they have a sports or overuse injury, most athletes want to get back on their feet as quickly and safely as possible.
Surgery is often a viable option for many athletic injuries, but it can take longer and be more difficult to recover from. The good news is there are a number of non-surgical treatment options for athletes dealing with these types of injuries, with the same level of care and potentially faster recovery time.
Non-surgical options can both relieve pain and help restore function and mobility in the body. Depending on your specific injury, your doctor and care team will tailor a treatment plan designed to meet your individual needs. Here are some examples of non-surgical injury treatments available for athletes.
Physical and occupational therapy is designed to help build muscle strength, recover flexibility and balance, and increase range of motion while your injuries heal. They can also help improve endurance, cardiac unction, strength, and balance.
During your first session, a physical therapist will evaluate your condition and develop a care plan that will guide your therapy to recovery. This includes hands-on treatments for symptoms and teaching special exercises to help you move and function better. Examples may include exercises or stretches, massage, or heat/cold therapy. Ultrasound can be used to ease muscle pain, or you may do activities with items that help you move or balance better.
Two of the most common alternative healing treatments for injuries are dry needling and cupping.
Dry needling is when a “dry” solid filament needle is inserted into specific muscles at a myofascial trigger point. This can help relieve pain, reduce muscle tension, and improve range of motion. It can also decrease muscle spasms and nerve compression.
Cupping creates a cupping effect of suction on the skin to help increase blood flow and promote healing. It can also help ease inflammation, reduce pain, and help you relax, similar to a deep tissue massage. Cupping can be used for neck pain, muscle pain, lower back pain, knee osteoarthritis, and more.
There are also different types of injections your doctor may order to help depending on your injury:
· Trigger point injections – used to treat painful areas of muscle that contain knots that form when muscles don’t relax.
· Joint and bursa injections – injections into the joint itself to help reduce friction between moving muscles or tendons.
· Facet joint injections – small amount of local anesthetic and/or medication is injected to numb a facet joint and provide pain relief.
· Sacroiliac joint injections – used to treat lower back pain and/or symptoms related to sciatica.
· Injections of tendons and ligaments –injection of dextrose into sites of pain in ligaments and tendons to help them heal.
Biologic injury treatments use your own body to help heal itself. Examples include:
· Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy: Platelets are produced in bone marrow and help the body’s healing process. PRP therapy involves taking a small amount of blood, separating the platelets, and injecting the affected area with a large dose of platelets to speed heeling. This is especially effective in soft tissue injuries.
· Stem cell therapy: Stem cells can develop into other types of cells, including muscle and tendon cells needed to repair injuries. Stem cell therapy can treat acute and chronic sports injuries when cells are injected into the problem area because it triggers the process of healing damage.
Over the counter or prescription painkillers can help ease pain, and anti-inflammatory tablets or creams can help ease pain and reduce swelling. It’s important to remember that medications should be prescribed by a doctor, and you should work closely with your care provider to ensure proper use.
At True Sports, your health, well-being, and recovery are our focus. Our experts offer a range of non-surgical treatments for athletes dealing with any number of injuries and/or conditions. We provide facilities, equipment, knowledge, experience, techniques, and expert care to meet your needs and fast-track your recovery, getting you back on your feet in the fastest and safest ways possible.