Category: Featured Articles

prevent pain while playing a sport

How to prevent pain while playing a sport (it’s all in how you prep!)

Golf, basketball, tennis, softball….these and other sports are fulfilling hobbies for adults.

You don’t have to do sports as an elite athlete or professional to get the benefits of staying physically fit while developing life skills such as teamwork, leadership and dedication.

But whether you are a pro or hobbyist, we want you to be able to play your chosen sport with as little pain or injury as possible. Staying pain-free and uninjured is critical – for enjoyment as an amateur or for your livelihood if it is your profession.

So how do you stay a step ahead…and prevent pain while playing a sport? Here are four preventative strategies we recommend – and our role in each of them.


Condition before you start playing

It is critical to condition yourself ahead of time before jumping into a sport. A person can’t just throw themselves into a new sport without gradually conditioning the body to develop strength, flexibility, speed, endurance and the skills unique to the sport.

Start by getting a sports physical before you begin playing your sport. At Life Care Chiropractic and Wellness Center, we are able to assess and correct your faulty movement patterns. Every athlete has a weak link somewhere that can make them more prone to injury. So, we’ll help you identify yours. Improving these weak links or poor movement patterns can go a long way in helping you stay well and injury-free.

Next, develop your core strength and work on your breathing.  Believe it or not, an athlete’s core is involved in just about every action, stabilizes the spine and pelvis and providing a firm anchor for the extremities. Breathing correctly matters too! Proper movement of the diaphragm stabilizes the body and prevents injury by creating stabilizing intra-abdominal pressure in 360 degrees. At Life Care Chiropractic and Wellness Center, we have processes that evaluate the breath and determine if there are deficiencies in intra-abdominal pressure that could leave you vulnerable to injury or pain – please take advantage of this!

Finally, develop a habit for both a static stretch and a dynamic warm-up to do before you participate in your sport. Studies have shown that the dynamic warm-up is even more important than stretching for injury prevention. It warms up the muscles and prepares them for the activity coming next. We like some of these pre-exercise warmup ideas from Men’s Fitness.

prevent pain while playing a sport


Make sure you have the right footgear

Another critical component of playing sports pain-free is wearing custom-made foot orthotics. Your feet are your foundation, after all. Pronation, arch collapse or even unsupported high arches can leave you vulnerable to pain and injury. In our office, we do a 3D foot scan to assess the condition of your feet and prescribe Foot Levelers orthotics when needed. Foot Levelers has done research showing positive effects of athletes wearing orthotics during their sport. From reducing football injuries, creating some improvement of vertical leap and improving balance and proprioception in golfers, orthotics have been shown to have positive effects for athletes.

It is no secret that most professional athletes and Olympians are routinely treated by a chiropractor. And no wonder – seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis helps to achieve optimal function and performance of an athlete. Chiropractors are uniquely trained to looks at biomechanics, nervous system function, balance and posture. If an athlete does experience pain, chiropractic is a great way to quickly get the person out of pain naturally and effectively.

Getting connected with a chiropractor before you begin playing a sport or have a sports-related injury is a smart move. Tom Brady of the New England Patriots said, “Chiropractic just makes you feel so much better. When I walk out of the clinic, I feel like I’m about three inches taller and everything’s in place. And as long as I see the chiropractor, I feel like I’m one step ahead of the game.”


Fuel your body properly

You may not realize this but nutrition is critical in staying fit and pain-free. It starts with proper hydration and electrolyte balance to prevent muscles from going into spasms and generating cramps and strains. But proper nutrition is also essential in maintaining strength, speed and endurance during play. If you do end up in pain after playing your sport, there are many ways to turn down inflammatory pathways with food and supplement protocols. Tumeric and Omega 3 fish oils are great for reducing inflammation. Also, we actually have a way of testing your Inflammation Index through a finger prick test and can use the results to make a plan for reducing your inflammation.  Just ask us about it.


Move in other ways

Our last preventative strategy is to find ways to move your body in ways that aren’t the same as the repetitive movements of your chosen sport. Anytime you do a motion over and over again, you run the risk of injury. Variety of movement is important to mitigate this risk. Take a yoga class once a week, get together with some friends for a friendly game of softball or kickball or go for a hike on the weekend. Just do physical activity that is different from your normal sport. And remember that everyone needs a rest day so that the body can heal and restore itself.

It may be impossible to go through a season of sports with absolutely no pain or injury, but there you can lessen your odds for an injury, how much pain you will be in and how long you will be in pain. Just follow some of our preventative strategies. And maybe just maybe, you can get through your season completely pain-free!


Dr. Sharman

make injuries heal faster

What you can do to make injuries heal faster

You have an injury or flare-up. Your doctor prescribes a regimen of treatment to get you back to where you were before. The first thing you likely ask is “how long will this take”?

It’s very natural to ask this question. When patients come in to me suffering from pain, they are frustrated by how much it interferes with their life.

The pain makes their work day difficult, interferes with the housework, makes it difficult for them to lift their children or grandchildren, restricts them from their favorite sport, messes up their travel plans or interferes with their personal life.

More than anything, patients just want to get back to their normal life as fast as they can. So, if this is you, what can you do to make injuries heal faster and impact your recovery? Plenty.


Getting enough care and being compliant with your treatment plan

For starters, a treatment plan needs the frequency of care and compliance. You can impact both of these.

As a patient, it usually is going to take about 12 visits to make a significant change in your pain level and mobility. You may find that you are feeling much better in about six visits, but to get to normal activities, it usually takes at least 12 visits. Typically, the more often you come, the faster you will get well. In a perfect world, if you are in severe pain, you would come in three times a week. But I realize that is not always realistic due to schedules or finances. If you can come twice a week, you can still make pretty good progress. Less than that and progress is going to be slow – too slow for most people.

You can also impact how well you comply with treatment. Sticking with the full course of care really matters. It is like taking an antibiotic – you don’t want to take antibiotics unnecessarily, but when you are in crisis and have to take them, you have to finish the whole course of medication. You cannot take a 10-day antibiotic for two or three days and expect the infection to go away. It is the same with the treatment. You may feel a little better after one or two treatments, but you are not stabilized to a point where the pain will stay away for good.


Approaching the problem from multiple angles

You can often speed up your recovery by implementing more than one approach. That’s one of the reasons we offer so many different services to tackle recovery.  If you have a herniated disk and you sit at a desk all day, I’ll recommend stretching and strengthing your postural muscles, especially strengthening the core. If we only use chiropractic manipulation, you will improve, but you would improve much faster if we add in therapeutic exercise. I may even suggest massage therapy, electric stimulation or ultrasound to reduce muscle spasms and inflammation. A multi-faceted rather than single-faceted approach generally results in faster recovery.


make injuries heal fasterUsing nutrition and supplements

At our office, we carry a variety of vitamin and supplementation products to reduce pain and inflammation, helping to speed up healing. One of my favorites for acute injury is Zymain. Zymain includes enzymes that help your body break down the compounds in inflammation that stimulate your pain fibers.  Zymain helps to metabolize and “process out” the pain stimulating compounds. As well, I can educate you on the types of foods that increase or decrease inflammation so you can make better choices.


Home care

What you do at home matters when it comes to making injuries heal faster.

For acute pain, ice can be your best friend. Unfortunately, many patients don’t really understand how to use ice properly. Do not wrap ice up in kitchen towels where the cold doesn’t penetrate deep enough to therapeutically affect the tissue. Instead, use ice or an ice pack with nothing but a thin t-shirt or a few paper towels between the ice and skin. Ice the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes, first feeling cold, then burning, then numb. Ice for 15 to 20 minutes on, 15 to 20 minutes off, alternating for 60 to 90 minutes. This allows the blood vessels to alternately constrict and dilate, pumping out inflammation. Heat can relax muscles but increase inflammation – so ask before you use it at home.

Other important areas of home care include doing home exercises, changing techniques for activities of daily living and getting proper support for sleeping, driving and sitting at a computer station. I can make recommendations for all of these as a part of your treatment plan.

The good news is that the body is more resilient than you could ever imagine. By sticking to the frequency of care, completing the full course of care, approaching the problem with all available treatments, utilizing nutritional and supplement approaches and paying attention to home care, we can maximize the body’s healing potential. And if you do this, you can get back to doing all the things in life you love – what everyone ultimately wants!


Dr. Sharman


Photo at top by nic on Unsplash