Athletic Injuries Big and Small  They happen to the best of us From as early as your first fall as a child, you have been accumulating wounds, injuries and scar tissue. Many of these injuries have been long forgotten in your mind, but your body has stored them all in memory as scar tissue, tightness and/or poor function. Whatever your level of sports or fitness, from recreational to professional, you have injuries that need attention. Even if you do not have pain currently, the injuries you have incurred have an effect on you and your ability to perform at your best.  Scar tissue can be good and bad Soft tissue injuries of muscles, tendons and nerves are very common in athletes. That doesn’t mean they should “just live with them.”  An injury, like a sprain, pulled muscle, strain, overuse or overtraining, damages soft tissues causing the body to produce scar tissue that in turn is generated to repair the injury site. Scar tissue is vital to repair an injury but it can also lead to problems. Scar tissue and adhesions upset muscle function decreasing the performance of the tissues involved. You can tell if you have this if you exhibit symptoms of pain, numbness, weakness or loss of range of motion.  Injuries don’t just go away Basically, muscles get stuck to each other and do not slide properly. This results in more effort to produce the same motion and strength as a healthy muscle. For athletes, having muscles that are “stuck” due to adhesions, results in poor function that can translate into many familiar symptoms like reduced reaction time, loss of speed, loss of endurance, reduced strength and flexibility. Those “old” nagging things just don’t go away.   You don’t “Get Better” from an injury, do you? Athletes need to understand soft tissue injuries because their bodies are their “money makers.” The highest-level athletes often start their careers very young. Those who survive their early injuries get to advance to the next level. However, they bring their old injuries with them. I have never seen someone “get better” from an injury. They may return to doing what they were doing before, but there is still the scar tissue and probable alteration of one or more muscle patterns.    What muscles do what? Sports and recreational athletics are supposed to be about the fun of competition and participation. Injured athletes that “sit it out” or have to give up a career or activity they love doing can become frustrated or depressed. They need to get involved in the understanding of their bodies and the steps needed to get them back in the game. Know your body! What muscles do what? Athletes must understand how they function so they can get proper care if they get injured and learn how to train correctly for their particular activity. In football, every position has unique demands on the body. A punter doesn’t need to train like a lineman. The relief pitcher doesn’t need to build up his forearms like the designated hitter.  Athletes spend untold hours preparing for “the event” or “game day.” There is nothing more frustrating than to spend hours of training to achieve a level of conditioning or skill level only to lose it to injuries.   It’s really up to you. ART® is one of the best options for athletic injury treatment. Many professional level athletes express frustration with the way they get treated for their injuries. Team trainers just don’t seem to do enough and actually, they can’t. There are not enough of them to give the kind of time and effort needed; they are over worked, under paid and responsible for too many athletes at any given time. This puts the responsibility on the individual athlete to seek his or her own best care.   Get Active Release ASAP! Time is another critical factor for athletic injuries. Lost time can end promising careers. Improper care can prolong recovery time or prohibit recovery altogether. Athletes need to have ART® done ASAP when they get injured. Many major professional sports teams have ART providers on staff and treat injuries right on the field. This can be highly valuable to both the team and the athlete. Early treatment helps to minimize the spread of the effects of the injury.   Get injured, don’t get replaced. You do not want to be replaced. If you get injured, someone else might just take your place. ART® can keep you in the game or get you back before you’re replaced. This is particularly critical for the younger athlete because of how fast a season can go by. Playing with pain and injuries is a fact of athletics, but the amount of lost time can be shortened with proper care of the injuries you do have.  Peak Performance can hurt. Peak performance is the goal of most athletes. This takes a great deal of dedication to achieve. When an athlete starts to hit the edge of what the body is capable of doing, certain things will start to break down. ART® is a key piece of the peak performance equation. When the edge is reached, many athletes feel their muscles are tight or those few special places begin to hurt more than usual. If a muscle stays tight for too long, it weakens. Tight = weak.   You can’t stretch it or rub dirt on it. You can’t just stretch your way to proper muscle function. Stretching is not specific enough to correct problem areas. Scar tissue is stronger than the normal tissues, so when you stretch, the healthy tissue does fine however, the scar tissue remains in place--stuck. Adhesions are just like Velcro. You cannot stretch it, medicate it or rub it to get it to release. It has to be pulled apart, yet the bodies’ tissues will not allow that. The only other option is to wiggle your fingers in between the two pieces and separate them that way. This is the art of Active Release Techniques.   Where, exactly is the problem? Athletes need to know the specific description of an injury. Let’s look at one of the most commonly injured areas--the shoulder. Being diagnosed with “rotator cuff” or “bursitis” may not be accurate enough. The question to ask might be “what part of which muscle is the problem in?” An adhesion between the Subscapularis muscle and the Serratus anterior muscle can cause poor shoulder motion and might have been the cause for the rotator cuff becoming unstable and resulting in injury. There are 14 muscles that control shoulder motion and very often there are a number of different places that are dysfunctional for each diagnosis of “rotator cuff.”  I do not believe that you should give the pain a name. How it hurts, when it hurts is more valuable than knowing what to call it. By knowing the How, When and Where, I can apply my knowledge of anatomy and Biomechanics to locate not just the pain site, but also the other muscles in the kinetic chain that are involved. The treatment is dependent upon the most specific diagnosis you can come up with.   ART® is muscle and movement protocol specific. A specific diagnosis should lead to a specific treatment. An actual torn rotator cuff or Meniscus may need surgery. Is that all there is to it? What about all the surrounding tissues, ligaments and muscles? Were they all in perfect condition prior to the injury? Have they developed adhesions since the injury? Look at the whole picture. If your recovery from an injury or surgery is not progressing rapidly, consider ART® to find the undetected problems. Surgeons tend to ignore the peel of the banana and go right for the fruit. Muscle IS the peel of the banana! If the problem cannot be resolved by surgery, then the surgeon generally refers the problem to a Physical Therapist.  In general, PT means that the muscles are weak and need to be strengthened. That may be true, but it is an incomplete assessment of the problems that still remain. If there is scar tissue in the muscles, they will not be able to fully recover their strength capabilities. ART® is needed to restore the strength capability of the muscles. Once the adhesions are cleared, the muscle can function properly.  Only then will PT become fully beneficial. The reason for being so thorough and specific is to be able to use the right tool for the problem. If a problem area is not identified correctly, it can’t be resolved correctly.   You’ll know when I’ve found the spot. Finding the problem spot typically produces two responses. First, it may duplicate the symptoms such as numbness, tingling or referred pain. The second response is the weak muscle gets stronger while contacting the problem spot. Both are indications that the ART® Provider has located the problem area. Active Release consists of using specific provider touch and active patient motions of the body to make layers of soft tissue slide or glide over one another.   ART® is simple, it’s just not easy. While ART® is simple in concept, it is not easy to master. The right touch makes all the difference. It takes 2-3 years to develop and requires recertification annually.  The most advanced providers have the Biomechanics certification of “ART® DOC” or are instructors. ART® is often confused with other “Myofascial” therapies like massage and neuromuscular therapy.  While many treatments are available for soft tissues, ART® offers a muscle and movement protocol specific approach using active patient motion whenever possible. Anyone who has had ART® knows it is NOT massage! DR JOHN PRO, Inc.  4370 S. Tamiami Trl., Suite #235, Sarasota, FL 34231   Email:       941-928-8292 Copyright © DR JOHN PRO 2010. All Rights Reserved
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Athletic & Other Injuries
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“From as early as your first fall as a child, you have been accumulating wounds, injuries and scar tissue.”
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Active Release Provider Since 1994 EXPERIENCE RESULTS
Back To The Gym and Stronger Then Ever I suffered a really bad injury while playing college football and after going to the hospital, they diagnosed me with a severe a bone bruise. After two weeks, I knew something more was wrong as I never met a bone bruise that didn't allow any movement. I went to a chiropracator who said that I separated it and after many weeks of treatment and physical therapy, I was still left in pain and with little range of movement. Finally, someone told me about a doctor, John Prokopiak, in Orlando, Florida who specialized in sports injuries. I was impressed on my first visit as he pretty much did a whole body treatment, not just focusing on my biceps tendon and superspinatus. I religiously went once a week for six weeks and wa amazed that I was able to returned to the gym as strong as I was before the injury. I have not had any reoccuring problem since and I have only gotten stronger. Now, I will say there was some pain in the first few sessions, but the outcome was well worth it. SouthPaw Orlando, FL