Stay Sport Fit This Summer

sports injury

The summer is finally with us, and with it comes all the sports that many of us love to both watch and play, whatever our level of ability. Wimbledon, Test Cricket, the US and British Golf Opens… the evenings are light, the weather is warm, and full of enthusiasm we head out to the nearest court, course or pitch.

But even people who exercise and train regularly can be prone to injuries, and the likelihood is greatly increased if you suddenly throw yourself into a sport without having got your body used to the idea. Golfers and tennis players can fall victim to elbow problems. While in cricket bowlers will be more likely to experience lower back, shoulder or knee pain, and batsmen or women can get hamstring injuries, caused by the sudden need to sprint from a standing start.

This article is a quick guide to identifying the symptoms, and how to treat them before they get worse.

Tennis elbow, or pain in the outside elbow area

Clinically known as lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow often occurs after overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm, near the elbow joint.
You may notice pain:

  • on the outside of your upper forearm, just below the bend of your elbow
  • when lifting objects such as a kettle
  • when bending or fully extending your arm
  • when gripping small objects, such as a pen
  • when twisting your forearm, such as turning a door handle or opening a jar

Physio can provide fast relief, especially when followed by simple extension exercises which you can practice anytime, anywhere, to strengthen the muscles and stretch out scar tissue. Bags of frozen peas will relieve pain and swelling in the meantime, and of course it’s important to stop the activity which has caused the strain so the tendon can heal.

Golfer’s elbow – pain in the inner elbow

Golfer’s elbow is the opposite – pain along the inside elbow area, but it is the same kind of injury, involving an inflamed tendon. It is most commonly caused by overuse of muscles in the forearm that flex (curl inwards) the wrist and fingers. Sports such as golf or other activities which involve repeated gripping or flexion of the wrist and fingers and overuse of the tendons can cause degeneration in the form of microscopic tears. This then causes the symptoms of golfer’s elbow, for which, similarly, physio, simple exercises and bags of frozen peas provide fast relief, while the exercises will strengthen the muscles around the tendon, so they take more of the strain, and help stretch out the tendon to alleviate the impact of swelling and scar tissue.

Cricket injuries

Cricket, that seemingly most gentle of sports, involving long periods of standing around with a tea break in the middle, actually puts a surprising amount of strain on the body. Bowlers often fall prey to muscle sprains through one side of their body from their shoulders down to their knees, due to the one-sided action required of them, while batsmen are most likely to strain their hamstrings from the impact of a sudden sprint.

Warming up properly is especially important for cricketers, and as with golf and tennis elbows, ice packs will reduce swelling while physio and deep tissue massage will start to repair damaged muscles.

Tips for avoiding sports injuries

However, we would all rather stay healthy and avoid injuries all together. Here are my top six tips for a happy summer of sport:

  1. Over-use injuries are preventable. If you haven’t played all winter, do some ‘pre-training’, working the relevant muscle groups in the weeks before the season starts.
  2. Warm up properly, focussing on the actions and parts of the body which may be most affected.
  3. Wear protective clothing as needed – whether it’s a cricket helmet or a support band.
  4. Quit while you’re ahead – muscle fatigue takes away your protective mechanisms and increases your risk of injuries. After all, you can always come out to play again next weekend, if you don’t get injured today.
  5. Drink plenty of water.
  6. Stretch and cool down afterwards – it will protect the muscles for next time.

And finally, if you do find yourself with an injury for which ice packs and painkillers don’t do the job or it’s not getting better – please do call. Physio is very effective for all these sports injuries, and you can speed up recovery and get back out there far quicker if you treat your injury properly!
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Anxious About Anxiety….

anxiety

It’s been over a year since the launch of Sarah Holmes Health, when I added a raft of new treatments to my portfolio, introducing hypnotherapy, NLP and coaching to complement my usual fare of physiotherapy and acupuncture.

I hope you won’t mind me sending you a quick update once a month? My aim is to cover – in very brief terms – one subject at a time, with useful hints and tips for anyone to whom it is relevant, and so help you, or perhaps someone you know, to manage common conditions on a day to day basis. I promise not to bore you or clog up your inbox, but if you would prefer not to receive this type of communication from me, just reply to this email and let me know.

I thought I’d kick off with a note about anxiety. Anxiety is a remarkably common issue, and can take many forms, from fear of flying to spiders to exams. Mild anxiety is reflected in feelings of nervousness, fear and worry, and is both vague and unsettling – but in its more serious manifestations, it can result in real physical symptoms and have a debilitating impact on one’s life. Some people are prone to Generalised Anxiety Disorder, which is an ongoing condition, making the sufferer worry about everything from money to illness to family matters, even if there is no specific reason. Other forms include attachment disorders, phobias, post-traumatic stress and anxiety-related depression.

The good news is, there is a lot the individual can do to help reduce the symptoms, and indeed to overcome them. The first step is simply to recognise that there is an issue to be dealt with, and after that, relaxation and breathing exercises, yoga and meditation, exercise and a healthy diet including plenty of greens and Omega 3 can make a real difference.

But if you – or someone you know – simply can’t stop worrying about getting on that plane, or indeed missing the flight, or any other specific or non-specific anxiety, then hypnotherapy, NLP or a combination can really help to tackle the problem at source, and create new ways of thinking to avoid ‘catastrophising’ and focus on the positives.
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Hello, world! Sarah Holmes Health is born…

Welcome to the all new Sarah Holmes Health website! I’m thrilled to introduce my new company, which many of my current patients will know as Acorn Physiotherapy. It’s been a few months of great change for me, following a couple of years of training in new skills and honing them, in order to be able to offer them professionally as a fully-rounded, more holistic service where appropriate – treating the mind and body together.
Continue reading Hello, world! Sarah Holmes Health is born…