How Does Yoga Reduce Orthopaedic Injuries?

No one in this world is born perfect. There are imbalances in various parts of our body and this can cause injuries if mishandled. Many sports athletes are now turning to an ancient form of practice – Yoga. Yoga helps to increase the flexibility and physical as well as mental strength of oneself. It helps to prevent injuries associated with overuse and speed up recovery of existing injuries.

Yoga is normally conducted in a room that is slightly warm. This increase in temperature will allow muscles to expand and relax, allowing for an increase in stretching capabilities. Enhanced stretching will help to lower the risk of injuries. Yoga will help to build up physical strength and tone muscles, especially vulnerable ones such as the back muscles. It also increases flexibility, reducing injuries that are sustained due to the inability to flex. Since yoga causes perspiration, it will draw out toxins and impurities from the body, burn excess calories and help to build up endurance levels.

Orthopaedic injuries are all about the joints and musculoskeletal system. Having strong joints and muscles will help to significantly lower the risk of injuries. For example, athletes that are involved in high tempo activities such as basketball and soccer are at a high risk of ankle sprains. Due to the constant running and jumping motion, this causes a lot of high stresses to build up at the joints. Without sufficient rest, it can lead to overuse injuries and eventually soft tissue damages. Not only does yoga help to strengthen these joints, it also helps to reduce body weight to reduce the cyclic stresses acting on weak areas of the body.

You may be thinking basic warm up and cool down stretches also help to increase body heat and relax the muscles, increasing flexibility. What is so special about yoga? Well, the main difference is that yoga goes beyond stretching the “common” muscles. Normal stretches simply stretch the muscles in a one direction plane. However, this is rather useless for sports since sports is a 3 dimensional activity whereby the stresses come in the x, y and z plane. Yoga helps to stretch all the muscles in all the directions including the small ones to better prepare for what is to come during the games. Additionally, how yoga differs from ordinary stretching lies in its breathing during the practice. The emphasis of muscles isolation, works on specific muscles and in general stronger muscles would reduce the risk of sustaining orthopaedic injuries. In fact, stronger muscles also reduce the extent of an injury as well as recovery rate. Generally a stronger individual would be able to recover faster than an individual with weak muscles.

Yoga is an ancient activity that helps to warm up your muscles, increase the flexibility and build up your physical and mental strength through various poses and motion. With thousands of years of history, it is tried and tested by many.

5 Common Injuries Suffered by Dancers

Dancing is a physical activity that is accompanied with a certain level or risk. Dancing is something that needs to be gradually built up from scratch and one cannot simply jump into it expecting to do something they have never tried. Proper warm up and stretching as well as cooling down exercises will need to be performed religiously before and after every session. Injuries can be career threatening to any dancer and it is important to take precautions to prevent them from happening.

Meniscus Knee Tear

Dancing requires a lot of jumping and knee twisting actions accompanied by sudden direction changes. This will place a lot of stresses on the knee, particularly the ligaments and meniscus. A tear in the knee meniscus is one of the most frequent injuries experienced by dancers and it can put you out of action for up to 6 months depending on the severity. It is important to strengthen the leg muscles particularly the knee, thigh and calf to help reduce the burden on the knee.

Ankle sprains

A proper ankle connection is important in dancing. Ankle sprains occur when upon landing from a jump, the outside of the ankle rolls inwards due to a loss of balance. This will cause the ligaments in the ankle to tear. Ankle sprains are painful and will hinder you in many aspects of your daily life. You will be out of action for up to a month.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is tendonitis of the Achilles tendon and it occurs due to muscle overuse after repeatedly acting pressure on the calf muscle. It happens most frequently in dancers who place a lot of their weight on the lower body.

Neck strain

Neck strain is a common injury and it happens so frequently because dancers have to move their head throughout a dance and many of them control it incorrectly. Instead of using the spine when they arch their neck, they use the tendons, overusing them.

Muscle cramps

Dance practices and rehearsals can sometimes take a long time and start from early in the morning till late at night. As a result, they are easy victims to muscle cramps due to fatigue and a lack of required electrolytes to replace the ones they lost throughout the day. Sometimes it can happen due to improper warm up exercises.

Dancing is a very physical demanding activity and the risk of injuries is high. New dancers will need to start slow while experienced dancers cannot be complacent and skip the basic warm up and cooling down exercises. Dancers will also need to ensure that they replace their lost fluid to prevent muscle cramps.

Sprained, Tears or Fractured?

Sports injuries are inevitable at some point in time of your life. After a hard training session or a game of your favourite sports, there will definitely be those post game aches and pain that you will suffer which are perfectly normal. In unwanted cases, you could have landed badly from a jump or fell awkwardly on your shoulders, resulting in a swollen ankle or shoulder. You try to self medicate but what injury is it exactly? Is it a sprain, muscle tear or a fracture? How do you differentiate them from one another?

Sprains

A sprain occurs when you stretch or partially tear the fibrous tissues or more commonly known as your ligaments. They occur mostly in places such as your ankles and wrists. Ligaments helps to connect the connective tissues from your bones to your joints. There are three degrees of sprains namely the first, second and third degree. Some signs of sprains include pain, bruising, tenderness, inflammation, swelling and immobility of the affected area. Sprains can usually heal on their own but more serious sprains may require surgery. Always see a doctor if the pain is excruciating or you suffer from numbness in the area which could imply something more serious.

Tears

Muscle tear or commonly known as muscle strain implies that you have torn a muscle or a tissue called tendons. They occur most commonly in places such as the hamstring which is located at the back of you thigh. Muscle tear can cause severe pain and inability to walk or carry out normal functions properly. They are commonly caused by over use of muscles, suddenly pulling of the affected tissues and cyclic cycles of muscles.

Fracture

Fractures are probably the most serious as compared to tears and sprains. A fracture implies that there is a broken or cracked bone involved. Fractures are extremely serious injuries and you must seek a doctor immediately. Common symptoms include difficulty in breathing, loss of mobility at the affected area, fingers or toes turning blue due to lack of blood flow and seeing a bone sticking through the skin. There are two types of fractures namely the acute and stress fractures. Simple acute fractures are caused by a sudden hard blow to the bone resulting in the bone breaking, causing injury only to the bone and not to the surrounding tissues. If you see a bone sticking through your skin, you have a compound acute fracture which will cause infection to the surrounding tissues and are much more serious. Stress fractures are normally from repeated stress on your affected area mainly caused by sports or gymnastics.

Now that you know what sports injury you are suffering from, you can do the necessary R.I.C.E actions and seek a doctor if you need to. There are so many different sports injuries and above are only three of them. Always consult a doctor if you are unsure as wrong self mediation can further aggravate the injury.