Hockey season is finally underway! Here are some of the most common ice hockey injuries and tips on prevention for a great season.
Dr. Erik Carlson, D.C.
1. Knee Injury. Knee injuries most commonly occur at the beginning of season when muscle strength and endurance are weak. When muscles get fatigued, the ligaments and tendons surrounding the joint have less support which makes the knee more vulnerable to injury. Prevent: Stay fit all year long, (conditioning is key) stretch, and get a good warm-up in before practice and games.
2. Shoulder Injury. Falls and impact are a given when it comes to ice hockey. When a player braces themselves with their arm for a fall, it puts pressure on the shoulder joint during impact. This makes the shoulder vulnerable for dislocation (humerus rotates out of scapula) or a broken collarbone (clavicle). Prevent: Staying fit, strengthen shoulder muscles used for rotation and flexion. Doing exercises such as pull-ups, chin ups, or dips.
3. Low Back Pain. The position a player is in while skating is constant hip flexion and an extended back. This can create imbalances in which hip flexor muscles are tight and strong, while the back extensor muscles are stretched and weak. These muscle imbalances can cause pain in the low back, sometimes making tasks like walking, running, skating, sitting or sleep extremely uncomfortable and difficult. Prevent: Stretch out the hip flexors and strengthen the back muscles by doing stretches like the kneeling lunge, superman, or back extension.
4. Ankle injury. Even though hockey skates are designed to protect the ankle, constantly changing directions is tough on the joint and could cause an ankle sprain. This happens when the ankle turns too far in or out of its normal range, therefore stretching or tearing the ligaments surrounding the joint. Prevent: strengthen ankles in off season by calf raises or use resistance bands to flex and extend ankle.
5. Concussions. A concussion is a brain injury caused when the brain is jarred or bumped. Signs and symptoms include "not feeling right," headaches, nausea, confusion, loss of consciousness, blurry vision, balance issues, memory problems, or clumsy movements. Prevent: Wear a helmet with proper padding, keep your head up if sliding into the boards, and safely check other players ( never from behind or at the upper back/neck).
The most common injuries occur from falls or impact into other players, the boards, or the ice. Injuries can range from minor aches and pains to serious tears or traumas. No need to fear though! Educate yourself, child, or players on ways to skate and play safe to prevent injury in and out of season. If you, or anyone you know have had any of these injuries, come see Dr. Carlson to check that your spine and nervous system are working optimally.
Headaches or Migraines According to the American Chiropractic Association, nine out of ten American's suffer from headaches. There are many different types of headaches which can be intense and frequent, to occasional and dull and throbbing, to those that cause general pain and nausea. How do you typically relieve these symptoms? Pop a pill and wait for the pain to subside, put up with it and continue with your day? There are better ways to address and alleviate headaches.
95% of headaches are primary, such as tension, migraine or cluster headaches. Primary headaches most commonly occur due to muscle tension in the neck. Posture has a big impact on muscle health, especially through the neck. People spend so much time looking down texting, reading, bent over a keyboard, sitting at a computer, or slumped in a chair watching TV. During these activities, a person is in a constant fixed posture, not moving for hours on end sometimes. This can create joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, which can lead to headaches or migraines.
What can you do?
- Get to the Chiropractor! Chiropractic adjustments offer spinal manipulations which alleviate pressure and stress on the nervous system, allowing the body to heal and function properly.
- Chiropractic can also give nutritional advice, different ways to improve posture, exercise and stretching recommendations, along with muscle relaxation techniques.
- Drink enough water. Good rule of thumb; 1/2 of your total body weight in fl oz. per day.
- If you find yourself in a fixed position, take a break every 30 minutes to stretch and move the neck through a comfortable range of motion.
If you would like to know the 3 Best Stretches to Prevent Low Back Pain, click here! If you have a specific injury Give us a call: 651-528-8254.