4 Tips for Staying Shoulder-Safe at the Gym

You probably never think about your shoulders and why would you? They are there on your back just doing their job of letting you to push, pull, lift and twist your arms in every direction. If you work out at your gym regularly, you’re more likely to suffer a shoulder injury if you aren’t careful and we have 5 tips to help you ensure that your shoulders stay in their place and aren’t thought about regularly instead of becoming a painful reminded of ,”Oops I shouldn’t have done that”.

Pain is a signal from your shoulders and if you feel any pain whatsoever, stop and see if it continues. You could be tearing ligaments or muscles in the area through over-use or over-excertion, so don’t fall into the motto of, “No pain, no gain” pain is a signal from your body something is amiss. Investigate it.

Tip 1 – Remember your age. You could probably get away with a lot more abuse and malformed lifting techniques in your younger days. If you’re lifting weights and it hurts, modify your lifting style and if it continues, stop. If you push it, you could put too much strain on your shoulders and pay the price with a throbbing, aching shoulder. Higher reps with lower weights is the way to go.

Tip 2- Talk to a pro. This is especially beneficial if you’re going back into the gym and working out after a long absense. Get some tips from someone that is well versed in muscles and exercises to target specific body areas.

Tip 3 – Concentrate on working groups of muscles instead of individual muscles. For optimum shoulder strength, work your muscles in groups. The best work outs will incorporate moves that work a number of muscles instead of just one.

Tip 4- Always do your warm ups. You may think you don’t need to every single time, but you do. Warm up those muscles before you work them and stretch them out. It’s been proven time and again through various studies that a simple warm up can avoid a majority of work out injuries. Doing too much, too often is the number one cause of injuries in people that are new to or revisiting regular work outs.

If you do injure your shoulder, ice and rest are the best remedies for nearly all shoulder injuries, and that’s when you’ll probably be remembering your shoulders, with every movement! Use these tips and keep your workouts (and your shoulders) healthy!

Cutting Down on the Obese Teenage Girl Population

The March issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine had an outstanding article about helping decrease the number of overweight teenagers, specifically teenage girls who are at a greater risk for a myriad of health issues including diabetes and heart disease.

A study done by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) named the TAAG (Trial of Activity for Adolesent Girls) was published in the March issues under the title “Promoting Physical Activity in Middle School Girls,” and it showed the programs which linked schools in 6 geographic regions of the U.S. with community partners (such as the YMCA or YWCA, local health clubs, and community recreation centers) increased time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity among the middle-school female students by about 2 minutes per day, or 80 calories a week.

This is not a huge commitment for the teenage girls and the outcomes were promising health-wise. Physical activity was measured using accelerometers (a device for measuring the acceleration of motion), rather than self-reported to ensure that the results were accurate. The study showed this moderate after activity could prevent excess weight gain of about 2 pounds per year and could prevent the teen from becoming overweight in later teen years or as an adult.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the TAAG showed a reduction of nearly 9 minutes of sedentary behavior in girls in the intervention schools. Furthermore, the best results were seen in programs offered between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, which suggest that after school programs are more effective than programs offered at other times, such as morning weekdays and weekends. Research has shown that adolescents, especially girls, become less active during the teen years and are at a greater risk of obesity.

The study results support the need for schools and community programs to work together to provide opportunities for physical activity programs in after school settings. Even better, if you’re able, get out and get active with your child after school. Stop on the way home from school at a park, take a brisk walk and talk about the events of your days and if you work or are unable to do so, consider signing your daughter up for after school activities – her health will benefit greatly!

If you’d like more information on the NHLBI’s Obesity Education Initiative and the NIH’s We Can! public awareness program to prevent childhood obesity, can discuss resources that encourage increased physical activity, the value of decreased screen time, and better food choices for children and families. Check out their website at We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition), http://wecan.nhlbi.nih.gov .

Home Treatments for Whiplash

Whiplash is usually thought of as purely a result of a fender bender in a car. However, it’s also a common sports related injury although the reason for the injury is the same.

A whiplash is simply an injury that has occurred because the full body was traveling forward usually in a vehicle of some sort and then vehicle was suddenly stopped due to an impact. A whiplash can also occur from a blow suffered to the neck area that stops the body’s forward movement.

A whiplash is a sneaky condition. It usually won’t rear its painful head for anywhere from 24 to 48 hours after the injury. And it’s very easy to spot when it’s happening. There will be a marked pain and stiffness in the neck which will develop slowly and peak after about two to three days. Additionally, there will be a reduced range of motion in the neck area. Headaches are also a common side effect from a whiplash.

As with any injury to the neck, have it checked by a medical professional to rule out anything serious such as an injury that mimics whiplash initially but may actually be a more serious injury. Once you rule out anything serious, you can manage your whiplash at home. One of the best treatments you can do early on for a whiplash is to use ice on the affected area to manage the pain. 10-15 minutes of ice on the painful area with 20-30 minutes off is a good schedule to follow.

Range of movement exercises are also good. Let pain be your guide for how far the head may be turned on the neck and don’t push it. Mobility will return slowly, but you need to keep those muscles loose through a little exercise.

One exercise you can do is to sit up straight with your hands on your thighs and keeping your shoulders forward, move your head to the left as far as pain will allow and again, don’t push it. Try to hold to a count of 10 but it’s okay if you only make it to 2 in the beginning. Repeat with the right side and do this at least twice a day.

No matter how it happened, whiplash is no fun but with rest, ice and exercise; you can get back on your feet and be a 100% again in no time at all.

Got a Pain in the Neck?

No, I don’t mean if someone is being annoying or not! Neck pain, also known as cervicalgia is a very common complaint that many adults have it’s very distinct.

What is Cervicalgia?

If you’re curious, cervicalgia is a pain in the neck that stays in the neck. Meaning it does not radiate outwards into the back or arms as some neck pain does. The neck muscles are under constant tension to hold the held up and in the event of a sudden, sharp movement those muscles can be torn as they are in a tightened position almost constantly. The result is a centered, almost constant neck pain.

How Do I Know If It’s Cervicalgia?
You need to have a qualified medical professional look at your neck to ascertain if it is truly cervicalgia. Symptoms of cervicalgia usually include a sharp pain in the neck. A strong ache in the area of the neck and pain is felt when the head is turned (do this gently) from side to side.

What Are Some Forms of Pain Relief for Cervicalgia?
First of all, apply ice if you suspect there may be a tear in the muscle. A special neck collar can help the muscles rest while acting as a good support for the head. There are some forms of rehabilitation exercises, consult with your physician before attempting them as they aren’t’ right for all people recovering from this type of injury.

Ankle Watch! Anterior Ankle Impingement Becoming More Common

A the game of soccer continues to grow in popularity year after year, an injury that is seen more often in the UK is being seen in the United States on a more frequent basis. It’s called “Footballer’s Ankle” in the UK and in the United States it is still known as “Anterior Ankle Impingement”. In short, it’s simply when the foot and ankle has been used to the point that a bony growth has formed in reaction to the constant irritation from overuse.

Symptoms of Anterior Ankle Impingement:

* Pain and tenderness when pressing in with the fingers over the front of the ankle joint.
* Pain when you bend your foot up or down.
* A band of pain across the front of the ankle joint when kicking a ball.
* A bony lump at the front of the ankle.

Remedies for Anterior Ankle Impingement:

* If the bony growth is large enough to be seen through the skin, surgery may be required to remove it.
* If the injury is more recent then it may respond to an exercise program consisting of mobility, stretching and strengthening exercises to slow the bone growth.
* Heat can relieve the feeling of irritation.

What are some methods a sports injury specialist will use?

* Apply sports massage techniques.
* Give you a steroid injection to relieve inflammation and recommend rest of the ankle.
* Operate to remove the growth if it is so large it is impeding movement of the foot.
* X-ray the ankle to confirm diagnosis.

Those are the basics for this type of ankle injury. It was almost never seen 20 years ago, however with the boom of popularity in soccer more individuals are experiencing this type of injury. If you have the above symptoms or you feel a bony growth that you never felt before on the front part of your foot, have it checked out – with early intervention – it can be slowed and even healed before it becomes a problem.