The Best Defense is a Good Offense: Treating Athletes for Injuries Before They Happen

An active lifestyle is an essential part of staying healthy for a lifetime. Unfortunately, participation in regular sports and activities can sometimes lead to injuries. Sports injuries are extremely common and can keep you off the field or out of the race for a long time. However, many of these injuries can be avoided with a little bit of foresight. Here are some steps you can take to prevent injuries before they happen.

Warm Up, Cool Down. While you may be tempted to jump right into your activity, warming up before exercise is one of the keys to preventing injury. By gradually easing into your workout, you can reduce your muscle soreness and risk of injury. Starting with a warm-up increases the blood flow to your muscles and raises your body temperature, preparing you for more intense activity. Warm-up routines should focus on major muscle groups while exerting a moderate amount of effort. Athletes may sweat while warming up but shouldn’t feel fatigued in any way afterward. Cooling down has the same effects in reverse. By slowly easing out of your activity, you allow the body to gradually return to its pre-workout state, gradually lowering heart rate and body temperature to normal levels. The process of cooling down is very similar to warming up; just continue your activity for five to ten minutes at a slower, more moderate pace.

Healthy Diet. Many athletes don’t understand the importance of a healthy diet and its role in injury prevention. Maintaining proper daily nutrition provides your body with the nutrients it needs, reducing your risk of injury and expediting the recovery process if an injury does occur. It’s important to research the right amount of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients appropriate for your body type and level of daily activity. This is just as important as keeping yourself well-hydrated and replenishing electrolytes. By giving the body all that it needs on a daily basis, you’re providing it with the tools to protect itself and heal more quickly.

The Balance Connection. Having good balance is key when it comes to preventing sports injuries. Athletes’ bodies must frequently adjust in order to stay balanced during almost any activity. Poor balance can cause a myriad of injuries, such as rolled ankles, torn ligaments, or fractured bones. So, how do you know if your balance is up to snuff? Dr. Romano uses a method called Autonomic Motor Nerve Reflex Testing (AMNRT) to assess your body’s ability to maintain a stable posture. This form of testing identifies nerves that are in a state of dysfunction or distress, causing an athlete’s balance to be off, often resulting in inferior performance and injuries.

Multi-purpose Mouthguards. While it’s well-known that mouthguards protect athletes from potential dental trauma, they can also improve balance. In his book, Find the Source: Maximizing Your Results—With and Without Orthopaedic Surgery, Dr. Romano states, “For athletes with TMD, having a properly fitted mouth guard is crucial for restoring balance and avoiding injury—and not just to protect the mouth and teeth.” Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) can be diagnosed using the AMNRT method and a mouthguard prescribed as part of the solution. Mouthguards must be fitted by a professional to ensure proper functionality or the appliance may actually cause the balance to worsen rather than improve.

By taking preventative action before and during activities, athletes can successfully side-step preventable injuries and stay active for a lifetime. For more information, check out Dr. Romano’s book, Find the Source: Maximizing Your Results—With and Without Orthopaedic Surgery.


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