Falling down is part of life. Falling down is also part of any form of sport and exercise.
Of course, there is no doubting the plethora of benefits that come with exercising as it helps to keep you active and improve your overall health.
But there really isn’t escaping the risk of injuries, whether you’re working out at the gym or at home.
As a sports chiropractor who has been in the industry for the past 7 years, Dr Ivan Sin is used to all kinds of sports injuries — and his calling was inspired by his own passion for sports.
*Do note that while this article can serve as a guide, it is important to seek a doctor’s help as soon as possible in the event that your injuries turn out to be more serious than normal.
Photo by Dr Ivan Sin
What made you decide that chiropractic care was the right career for you?
I was a Taekwondo athlete when I was in high school. One bad injury on my lower back led me to chiropractic care. I tried many treatment options but none of them helped.
The moment of epiphany came when my sister, who was studying at a medical university back then, referred me to my very first chiropractor. I was so amazed by the treatment and the immediate relief from the session that I decided to pursue my studies in the chiropractic field!
What’s the best part about your job?
I enjoy looking after athletes. They are always positive and very motivated with their recovery.
They will not complain about the things I ask them to do at home. In fact, they will ask for more so they can return to doing sports faster!
Currently, I am undertaking a Master’s in Strength and Conditioning so that I can provide a more complete recovery plan for my athletes.
How busy does your day get?
My work as a chiropractor involves a lot of physical work, and treatments include physical examinations, orthopaedic tests, and chiropractic adjustments.
On a busy day, I will need to look after 30 patients with a limited break in between. I see around 20 patients on my slow day (which frankly is still quite a lot).
Other than treating patients, I make time for some paperwork and patient note updates as well.
Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata from Pexels
What’s the most memorable thing about your job so far?
I remember one of my young patients who recovered from the treatment told me that he decided to join chiropractic school.
He said that he wanted to be a successful chiropractor like me.
Let’s talk about sports injuries at home.
One important thing to remember, first of all, is that everyone’s fitness level is different. Without proper guidance and the right form, injuries can happen very easily.
For example, imagine doing sit-ups with your hands behind your neck! That will increase the tension in the cervical spine and cause neck pain.
Another reason why injuries happen is because of the sudden increase in the level of activity, in which case it’ll be called overuse.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
What are some of the most common sports injuries one can sustain at home?
The most common injuries at home are still neck and back pain, though there has been a spike because of the pandemic and the implementation of WFH (work from home).
Both of these conditions arise from inactivity, bad ergonomic, poor posture or working too long at the desk.
When it comes to sports though, backaches could happen during heavy lifting usually caused by improper workout techniques.
The same can happen with your neck, where one jerks their necks too fast and too sudden, which causes a sprain.
The symptoms for these two conditions range from neck aches, lower backaches, headaches, numbness and tingling sensations over the limbs.
On that note, here are some of the other common sports injuries:
Sprains occur when ligaments are stretched too far or torn, usually in the ankles or wrists. You may experience painful swelling, bruising, and sometimes, the inability to move your joints.
Strains, on the other hand, occur when a muscle or tendon is pulled too far — usually in the back or hamstrings. Painful swellings and spasms are some of the symptoms.
Runners usually experience what is known as runner’s knee, which is tenderness near the knee cap, pain on the sides and tendinitis. This is one of the more frequent problems for many athletes.
A lack of warm-ups, running too hard or often, and twists and blows to the knee can cause this.
Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels
Muscles are enclosed in a compartment filled with a tough membrane called fascia. When muscles swell, they fill this compartment to full capacity, which interferes with nerves and blood vessels, and sometimes, causes damage to the muscles too.
This is called compartment syndrome, and it is a painful condition.
Exercises that involve repeated movements such as boxing, running, biking, swimming, or jumping — anything that involves over-use and repeated blows to the muscle will cause this syndrome.
This type of sports injury involves the tibia, which is the bone on the front of the lower leg. Again, this is something common with runners, especially those who do not warm-up or stretch.
That being said, it is also quite common with people who exercise without proper and supportive shoes, and those who have flat feet.
It is quite common for the Achilles tendon, which extends from the calf muscle to the heel, to stretch or tear during sports.
Injuries to this area often cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the back of your leg.
Be sure to warm up the area and stretch before performing any calf-heavy exercise. However, if the tendon tears or ruptures — and this usually sounds like a “pop” — seek immediate medical attention.
What would you recommend someone do if they encounter injuries at home?
There is no one remedy for all. My advice will be to consult a doctor and identify the cause of the injury as soon as you can.
It is always easier to treat an injury during its minor stages instead of “waiting it out” in the hopes of it not turning severe. So, get your injury checked out as soon as it is sustained.
Even if the human body is good at adapting (as it will function accordingly to cope with the injured part of the body), it will eventually lead to chronic conditions and much more severe injuries in the future. Plus, waiting for treatment will make recovery time even longer.
That being said, a good thing to keep in mind is the PRICE therapy:
Protection: protect the affected area by using support, for example.
Rest: avoid exercise until your doctor’s appointment, and reduce physical activity.
Ice: if you notice inflammation in the affected area, apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours.
Compression: if needed, limit swelling by using compression bandages.
Elevation: keep the affected area elevated whenever possible — above the heart, preferably.
Photo by HYDRAGUN
What are your tips for avoiding sports and exercise-related injuries?
Using deep tissue massage guns like HYDRAGUN can be a great tool to help with pain associated with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
The strong vibration helps with the removal of lactic acid and increases blood circulation, which improves post-workout recovery. Plus, the intensity of deep tissue massage guns allow for deeper penetration into muscle layers.
It is best to take precautions and remove the risk of any kind of injuries by using it post-workout to relax the muscles and to get them ready for training the next day.
Related: 5 science-backed reasons why percussive therapy is good for you
However, it is not advisable to use any kind of device on an acute-stage injury, which, as mentioned before, should be inspected by a doctor.
Any wrong move might cause more harm and create more inflammation over the injured tissue or muscle.
But here’s a key piece of advice — the philosophy behind injury prevention is simple; it is all about balance. The balance between core muscle strength and joint flexibility is essential.
If you have a strong core but poor flexibility and vise versa, you will have a higher risk of injuring yourself.
And never forget warm-ups. One thing to keep in mind with regards to warm-ups is to do it properly. Warm-ups are meant to warm the body, but I often find people performing static stretches that don’t do much. To help activate muscles before workouts, a quick session using deep tissue massage guns also helps.
Read next: Are massage guns worth it? 5 things you didn’t know you needed to know about these devices
Whether for sports recovery or getting that much needed relaxation at the end of a long day, you can rely on deep tissue massages to get the job done. Get your own Hydragun deep tissue massage guns today and let us know how it helped with your recovery.