Sorry I haven't written in a while, our 2nd clinic Sports Solutions has been keeping me busy... and stressed so far. Anyway, the topic for this particular post was actually "given" by one of my patients and a very frequent participant in our weekly running club sessions (on Thursdays).
I first read about this topic last year when I was made aware of a book "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall, based on the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, a tribe unknown to the rest of the world but are capable of running extraordinary distances in nothing but thin-soled sandals. This was what led me to write about 2 of our more popular topics on March 14 this year " Do High Tech Running Shoes Work"and "Pain Free Running" on March 17.
The article -which is the title of this week's post was published in the New York Times on 261009 and this patient sent me a link to this article. Go ahead and have a read, we humans are really made to run.
Ask our participants at our running club, many of them have been told by their doctors and surgeons not to run, but are now running again. Give us a ring to let us know if you are coming (63331211 or 62236078). Here's too more running.
We have sports massage available this weekend for the runners participating in the Nike Human Race today and North Face Run. Having a sports massage after your race hastens your body's recovery process. Call us at 63331211 to book your appointment.
For all our patients who have been waiting patiently for us, our second branch, Sports Solutions will open to see patients from tomorrow 21 October 2009!
We have named it differently as it has a sports rehab space/ gym that we will be able to use to return our patients back to sports and /or after their injury or operations. Of course we will also have physiotherapy and sports massage therapy services there as well.
There will also be strength and conditioning, sports psychology and sports nutrition services available upon request as well. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Sports Solutions is located at 108 Amoy Street, Singapore 069928. Tel 6223-6078. Fax 6223-6079.
If the picture looks familiar, you are right, it has been taken from yesterday's Sunday Times (111009) Life section, page 9.
As the article pointed out, there are no published studies showing that too many massages are bad. However, let me share a true experience from the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Our Team Singapore medical team consists of only a doctor and 2 physiotherapists (only) for the whole Team Singapore contingent. Besides looking medical and sports injuries' needs of the athletes, all three of us had to double up and do sports massage for the athletes as well (since we don't have a sports massage therapist with us).
One of our swimmers (who shall remain anonymous) insisted of receiving 3 sports massages a day (even after the competition). If it was before the competition and if time permits, I'll say no problemo. And if the swimmer came back with a medal, I'd say alright I'll do it (after the competition as well). But the swimmer was really quite far away from even making the finals so I said to the swimmer "if you get 3 sports massage sessions a day, does that mean you will swim 3 seconds faster?"
The swimmer stormed off and didn't speak to me for a few days. What I am trying to say is that yes, sports massage does have some benefits (if done properly and at the right time), but 3x a day? Through my experience of working with athletes, I know that some prefer (and can handle) a sports massage close to their really important events (1 or 2 days before). Others prefer 4-5 days before their big event. Now, every athlete is different and have different preferences. You all know that you shouldn't wear new shoes, running shorts, vests, etc before your race, well same for sports massage, nothing new or nothing you aren't familiar with.
One other comment though, caught my attention. The comment was made by a principal physiotherapist at a local hospital --"a massage using non-professional and forceful techniques can lead to problems such as nerve damage and cerebrovascular accidents such as stroke and bruising".
Personally, I feel that there is no justification at all for that comment made by the principal physiotherapist. Especially if you come to our clinic, our staff all all extremely well trained and experienced. If you search the current scientific databases, there is currently no documented or published evidence (in Pubmed, PEDRO etc) of such claims. A cerebrovascular accident or stroke involves arteries inside the cranium (or skull),so unless the massage therapist performing the massage fractures the cranium and so disrupts the blood supply, there is virtually no chance of a stroke happening.
As for nerve damage, it would really take quite a fair bit of force to inflict any "damage" to our nerves as nerves are actually quite hardy.
Most runners may have heard or read in some way or another through inaccurately written articles that too much exercise may be harmful to their joints. Most of the general community perception is similar too, that too much running or exercise are mostly harmful to joints. Well, all runners (and other athletes) will be real pleased to know that exercise does not cause osteoarthritis (OA) but might actually help to prevent it.
Well, here is the good news, there is actually no strong evidence supporting the fact that regular exercise can cause harmful effects in normal joints (i.e. joints without any pre existing injury) according to a review of studies published in the article cited below.
The review paper was a joint effort between German and American researchers that looked for a relationship between exercise and osteoarthritis which found none, except in elite athletes in sports where they incurred knee injuries. In fact for comparisons between runners and matched controls (who didn't run), the runners were found to have lower rates of OA compared to their sedentary counterparts.
The researchers found that there was a higher likelihood of elite athletes sustaining sports injuries leading to an increased risk of OA in the damaged joints. Count me in, I've had 3 knee operations between 2002-2003 when I was still training and racing. (Thank the good Lord, it was really difficult, but I managed to get back to training and racing at my previous levels and have had no problems ever since). Guess that's where pain free running helps. More info here.
The researchers concluded that for most other people though, vigorous, low-impact exercise is beneficial for both physical and mental benefits.
So, if you do not have any prior existing injury, keep running and exercising. If you do, there's always pain free running.
Hunter DJ and Eckstein F (2009). Exercise And Osteoarthritis. The Journal Of Anatomy 214(2): 197-207.
* In the picture above of a body composition DEXA scan, the brighter areas in lthe ower limb bones correlate to stronger bones.
Sports Physiotherapy & Sports Rehab Clinic, 43 Jalan Merah Saga #01-70 (278115). Contact us at 64751218
Questions Or Ideas?
Sports Solutions Running Club
What Better Than To Run With A Physiotherapist? Learn Pain Free Running Techniques. We start at 43 Jalan Merah Saga every Thursday at 630pm. Call us at 64751218 to let us know you're joining us.
About Gino Ng
Prior to joining Physio Solutions and starting up Sports Solutions, Gino Ng worked as a senior sports physiotherapist at the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) from 1999-2009. He graduated with a double masters in Musculoskeletal and Sports Physiotherapy from the University of South Australia on a SSC sponsorship.
Gino's position is perhaps most unique amongst sports physiotherapists in Singapore having seen all sides of the field as a practitioner, an athlete and as a patient.
His special interests are in the treatment of articular cartilage injuries having done research in the area whilst undergoing his postgraduate training. He specializes in treating sports injuries, as well as devising sports rehabilitation programmes after reconstructive surgeries to the shoulder, knee and ankle joints.
As a former national triathlete, Gino is a 2-time Singapore National Triathlon champion (2000-2001), National Duathlon champion (2001), 10-time winner of the National Vertical Marathon (1998-2001, 2004-2005, 2007-2010). He has also placed 4th at the 2001 Asian Duathlon Championships in Hong Kong and made several podium finishes in the Asian Cup Triathlon Series events over the years while holding down a full time job as a physiotherapist.
Partly as a result of his gruelling training regime, Gino needed 3 knee surgeries in 2002 and 2003. After which he made a comeback and placed 4th in the 2005 SEA Games triathlon event.
When not participating, Gino has kept close to sports, travelling widely with the Singapore medical teams for major overseas events such as the various SEA Games, 2002, 2006 Commonwealth Games, the 2006 Asian Games and he is the only local Singaporean physiotherapist to have been to both the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Gino is also one of only three certified Kinesio Taping Instructors (CKTI) in Singapore and teaches the Kinesio Taping Level 1, 2 & 3 courses. He is also a frequent speaker at symposiums and sporting events.
While out cycling in April 2013, Gino had an accident and fractured his skull and spine. Thankfully, he is a lot better now and is back working part time. Having neck and back pain? Well, now you know who came back from a broken skull and back.