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Youth Sports Injuries: Are Girls More Fragile Than Boys?

Youth Sports Injuries: Are Girls More Fragile Than Boys?

Youth sports injuries are common in a chiropractor’s office.  We treat kids’ athletic injuries regularly, especially in high school and summer camp favorites like volleyball, football, soccer, swimming, and tennis. Common injuries usually have to do with the elbows, neck, shoulders, and back

I read a few articles recently that posed a thought-provoking question I’d like to bring to you: Are girls more fragile than boys when it comes to sustaining sports injuries? Is there any unbiased scientific evidence to support the claim, or is it based on viewing females as the more “delicate” gender or the “weaker” sex? 

What Prevents Girls from Participating in Sports?

The Women’s Sports Foundation spent 25 years studying the drop-out rates in girls’ youth sports.  Most girls drop out of athletics by the time they’re 14, which is two times the rate of boys.  WSF has identified the key factors contributing to this startling number.

·         There are few to no opportunities to play the desired sport given lack of access to utilities or the extra cost of paying for a gym membership or trainer. Schools continue to cut back on physical education classes, so millions of girls aren’t getting any athletic activity.

·         Sports require a place to play, which often means traveling for miles to a facility, sometimes through rough neighborhoods. There is a concern for the safety and transportation of young girls to and from sports activities. 

·         Let’s talk about social norms.  Even though we’ve seen tremendous progress in gender equality, athletic females are still stigmatized regarding their sexual orientation and gender identity. This is not something preteen or teen girls want to face and will forego sports because of it.

·         Sports become “less fun” as girls get older because their facilities aren’t as nice as the boys’, and the best coaches generally focus on boys’ athletics. 

·         Finally, WSF lists a lack of positive role models as a critical factor for why girls drop out of sports more often than boys. Despite all our progress, girls are still faced with thousands of images of what society considers beautiful. They rarely align with the strong, confident female athlete every girl has inside herself. 

What Are the Proposed Gender Differences in Youth Sports?

Practitioners from Human Kinetics suggest biological differences make boys more successful and essentially better at sports than girls.  They state these differences, along with the differences in socialization of boys and girls, play a significant role in girls’ athletic performance, including frequency and intensity of the injury. Specifically, they note:

·         Boys are usually taller with longer limbs, making them faster.

·         Boys’ shoulder-width allows for more muscle on a larger girdle. 

·         Generally, boys have more muscle mass and less body fat than girls, making them stronger, faster, and less likely to sustain an injury than girls.

Two Cents from Your Favorite Female Chiropractor, Who’s Also a Competitive Athlete

There’s no ignoring the physical differences between boys and girls, but I challenge anyone who doesn’t recognize those factors have more to do with the social stigmatization of muscular women than anything else.  I’ve never seen these biological differences stop or even limit a committed female athlete.  

I have never observed differences in treating female and male athletes, nor have I considered that girls are somehow more fragile than boys.  Sports help us build on important skills like leadership, teamwork, confidence, and even compassion for others.  Girls’ athletics, especially, can teach positive body image and improved self-image.  Further, athletes in the household tend to have better communication and deeper trust with their parents.

In any case, there is no difference in how I treat youth sports injuries.  If you have a girl or boy athlete with an injury or mysterious pain, we can help you at Slovin Chiropractic Center in Norwalk.  It’s best to catch any problems before they get worse.  I can help your youth develop healthy habits that protect their bones, joints, and muscles while playing their favorite sport. 

Sources:

Women’s Sports Foundation: Factors Influencing Girls Participation in Sports

Human Kinetics:  Reasons for Gender Differences in Youth

The Female Athlete Perspective

EASY Noninvasive Pain Management Without Opioids

EASY Noninvasive Pain Management Without Opioids

Pain management is a multi-billion-dollar industry. By now, most of us have been affected by the opioid epidemic in some way.  Whether you’ve experienced it yourself, you know someone who is struggling, or you’ve watched it take the life of someone you love—opiates are a real and significant danger in our world. As chiropractors, it is our responsibility to help our community members find better ways of dealing with pain. 

Pain is a part of life.  All kinds of it creep into our lives.  Sometimes it’s physical; other times, it’s somewhere on the inside.  But in all cases, pain management is a part of human existence. There’s no escaping it, which is why it’s so important to learn better ways of helping your body heal itself.  Many natural remedies work for pain management. It just takes some investigation, experimentation, and—above all—patience!

The “Easy” Part of Natural Pain Management

Medical science has brought us a long way, but we still have work to do when teaching, encouraging, and promoting pain management in a safe self-care setting.

Your body has a natural ability to heal itself when given the right environment. That’s why I stress the importance of the simple things, like:

1.       A healthy diet

2.       Getting enough adequate sleep

3.       Exercising regularly

Maintaining a balance between diet, exercise, and sleep is worth all the effort when you can get back to doing the things you love, and you don’t have to worry about subjecting your body to dependency-causing opiates.  

My Go-To Treatment for Natural Pain Relief

Setting your body up for success with those three factors above is just the beginning.  Now, you need to manage physical pain.  I work with many people suffering from all different types of pain, such as whiplash, headaches, fibromyalgia, and long-term back pain

Every person who comes in my door gets a tailored treatment plan; however, there is one regimen that remains constant in every case. It’s not only something you can do at home, but you can do it anywhere. It’s affordable and highly effective.

Ice!  I sometimes prescribe alternating ice and heat treatments, depending on the injury, but ice is consistently on every treatment plan.  Cold therapy temporarily decreases blood flow to the injury, which is a good thing because healing cells are trying to swarm the area, which will cause painful inflammation. 

There are some things to keep in mind when using ice for natural pain management of acute pain:

·         Apply it as soon as the pain starts, after an accident, or following overexertion.

·         It works best for new injuries, but it’s helpful for flare-up pain as well.

·         If you can elevate the injured area, do so.  This controls the gravity factor of blood flow.

·         Don’t apply the ice directly to your skin. Use a wrap, towel, gel pack, or other covering to avoid skin or tissue damage.

·         Apply it for short periods, no more than 20 minutes at a time.  I often recommend 20 minutes on and 45 minutes off through the worst of it, and then as needed.

Should You Tell Your Chiropractor About Opioid Use?

At Slovin Chiropractic Center, we don’t prescribe or use opiates in our practice; however, if you are struggling with an opioid addiction and you’d like a more natural way to approach pain management, then you’ve come to the right place!  We will help you heal through what is likely to be a difficult journey.  There’s only one way for our community to eradicate the opioid problem: through compassion, education, and support. 

See the sources at the bottom of this article for addiction support centers and programs.

Sources:

Norwalk Substance Abuse Programs
The Recovery Village in Norwalk

Cleveland Clinic: Here’s How to Choose Between Using Ice or Heat for Pain

Spine-Health: Ice as pain relief, More Effective Than You Think

Medical City Healthcare: How to Know When an Injury Needs Ice or Heat

Acute Muscle Pain: When NOT to See a Chiropractor

Acute Muscle Pain: When NOT to See a Chiropractor

We’ve all been there. You’re doing your thing, and suddenly, there’s a sharp pain that makes you cringe and grab for the area. You’ve likely pulled or strained a muscle.  As chiropractors, we see many patients with muscle pain, especially in the neck and back, where strains are common. It’s hard to think straight when you’re in pain, so it’s important to know where to begin when you have acute muscle pain. 

The ONE THING You Need to Do IMMEDIATELY!

If you suspect you’ve pulled a muscle, especially in your neck or back, the first thing you want to do is take pressure off the muscle and apply ice 20 minutes every hour while awake.  Don’t put the ice pack directly on your skin. Cover it with a towel or keep a layer of clothing between it and your skin. Gel packs work well too. 

While the one thing you need to do is ice the muscle pain, there are a few other things you can do as well. 

·         Light compression with an Ace bandage may help support the muscle and reducing swelling.  If that hurts, don’t do it. 

·         Massage therapy can help loosen the muscles, increase circulation, and improve the range of motion during the healing process. 

·         Keep adjusting your position. Don’t stay in a single place for too long. Move your neck, or walk around when you’re able.  If you’re not able to move, you’ll want to see your doctor or chiropractor as soon as possible. 

Common Causes and Symptoms of Muscle Pain

The most common causes of pulls and strains in the neck or back muscles include:

·         Poor posture

·         Repetitive movements

·         Improperly lifting heavy objects

·         Trauma, collision, or fall

·         New exertional activities

Most people experience symptoms immediately, describing the muscle pain as:

·         Sharp and shooting through the area of the body near the strain

·         Aching and throbbing pain that follows shortly after

·         Worsened pain with any pressure or movement

·         Muscle spasms

·         Extreme stiffness in the back, neck, or area of muscle strain

Depending on the cause, everyone will experience the symptoms differently.  If you’re experiencing any of the following, more serious, signs, then you’ll want to speak to your doctor or chiropractor immediately:

·         Dizziness

·         Headaches

·         Tingling and numbness in the arms or legs

·         Visual disturbances

·         Feeling unstable when standing

·         Loss of bowel or bladder control

These signal something more serious is happening.

Muscle Pain Your Chiropractor CAN’T Help

I’ve been talking a lot about pulled and strained muscles in this post.  That’s what we see the most in our office in Norwalk. It’s also where I can help you the most.  However, there’s one type of muscle pain I can’t help with, and that’s a muscle tear.  Muscle tears will always need surgery because things need to be reconnected, and it will help you avoid further injuries and weakness in that muscle.

How do you know if you have a torn muscle or a strained one?  Diagnostic images can help, but the torn muscle pain isn’t always automatic, so you may be able to tell by your symptoms.  Pain from a muscle tear usually peaks a day or two later and is accompanied by other symptoms like headache, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and trouble concentrating.  When you know which one it is, you can better plan for your treatment.  It always helps to know who to call. 

If there’s a muscle strain or pull in your neck or back, call Slovin Chiropractic Center for an appointment, or you can request one here on our website.  If you think you may have a tear, talk to your doctor about getting evaluated.  You’ll want to treat that muscle pain immediately to reduce the risk of further injury. 

Sources:

Healthline: What you need to know about treating lower back muscles

Spine-Health: Neck strain causes and remedies

Medical News Today: What are the causes of unexplained muscle aches?

Is it Safe to See a Chiropractor After a Car Accident?

Is it Safe to See a Chiropractor After a Car Accident?

There are many reasons to receive chiropractic care after a personal injury, even if the pain isn’t in your back.  There is a widespread belief that chiropractors only work on the spine.  This isn’t true.  We work with the entire musculoskeletal system as it relates to the whole body. The spine is the foundation and structure of our specialty, so it naturally gets a lot of attention.

After a collision or personal injury, a specialized accident chiropractor offers a safe and natural treatment option to complement other treatments you may be undergoing.  We push neither drugs nor surgery and focus your regimen on leveraging the body’s natural ability to heal. 

Risks and Benefits of Seeing a Chiropractor After a Car Accident

I want to emphasize the importance of sticking to your treatment plan outlined by your primary care doctor and specialists.  Following protocols, as all your doctors give them is critical to healing, but it’s just as important to make sure your health team communicates with each other.  That happens through your primary care doctor. 

At Slovin Chiropractic, we work closely with local primary physicians in accident cases because it’s the best way to coordinate effective care, so it doesn’t overwhelm you or our healthcare system with duplicate, excessive, or unnecessary studies and treatments. 

Many of these adverse effects happen when patients don’t follow treatment recommendations. We’ve seen people years after their accident, still fighting the same injuries that would have been resolved had they followed the plan.  Chiropractic care is both safe and effective and it takes commitment to get through the healing process. 

Chiropractic care offers benefits like:

·         Being able to identify the not-so-obvious injuries

·         Reduced inflammation

·         Minimized pain without drugs

·         Greater mobility or range of motion

·         Reduced scar tissue

·         No invasive procedures

·         Chiropractic care helps reduce the risk of future injuries

Reasons to See the Chiropractor After a Car Accident

Chiropractors can help treat a variety of problems following a car accident, including:

·         Whiplash

·         Neck or back pain from herniated discs

·         Headaches

·         Sciatica

·         Muscle, ligament, or joint pain

·         Sleep problems

·         Facet joint injuries

There are a few myths about chiropractors out there, but you need providers who are well-versed in whole-body treatments when it comes to an accident injury.  At Slovin Chiropractic Center in Norwalk, we’ve been successfully treating personal injury patients for two decades. A lot of that has to do with our communication and commitment to patients. 

Whether your accident injury is new or happened years ago, if you have pain, we can help. Let’s get you going on your natural healing journey. 

Sources:

Benefits of chiropractic care after an accident

Do I Need to See a Chiropractor After a Car Accident?

Chiropractic care can be crucial after an auto accident

Side Effects and Benefits of Chiropractic Care After a Car Accident

Body Pain & Aches: Is Your Food Killing You?

Body Pain & Aches: Is Your Food Killing You? 

You know the saying: “You are what you eat.” What if food is responsible for the total body pain and random joint, bone, and muscle aches you experience?

In the Scientific American article, Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious, the authors reported on a landmark study from the University of Texas that showed the fruit and vegetables of today, are not the same as what our parents and grandparents ate when they were kids. And it’s only getting worse.

Researchers from the study surveyed more than 40 different fruits and vegetables and found they all contained significantly lower levels of vitamin C, B12, iron, protein, calcium, and phosphorus. And the depletion isn’t happening in just fruits and vegetables either. Research from early 2018 published in Science Advances found nutrient loss in popular grains, too.

According to the Texas study, “Efforts to breed new varieties of crops that provide greater yield, pest resistance, and climate adaptability have allowed crops to grow bigger and more rapidly, but their ability to manufacture or uptake nutrients has not kept pace with their rapid growth.”  Humans need balanced nutrition, so is this essential nutrient depletion in our food killing us slowly and painfully?

The Health Dangers of Non-nutritious Food

Our supermarkets are stocked with preservatives, chemicals, and food-like products. These foreign substances can trigger serious health problems like obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, headaches, lower immunity, and a laundry list of others.

Food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances are on the rise. Leaky gut syndrome is a significant cause of chronic inflammation, and irritable bowel syndrome cases are steadily rising, affecting 7-10% of the global population. These conditions are directly related to the type and nutritional value of the food you eat. Improper nutrition makes it difficult for your body to recover from the assault on your digestive tract.

The BIG Picture Impact of Food Allergies and Sensitivities

Research shows that approximately 3.6% of Americans have a food allergy or sensitivity, and that number continues to climb. Food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances wage a chemical war on the body, leading to conditions like fibromyalgia and generalized back and body pain. The damage isn’t always immediately apparent either. Food-related symptoms are rarely consistent.

A healthy digestive system is critical to good physical and mental health. It’s responsible for breaking down and distributing food and nutrients.  Something as seemingly harmless as a few pieces of chocolate can lead to an immunologic, inflammatory, or toxic response, with symptoms like:

·         Headache

·         Muscle aches and joint pain

·         Diarrhea

·         Colitis

·         Asthma

·         Gout

·         Fibromyalgia

·         Generalized or chronic pain syndromes

·         Edema

·         Depression and anxiety

The food you eat matters more than anything else when it comes to good physical and mental health. 

Tips for Better Food Choices

Whether you’re going grocery shopping or out to eat, here are a few things to consider. These will help you focus on getting pain-fighting foods:

·         If you MUST eat fast food, choose a grilled chicken salad or something that’s not loaded with empty calories.

·         Be creative with home cooking so when you go out, you can eat a salad instead of something fried and smothered in butter.

·         Stay away from artificial sugars and sweeteners.

·         Buy organic every time you can. Most pesticides can’t be washed away.

·         Try the elimination diet to identify your food triggers.

See sources at the end of this article to learn more about these tips. 

At Slovin Chiropractic Center, we have over two decades of experience dealing with food-related problems that cause bone, joint, muscle, and total body pains. Pain isn’t easy to treat, but it always starts at home, inside your body and mind. We can help you find your way back to good health.  We’re accepting new appointments at our Norwalk office, and we’re available for telehealth consultations. 

Sources

Environmental Working Group: Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Shopper’s Guide

Healthline: How to do an elimination diet

National University of Natural Medicine: Addressing Chronic Inflammation

National Institutes of Health: The Effects of Ketogenic Diets on Inflammation and Chronic Pain

This presentation contains images that were used under a Creative Commons License. Click here to see the full list of images and attributions: https://link.attribute.to/cc/2063572

Accident-Caused Whiplash Injury?

7 Behaviors to Stop NOW

If you’ve ever been in an auto accident or know someone who has, you’re likely familiar with the severe symptoms of a whiplash injury. These can show up immediately to several days after the crash and include problems like:

·         Neck pain and stiffness

·         A neck injury in the tissues or muscles

·         Reduced range of motion in the neck

·         Sudden, sharp pains with neck movement

·         Shoulder, upper back, and arm pain, tenderness, or tingling

·         Dizziness

·         Fatigue

·         Headaches usually starting at the base of the skull

Depending on the extent and duration of the whiplash injury, you may also experience systemic symptoms, like:

·         Irritability

·         Depression

·         Sleep disturbances

·         Difficulty with focus, concentration, and memory

·         Tinnitus

·         Blurry vision

What to Know About Treating a Whiplash Injury

An automobile accident isn’t the only way to get a whiplash injury. Other causes include physical abuse or assault and contact sports, like football and even a rollercoaster ride.

We generally see whiplash symptoms within the first few hours of an accident, but they could also take weeks to manifest. Talk to a chiropractor after any event that forces your neck to extend and flex unnaturally.  It’s the best way to avoid long-term chronic pain issues resulting from an untreated or poorly treated whiplash injury. 

What the Science Says About Whiplash Treatments

In 2002, research published in the Emergency Medicine Journal reported several additions to whiplash treatment that have proven helpful in preventing long-term pain, including:

·         Education

·         Reassurance

·         More judicious use of therapy

·         Exercises

The researchers also provided several practical tips for achieving a better outcome in whiplash and accident recovery. Chiropractors know what works and what doesn’t for neck pain; several behaviors won’t work, too. 

Behaviors to Stop RIGHT NOW if You have Whiplash-Related Pain

Stop forcing movement

If moving your neck or head causes significant pain, stop trying to push it so much and seek immediate attention. A neck brace can help you immobilize the neck while you and your chiropractor work towards a physical healing plan.

Stop avoiding the doctor or missing visits

The patient-doctor relationship is a two-way street. Make and keep appointments on a regular schedule. Write down questions before you go and be a productive participant in your health care. If you need support or a new chiropractic provider who will listen to understand, my husband and I can help at Slovin Chiropractic Center.

Stop downplaying symptoms

If anything, exaggerate a little to help your doctor understand your pain. Don’t downplay. Tell us even if you’re experiencing seemingly unrelated symptoms like:

·         Dizzy spells

·         Imbalance

·         Blurry vision

·         Anxiety or depression (new or exacerbated)

Keep an open line of communication with your doctor so you can address issues in a positive, productive way.

Stop pessimistic thoughts

Focusing on the pain makes it more intense. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with symptom amplification, given all the attention to the pain in a whiplash injury case. Judges, jurors, lawyers, and doctors will have you talk about these problems a lot. Support your mental health by looking for the positives and celebrating minor victories.  Work with a chiropractor who will mark them with you. 

Stop doing home programs without chiropractic support

Google and YouTube are magic, but they’re not personalized medicine. You could hurt yourself by performing exercises or taking unknown supplements during recovery. Well-meaning people often give bad advice for back and neck pain on the internet. Instead, talk to a whiplash specialist, like us before starting an exercise routine. Otherwise, you risk making it worse. 

Stop slouching

Bad posture can make the pain much worse and lengthen your time in recovery. It’s tempting to try to move or position your body in a way that relieves pain, but if it’s not mechanically sound, you may end up making it worse.

Stop sitting so much

Sitting is the new smoking and just as unhealthy. Stand up and switch positions frequently to improve circulation. Movement gives your healing hormones and cells an unobstructed path to and from pain areas.

There’s a lot to love in Norwalk—plenty of activities to enjoy. We understand the urgency of recovering from whiplash to get back to doing what you love. Whether it’s jogging on the beach, shredding pow, pushing your endurance, or some other activity, our power team at Slovin Chiropractic Center can help you find your way back to it. 

Sources:

Emergency Medicine Journal: Prevention of chronic pain after whiplash

Mayo Clinic: Whiplash

VeryWell Health: How to Recover from Whiplash Injury