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Exercise is a foundational part of maintaining good physical and mental health. Regular physical activity can effectively slow down the aging process by enhancing muscle and joint function, keeping our bones strong, and decreasing the risk of serious health conditions like cardiovascular disease. However, as we age the risk of exercise-related injuries increases. Changes that occur in our musculoskeletal system as we age can make us vulnerable to some of the most common injuries related to exercise. To help keep you on your feet and feeling good, here are a few tips for baby boomers trying to avoid injury-related ailments.

Pins and Needles What to Do about Pinched NervesWarm Up

Warming up before your exercise is crucial. Cold muscles are naturally more prone to injuries like pulls, tears, and strains. Light cardio activities like leg lifts, toe taps, stationary cycling, and jogging or walking in place can be a great way to ease your body into your workout. While stretching is important, remember not to stretch until your muscles are warmed up, as this can also lead to potential injury.

Cool Down

Cooling down after your exercise is just as important as warming up. Performing some light stretching after exercising can help improve your flexibility and better prepare your body for the next time you exercise. Cooling down can also help your body recover from your workout.

Spread Out Your Weekly Exercise

You are far better off getting a smaller amount of exercise every day than compressing a week’s worth of exercise into a weekend. We recommend getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily. If you can’t squeeze this into your schedule, try breaking your activity into 10-minute blocks. This activity can take the form of everyday tasks like walking the dog, working outdoors, playing with your kids, and more.

Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard

As we age, it’s normal for our bodies to lose some flexibility. This means some physical activities or sports can be harder on our bodies than they were years ago. It’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself beyond your physical limitations to prevent potential injuries.

It’s great to stay active as you age, but it’s important to be smart about your exercise regimen and adjust it as need be. Following these tips can’t guarantee that you’ll stay injury-free. They can however reduce your chances of getting hurt before or after your workout. Taking the necessary precautions and being mindful of our body’s needs can go a long way towards remaining active for many more years to come. To see how we can help at your peak performance level, contact Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ today. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips, news, and more.

At some point or another, we have all experienced that familiar “pins-and-needles” feeling that signals a hand or a foot is “falling asleep.”  Few people, however, take the time to ask themselves what this really means.  In most cases, this feeling is the result of a “pinched nerve.” Although a pinched nerve is usually only a mild annoyance that can be massaged away, it can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious problem.  If you are experiencing the numbness, pain, or weakness that can result from a pinched nerve it may be a good idea to come in to the Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ so we can assess the cause of your discomfort.  Our Certified Synergy doctors will be able to give you a complete diagnosis and perform therapeutic techniques that can prevent further damage and may even help keep the issue from recurring in the future.

Pins and Needles What to Do about Pinched Nerves

Most of the pinched nerves that we deal with at the Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ are the result of repetitive stress injuries.  When we repeat even small motions over and over again, the repeated stress can cause microscopic tears in muscles, tendons, and ligaments, causing the affected tissues to become swollen.  This inflammation effectively squeezes the nerves against nearby bones, resulting in conditions like tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome.   Pinched nerves are also very common in the neck and back, where spinal nerves travel through narrow spaces between the individual vertebrae.  Flat, round “cushions” called intervertebral discs act as shock absorbers between each vertebra in your spine.  As we age and these disks wear out, the distance between the vertebrae shrinks, pinching the nerves between them.  This condition, called a herniated disk, may cause neck or low back pain, depending upon where the nerves are being compressed.  In some cases it may even cause pain that radiates from the neck into the shoulder and arm (cervical radiculopathy) or pain that radiates into the leg and foot (lumbar radiculopathy or sciatic nerve pain).

Regardless of the location involved, compressed nerves are typically best dealt with using massage and chiropractic adjustment. In many cases, our Synergy trained chiropractors and massage therapists will use specifically targeted techniques, like trigger point therapy or foam rolling, depending on the needs of the patient.  These therapies not only help improve circulation while reducing inflammation, but also help bring the muscles and bones into proper alignment, potentially relieving the pressure on the nerves.

If left untreated, the damage from a pinched nerve may cause long-lasting problems, and the earlier you get a diagnosis and treatment for nerve compression, the more quickly you’ll find relief.  If you are concerned that you may have a pinched nerve, or if you are interested in discussing any of the other conditions that we can treat, please contact us today at (404) 352-8900.  When you come in for a consultation, our Synergy™ trained chiropractors and massage therapists can work with you to find the ideal treatment approach for your injury.  Don’t forget to follow us on social media for the latest news and information about sports medicine and chiropractic care in Atlanta.

When most people hear our name, Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™, they assume we primarily treat athletes to help them heal from sports injuries and optimize their performance. Based on this, the average person assumes that a sports medicine practice wouldn’t be helpful for them. While that might be true at some practices, Dr. Michael Hatrak and the rest of our team at Synergy offers therapies and treatments that can help anyone from a senior citizen to a professional athlete, from an active child to an adult with a desk job.

How Does Poor Posture Affect Your HealthHow can sports medicine help non-athletes?

Whether they’re a Doctor of Chiropractic, a massage therapist, or another type of medical professional, someone who practices sports medicine needs to have a thorough understanding of the body’s mechanics. They have in-depth knowledge of muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and everything in between, and they know how all these tissues work together as your body moves. Irritation and injury in these types of soft tissue don’t just affect athletes – they’re an extremely common cause of pain (like chronic back pain and neck pain). Many people also have pain or limited mobility due to old injuries that never healed properly, just like athletes do. Whether they’re helping an athlete knock down his/her 40-meter time or relieving a chronically stiff lower back, the knowledge base is the same.

What therapies are most common for non-athletes?

Sports medicine is actually a collection of various techniques that are used to address mechanical issues in the body. Our approach at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ is based on Dr. Hatrak’s innovative techniques. We begin by investigating the root cause of each patient’s issues, then treating the cause rather than just the symptoms. For that reason, every patient’s course of treatment is unique, but here’s a look at some of the most common ones we use for non-athletes:

  • Synergy Release Therapy

Our signature treatment is called Synergy Release Therapy, or SRT. SRT looks at the seemingly small misalignments and dysfunctions in our body that put too much strain on certain tissues or areas, eventually causing an injury. The specialized therapy identifies these issues and resolves them before treating the symptoms or injuries they’ve caused, so patients get long-term relief and are less likely to re-injure the area.

  • Microcurrents

Microcurrent therapy sends tiny electrical currents into targeted tissue. While the treatments aren’t painful because they’re acting on a cellular level, they aid in healing and allow your cells to accept nutrients more readily, among other benefits. Our experienced providers can customize your treatments specifically for the type of tissue and the concern you’re trying to treat, like inflammation or scar tissue.

  • Trigger Point Therapy

The human body is a fascinatingly connected maze, and trigger points are a perfect representation of this. When certain areas of muscles are overworked or injured, they can form “trigger points” in the connective tissue that can cause pain or stiffness in a wholly different area of the body. In these cases, the area where you have symptoms might not actually be the area that needs treatment. Trigger Point Therapy uses this knowledge to massage and repair specific trigger points in your body based on your particular issues.

  • Orthotics

Seemingly small imbalances in the way your foot is structured can cause damage to other areas of your body over time, especially if you’re very active. Orthotics are customized sole inserts that compensate for these imbalances and stabilize your foot and ankle. This can prevent re-injury (or initial injury if you find the problem early enough).

  • Rapid Release Therapy (RRT)

Rapid Release Therapy aims to break up internal scar tissue that forms from old injuries (even injuries you didn’t notice at the time). But instead of using manual massage, RRT breaks up the scar tissue with a non-invasive device that sends waves of vibration into the area. Because the scar tissue is brittle and the healthy tissue is flexible, RRT breaks down scar tissue without affecting your muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissues in the area.

  • Chiropractic Care

For many patients, an unnoticed misalignment can put unnecessary stress on the body and lead to long-term pain issues and injuries. Our Doctors of Chiropractic have a strong track record of giving patients faster, longer-lasting results.

  • Advanced Muscle Integration Technique (AMIT)

Dr. Hatrak has been performing this innovative therapy for over ten years. The advanced technique involves assessing individual muscles to identify injury-causing and stress-causing dysfunctions. Dr. Hatrak then treats these specific issues to relieve patients’ existing pain while reducing their risk of future injury.

As honored as our experienced, highly-trained providers have been to work with many professional athletes over the years, we put our skills to use far beyond stadiums and arenas as well. Pain, limited movement, or poor posture affects nearly all of us at some point in our lives, but there are countless proven treatments at your disposal and the list above includes just a few. To find out what we can do to help you feel better and move better, schedule a diagnostic exam at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™. For more sports wellness tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

A hamstring strain, also known as pulled hamstring, is one of the most common injuries associated with athletic activity. Although they often occur in athletes, a hamstring strain can happen to anyone who is physically active. A hamstring is a grouping of three muscles that run along the back of your thigh. They allow the legs to bend at the knee. During a hamstring strain, one or more of these muscles are stretched beyond their capacity or are challenged with a sudden burst of movement.

Everything You Need to Know About Hamstring StrainsHamstring strains occur frequently during sports and activities that require sprinting like track, soccer, football, and water sports. They can also result from awkward or incorrect stretching. Depending on their severity, a hamstring strain can be a pull, a partial tear, or a complete tear. A grade 1 hamstring strain is the mildest and can usually be healed simply. A grade 3 hamstring strain is a full thickness tear, which can be complete or half the muscle, that will require significant time for recovery. In the most severe cases, the tendon can tear completely away from the bone.

The symptoms you experience during a hamstring strain will depend on the severity of your strain. Grade 1 hamstring strains may not hurt too much, whereas grade 3 strains can be agonizing, making walking or standing nearly impossible. Other notable hamstring strain symptoms include a snapping or popping sensation in the hamstring area, pain in the thigh or lower buttock area when walking or bending, as well as tenderness or bruising around the hamstrings.

Preventing a hamstring strain can be easier than fully healing from one. We recommend following these tips to help reduce your chances of developing a hamstring strain:

  • •   Always warm up properly before any intense athletic activity like running or playing sports.
  • •   Perform static stretching after (instead of before) your workout to avoid overextending the hamstring muscles.
  • •   Gradually increase the intensity of your physical activity to prevent potentially harmful overexertion.
  • •   Stop exercising immediately if you begin to feel pain in your hamstring area.

 

If you do experience a hamstring strain, the professionals at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ can help. We will begin with a full diagnostic exam to find the root cause of your pain and then help develop a personalized treatment plan for your specific needs that will help get you back on your feet and feeling better than ever. For more information or to schedule an in-person consultation, please contact Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ today or follow us on social media.

At Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ our certified chiropractors and massage therapists understand that many different conditions can cause pain and discomfort or impair your daily activities.  While the causes of conditions like ankle sprains, ACL tears, or lower back pain are usually obvious, other injuries may be much more difficult to identify.  Some of the most common of these “hard-to-diagnose” issues are repetitive stress injuries.  Although patients often dismiss them as minor annoyances, these injuries are actually America’s most common and costly occupational health problem.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), repetitive stress injuries affect hundreds of thousands of workers and cost more than $20 billion a year in workers’ compensation claims and lost productivity.

What Are Repetitive Stress InjuriesMost forms of injury result from a single traumatic event, but repetitive stress injuries are different because they develop gradually over time.  When muscles, tendons, and ligaments are subjected to stress, they suffer damage on a microscopic level.  Normally, this damage heals and the cells grow back even stronger, which is why “feeling the burn” is a sign that your workout is working.  However, if the muscles are forced to repeat the same motions over the course of several days or weeks, the damage that they suffer never has a chance to fully heal.  If the rate of injury is greater than the rate of recovery, the damage slowly compounds over time, leading to pain, stiffness, and diminished strength.

Repetitive stress often leads to injuries to the extremities, such as the wrists and elbows or the ankles and knees.  However they can actually affect nearly any part of the body.  Depending on the areas that are being overused, some of the more common repetitive stress injuries can include:

  • •    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (wrists)
  • •    Golfer’s or Tennis Elbow (elbows)
  • •    Rotator Cuff Tendonitis (shoulders)
  • •    Hip Bursitis (hips/lower back)
  • •    Shin Splints (shins/lower legs)
  • •    Achilles Tendonitis (ankles or calves)

 

Treatment for repetitive stress injuries generally involves therapies that reduce inflammation, such as Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Kinesiology Taping, or Trigger Point Therapy.  However, the exact course of treatment will always depend on the specific area involved and the patient’s individual medical needs.  Our certified Synergy Massage Therapists and Rehabilitation Specialists can also recommend simple corrections in posture and grip that will give the tissues an opportunity to rest and heal naturally.

Overuse Syndrome is extremely common, but it doesn’t have to stand in the way of an active and pain-free life.  If you would like more information about repetitive stress injuries, or about any of the ways that our expert chiropractors and massage therapists can help you, please contact the Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ today at (404) 352-8900.  Don’t forget to follow us on social media for the latest news and information about sports medicine and chiropractic care in Atlanta.

No one wants to be in pain. Especially nagging foot and leg pain that can affect basic daily activities like walking or standing. Chronic foot and leg pain doesn’t always result from a single physical trauma or injury. Even something minor like a slight imbalance in your walk can create additional stress for your lower limbs and increase your risk of pain and injury over time. In some cases, physiotherapy can help alleviate pain and treat common injuries to the feet and legs. However, sometimes orthotics are needed.

Ask the Experts How Can Orthotics Help

Orthotic devices are inserted into the shoe to help treat a wide variety of foot issues. They can bring balance to muscles and tendons by stabilizing the ankles, knees, and hips in their proper position. Orthotics can be used to treat ailments of the foot and ankle and relieve chronic pain in these areas. They work by realigning the structure of the foot to make movements more mechanically sound and efficient. To help explain how they can help, the experts at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute have answered some common questions about orthotics.

Who Can Benefit from Using Orthotics?

Orthotics can help people who suffer from many of the most common foot and ankle issues including bunions, plantar fasciitis, corns, calluses, Achilles tendonitis, forefoot pain and more. They can also be used to aid in rehabilitation for patients who have experienced ligament injuries to the knee and other more serious injuries.

Are Orthotics Only Meant to Treat Foot and Leg Issues?

Not necessarily. Our bodies are complex machines and there is a connection between how certain parts operate. Having overpronated feet (or flat feet) can cause the knees to turn inward, a condition commonly referred to as knock-knees. This abnormal knee placement can shift the angle where the thigh bone meets the pelvis, resulting in unsteady hip posture and spinal destabilization. Over time, walking and standing with your feet, legs, hips, and spine out of alignment can contribute to back pain. For some people, orthotics can help reduce this back pain by stabilizing the foot and curtail this domino effect before it begins.

Would You Recommend Custom Orthotics or the Type Available in Stores?

Although custom orthotic devices can be more expensive than ones purchased off-the-shelf, they typically last much longer and are able to better-correct the patient’s specific issue. In some cases, an over-the-counter orthotic is still very effective, especially when combined with a stretching and exercise regimen.

Using orthotics can be an excellent way to reduce pain and help rehabilitate after an injury, but it’s important to make sure to find the right kind of orthotic for your unique needs. Our experts will work with you to determine the right orthotic depending on your issues and level of physical activity. For more information on Orthotics or to schedule an appointment, please contact Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ for more tips, news, and more.

At Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™, our focus is on helping our patients’ bodies function better and with less pain. We work with a wide range of people, from kids to senior citizens and from professional athletes to average adults trying to be active. One of the most common issues for nearly all of these groups is lower back pain. This type of pain can actually come from a number of causes, but here are the most common:

The Most Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

Disc Problems

Your spine is basically a stack of bones called vertebrae, and each bone is separated by a soft, fluid-filled sac called a disc. Discs keep the bones from painfully rubbing against each other. Unfortunately, there’s a lot that can go wrong with the discs. Degenerative disc disease causes these discs to wear away with age. Discs can also become injured or torn. In some patients, excessive pressure over time can cause a disc to rupture or herniate. Any of these problems can result in significant back pain.

Spinal Misalignment

Your vertebrae can shift, and it’s common for your spine to become misaligned. This can lead to back pain when nerves are being irritated. In fact, spinal alignment is one of the top reasons for chiropractic care.

Muscle Strain

A muscle strain occurs when the muscle is pulled too far and it tears. This can happen to any muscle, but back muscle strains are particularly common. These injuries can occur after one specific incident, like lifting a heavy object unsafely, falling, or twisting in a certain way. But a strain can also happen gradually over time from poor posture or spending time in uncomfortable positions.

Ligament Sprain

A sprain is essentially the ligament version of a strain – it happens when a ligament is pulled or torn. Many of the same actions that cause strains can also cause a sprain, but it’s important to realize that there is a difference between strains and sprains.

Vertebral Fractures

When you think of someone “breaking their back,” you think of an immediately obvious injury, but it’s not always this clear. Subtle fractures can happen, especially to people with weakened bones from osteoporosis. Pressure can also build up in the back over time to cause compression fractures, especially in the lower back.

Spinal Stenosis

In patients with spinal stenosis, the space around the spinal cord becomes narrower. This puts pressure on the nerves in the area, causing back pain. This is somewhat common in patients who develop bone spurs from osteoarthritis.

How to Treat Lower Back Pain

Every case of back pain is unique. Fortunately, that’s our specialty at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ – identifying and treating the root cause of each patient’s pain. We start with a comprehensive diagnostic exam and then develop an approach specifically tailored to you. For most of our patients, our unique Synergy Release Therapy is combined with therapies like chiropractic care, therapeutic massage, microcurrent treatments, hyperbaric chamber sessions, etc.

The bottom line is that for back pain, you need customized care to see prompt, lasting results. To get to the bottom of your lower back pain or other concerns, call us to schedule an appointment. For more health tips and information about the therapies we provide, follow Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google+.

Can Chiropractic Care Help with MigrainesFor people who suffer from recurrent migraines, the quest for relief can be a long and frustrating one. Medications don’t always work as expected, and many patients would rather avoid the side effects and risks of prescription pain pills. At Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™, we spend every day with patients who want to finally address the root cause of their pain. If you’re looking for an alternative or a complement to your migraine medication, our customized chiropractic care may be able to help.

Spinal Manipulation for Migraines with Synergy Release Therapy

There is still some medical mystery behind migraines. They have several potential causes and triggers, and researchers aren’t entirely sure what determines this and why some people get migraines while others don’t. This is why it’s so difficult to nail down a specific treatment regimen – because different strategies work for different patients. But it’s been well-documented that tension and misalignment in the neck and back can cause headaches, and it’s true for migraines as well. Spinal manipulation combined with our specialized Synergy Release Therapy or other techniques can relieve tension, re-align the bones and tissues, and allow the blood vessels to function better for a reduction in migraine symptoms.

Aftercare Help for Migraines

On top of in-office spinal manipulation, doctors of chiropractic like our providers at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute can help you maintain your results at home. Depending on the approach that works best for you, we can teach you exercises, stretches, treatments, and techniques you can do at home to reduce your migraines. For example, if poor posture is playing a role in your migraines, we can help you practice better posture as well.

Migraines are frustrating and intrusive, interfering with your ability to live life to the fullest. If you’re still looking for a better way to fight them, chiropractic care may be the answer. At Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™, our philosophy is to treat the root cause of our patients’ pain, not the symptoms. To find out if we can help you with your migraines, other headaches, aches and pains, or athletic performance, schedule a diagnostic exam with Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ as well for more health tips.

This time of year, it seems like everybody is making New Year’s resolutions. And while making a resolution can be simple, sticking to it and achieving it can often be quite difficult for many people. Especially when it comes to resolutions involving physical fitness and wellness. That’s why the professionals at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ are here to offer a few helpful tips for how to achieve your fitness goals in the New Year.

3 Tips to Help Achieve Your Fitness Goals in the New Year

Set Realistic Goals

We understand that the spirit behind setting your resolution is to make positive changes to fitness level and overall health. It’s only natural for many people to establish big, ambitious goals for themselves. But there is value in knowing yourself and being realistic when you are starting out. So be honest with yourself and use that information to help establish goals that are attainable and realistic, that will also help improve your level of performance.

Take it Slow When Starting Out

Instead of trying to work your way into peak physical condition all at once, think of your resolution as a long-term commitment to a healthier lifestyle. If you try to do too much too fast, you may risk burning yourself out or increasing your risk of injury. So take it easy when you are in the beginning stages of your new fitness regimen. For example, start with low-to-moderate intensity workouts and slowly build towards more intense activity. Just because you know other people who train six days a week doesn’t mean you have to immediately jump to that level yourself.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun

Working out is supposed to be a relief from your daily stress, not a cause for more of it. Unfortunately, many people can get easily discouraged and give up if they put too much pressure on themselves. So try to relax and focus on the joys of your physical activity instead of torturing yourself over it. Make a point of working out with a friend or commit to joining a class at your gym. If the gym atmosphere isn’t for you, find a sport or any activity that makes exercise more fun. It can be as simple as walking around your neighborhood. Even small activity is better for your health than being stagnant. Find something that will help make working out feel less like work.

Hopefully these tips will help you come closer to fulfilling your New Year’s resolutions and avoid getting distressed. If you are ever in need of any additional guidance and expertise, you can always call on the professionals at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™. Our experts will work with you to help you reach your true peak level of athletic performance. For more information or to schedule an in-person consultation, please contact Synergy Sports Wellness Institute today or follow us on social media.