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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.

Most people associate sports medicine with professional athletes, but at the Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ in Atlanta we are proud to be able to help patients of all ability and activity levels. Even though we are well known for helping to improve the performance of some of the world’s most elite athletes, fewer are aware that we treat some of the most common complaints as well. For example, many of our patients are all too familiar with the sharp, wrenching pain of “throwing your back out.” Even relatively innocuous activity, like gardening or shoveling or just bending over to pick up a pencil, can potentially send a patient to the floor in agony. Why does this happen? What are we really saying when we talk about “throwing the back out?” Proper treatment begins with a deeper understanding of the back and spine in order to evaluate what is really going on.

throwing-your-back-outThe spine is the central support for the entire body. It bears the weight of the head, torso, and arms while allowing the body to move and bend in almost any direction. The adult spinal column itself is composed of 26 separate bones, called vertebrae, which surround and protect a central spinal cord that connects the brain to all of the various nerves in the body. These individual vertebrae are stacked on top of one another and are separated by elastic disks of tissue that act as shock absorbers. Back pain can be caused by a number of different issues, including muscle spasm or strain. However, what we commonly call “throwing the back out” is most likely the result of one of these disks becoming pinched or displaced.

The individual disks between the vertebrae are not unlike pieces of candy with hard outer shells and creamy centers. The outer portion, or annulus, which is firmly attached to the vertebrae both above and below the disk, is made up of a network of tough, crosshatched fibers that allow it to hold its shape. Inside this shell is the nucleus pulposis, a soft, gelatin-like filling that provides cushioning while evenly supporting the weight of the body. As we grow older, time and stress can cause small cracks or tears to develop in the outer ring. If one of these tears grows large enough, the disk can rupture, allowing the inner filling to squeeze out. This is called a herniated disk. The escaping material presses against the spinal nerves, causing intense pain or even numbness and weakness in the lower extremities. A herniated disk can be caused by a sudden load or violent jerk, but is more often the result of a slow accumulation of minor injuries over time, so the onset of pain can be sudden and unexpected.

In some extreme cases, spinal surgery may be necessary in order to repair a herniated disk. However, about 80% of patients can find relief without surgery, by pursuing a conservative treatment regimen consisting of rest, pain and anti-inflammatory medication, therapeutic massage, and chiropractic therapy. Our proprietary Synergy ™ Release Technique goes beyond simple manipulation by incorporating advanced therapeutic massage, stretching, and muscle activation techniques to restore balance to the body and achieve real, long-term results.

Back pain is a serious issue and needs to be carefully evaluated and diagnosed. At the Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™, our unique evaluation process uses a variety of metrics to analyze and diagnose the underlying biomechanical causes of a patient’s concern so that we can determine the treatment approach that is right for you. If you would like more information about the various services that we offer, or would like to schedule an appointment with any of our chiropractors or massage therapists, please contact us today. Don’t forget to follow us on social media for the latest news and information sports medicine and chiropractic care in Atlanta.

How Can Sports Medicine and Chiropractic Care Help Fight the Opioid CrisisYou can hardly turn on the news or click onto a news site without seeing something about the opioid crisis in the US. It’s an important problem for the public to understand. Not only are opioids being abused at soaring levels, but the old adage “just say no” doesn’t seem to work either. So many people with new opioid addictions get started with a very justified prescription for pain management. But their body becomes dependent on the medication and they develop an addiction. According to a 2015 study by the US Department of Health and Human Services, 12.5 million people misused prescription opioids in that year alone, leading to over 15,000 deaths from overdosing on commonly prescribed opioids.

As disheartening as those numbers are, there is hope. More and more medical professionals are turning toward non-drug treatments for patients in pain. Just this year, the American College of Physicians (or ACP) updated its guidelines for lower back pain in a similar way as well. The ACP now recommends that doctors start with treatments like spinal manipulation, massage therapy, heat therapy, and acupuncture. If these treatments don’t offer enough relief, the ACP recommends mild medications like ibuprofen or muscle relaxants, making prescription pain medicine a last resort.

So what does all this have to do with Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™? Drug-free pain relief is the core of what we do. Our primary strategy is an advanced treatment called Synergy Release Therapy. This method focuses on finding the small stresses and misalignments that lead to larger injuries over time and correcting them. We supplement Synergy Release Therapy (or SRT) with therapies like chiropractic care, massage therapy, microcurrent treatments, and more. It’s a customized approach that lets us get to the root cause of our patients’ pain and treat the real problem, not the symptoms.

The opioid addiction levels in our country are astounding, but the battle isn’t over. There are concrete steps you can take to help. If you know someone who struggles with opioid addiction, listen to them and help them get the treatment they need for both their addiction and their original pain. If you know someone who is struggling with debilitating pain and doesn’t want to rely on prescription drugs the rest of their lives, explore non-drug pain management options before starting prescription pain medication.

To get started with treating your pain in a healthy, drug-free way, schedule a diagnostic exam at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™. For more health tips and information about our many treatment options, explore our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+.

At the Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ we have a great deal of experience treating a wide variety of common sports injuries, but we also know that health-related issues can affect those who lead more sedentary lifestyles as well.  We know that the human body functions most efficiently when it is standing upright with its weight evenly distributed between the feet and the hips balanced directly under the spine.  Unfortunately, most people today spend the majority of their days sitting behind a desk.  This time spent in a seated posture can cause a number of problems across the entire musculoskeletal system and may result in chronic pain or discomfort.  In fact, according to a 2017 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, greater total time spent sitting is actually associated with a higher overall risk of premature death.

Prolonged Sitting Can Cause a Variety of Health Issues

When a person is seated, the pelvis, spine, shoulders, legs, and feet are no longer directly engaged in maintaining the body’s posture.  The muscles of the hips and spine do not have an opportunity to stretch and extend.  Eventually, those muscles become shortened and compressed to the point that secondary muscles are required to initiate standing movements.  This can, in turn, lead to overuse of those secondary muscles, potentially leading to back, hip, knee and foot pain.  Since the feet do not have to bear the weight of the body or deal with ground reaction forces when the body is seated, their system of arches slowly weakens.  The feet can become less able to accept the body’s weight upon standing, causing fallen arches that may require orthotics to correct.

Long periods of time in a seated posture can cause upper body problems as well.  When a person is working in front of a computer or driving a car, for example, the arms and hands are engaged in front of the torso.  This causes the shoulders to round forward and the spine to flex, restricting the movement of the muscles and connective tissue in the torso.  This can potentially result in shoulder injuries, like damage to the rotator cuff or shoulder impingement.  The neck and head must also adjust by arching upward, which can lead to further imbalances, pain and dysfunction.

Moreover, lack of movement can be particularly damaging to the spine.  The disks of cartilage that act as shock absorbers between the individual vertebrae that make up the spinal column do not have an independent blood supply.  Instead, they work like sponges, absorbing and expelling blood as they move.  While sitting, the sustained contraction of the muscles that extend the spine reduces the nutrition that reaches the disks and increases the pressure between the disks themselves.  This may lead to a herniated disk or chronic lower back pain.

Fortunately, no matter what your age or activity level might be, the expert chiropractors and massage therapists at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute are here to help.  If you feel as though you may be suffering because of the time that you spend seated, or If you would like to learn more about the many other services that we offer, please give us a call to schedule a chiropractic or rehabilitation appointment.  Be sure to follow us on social media for the latest news and updates as well.