It is not just pro-athletes who sustain sports injuries. Amateur athletes and weekend warriors alike can pull muscles, strain tendons and ligaments, and so on. The good news is that there are a range of noninvasive options for treating these injuries. Unless an injury is considered major, treatments are fairly easy and normally lead to a full and complete recovery.
Experts say that the key to maximizing noninvasive treatment options is twofold. First, evaluation and treatment should be sought right away. The sooner treatment begins, the more effective it will be. The second key is consistency to treatment recommendations. Patients should follow instructions to the letter. They should continue treatments until complete.
With all of that said, a list of common noninvasive treatment options for sports injuries is found below. You may have access to all or some of them in your local area.
1. Low Impact Exercise
Sports medicine doctors are very receptive to the idea of prescribing low impact exercise to help recover from minor injuries. Low impact exercises are strictly defined as exercises that limit the impact on the body, particularly the joints. Brisk walking would be considered low impact as compared to jogging or running.
Low impact exercise helps by simultaneously helping the body to repair itself and limiting further injury caused by impact. The exercise itself stimulates the body to self-repair in the same way strenuous bodybuilding does.
2. Pool Exercises
Encouraging patients to take advantage of pool exercises has become very popular among sports medicine doctors in recent years. The natural resistance of a swimming pool allows patients to exercise the affected limbs or joints in a way that offers benefits similar to low impact exercise. The water provides resistance while at the same time limiting additional injury through the principle of buoyancy. Patients can get a lot of work done in the water in a relatively short amount of time.
3. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy has long been a tool of sports medicine. It is a tool that utilizes specific exercises and movements targeting the injured area to restore function, promote healing, and reduce pain. In some cases, physical therapy is utilized alongside one or more additional treatments.
4. PRP Therapy
Although platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy has not been around as long as the other three noninvasive options listed here, it is gaining traction among sports medicine physicians. PRP therapy utilizes blood platelets and their accompanying growth factors to promote self-healing of muscle tissue, ligaments, and tendons.
PRP therapy cannot truly be called noninvasive because there are needles involved. A doctor begins the PRP treatment by conducting a standard blood draw. That blood is then processed in a centrifuge to concentrate platelets and the resulting material is injected into the site of the injury. The procedure is minimally invasive at the very least.
According to Advanced Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI), a Utah company that trains doctors who want to start offering PRP therapy, pro and amateur athletes alike are looking at PRP therapy more often these days. For some, it is a great option. For others, it is not. But even among those who choose not to undergo PRP therapy, there are other noninvasive treatments to look at.
Patients Have Options
The four treatment options described here make up only a portion of treatments sports medicine doctors have to work with. The point here is that there are noninvasive and minimally invasive procedures available to treat sports injuries. Athletes do not necessarily have to go under the knife, even when you are talking about something as serious as a ligament tear.