As the Olympic Games start to peek above the horizon, Olympic athletes from all over the world are gearing up for an adrenaline-fueled event. Not only do they have to train hard to qualify for the event, but also they need to be mentally and physically prepared to hurdle the challenges in their path.
An Olympian faces trauma to his/her joints every day, and it doesn’t take much to push them from a tiny ache to a true injury. They work closely with the trainers, physical therapist, chiropractors, and physicians to keep their body in peak performance. Sometimes they do suffer minor injuries, and have to seek out therapies to heal before a big event.
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Here are some behind the scenes treatment that need to occur to help Olympic athletes stay at the top of their game:
- Ice baths. Seems like a simple concept, but ice baths after practices and competing can revive muscles. Intense exercise causes muscles to produce lactic acid and decreases their ability to “breathe in oxygen”. An ice bath after a workout can cause blood vessel to constrict and remove lactic acid build-up from muscles. Ice will also help to reduce swelling and pain getting into the next days event.
- Massage can be utilized at all stages of the game—before and after intense exercise, as regular maintenance, and for rehabilitation after injury. Immediately after intense training, massage is useful in eliminating muscle spasticity and soreness. It helps to decrease swelling that may build-up around muscles, restores blood flow, and encourages flexibility.
- Graston Technique. The Graston Technique is a relatively new form of treatment, which uses metal instruments to increase the mobility of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It was developed in the early 1990s by an athlete who suffered a knee injury while water skiing, and using his background in machining he developed tools to mobilize soft tissues. Graston uses 6 stainless steel tools to break down scar tissue. Importantly for Olympians, the Graston technique can decreased the need to take anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen, which can affect the stomach and kidneys. It promotes faster recovery from constant injuries that an athlete faces.
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