Chiropractor Chandler AZ

Extreme is all the Rage

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If you have not competed in a Tough Mudder or Spartan Race yet, you probably know someone who has. Created a mere five years ago, extreme races normally consist of a long endurance run broken up by military-inspired obstacles - freezing mud bogs, barbed wire, and high walls to climb - that push people to their physical limits. Nearly five million Americans alone participated in one of these races last year, and the sport continues to grow in popularity. Mudder and Spartan have proven so popular that other organizers have established similar events to satisfy growing demand for extreme racing: Warrior Dash, Save Race and Rugged Maniac are giving the original two races an (extreme) run for their money. While these sort of races offer participants a chance to get really fit and challenge themselves mentally, there is one downside: injuries.

While obstacle races are relatively new, leading doctors believe that their extremely challenging nature, coupled with their popularity, is going to lead to a high rate of injury. While recent media focus has been on some of the unique types of injuries competitors suffer while out on these courses, sprains, tendonitis, and other soft tissue problems are almost certainly going to challenge dedicated athletes who put it all out there for a grueling race. Fortunately, there are several innovative therapies available to help prevent soft tissue injuries, or to heal you more rapidly when these injuries occur. So there is no reason you can't get back out on the obstacles and earn that "Finisher" headband this fall.

The Graston Technique: Great for Obstacle Races

One of the newer treatments for injuries extreme racers are prone to is the Graston Technique (GT). GT is a form of soft tissue mobilization. GT involves a trained practitioner using a specially designed set of stainless steel instruments to manipulate afflicted soft tissue. The GT instruments allow clinicians to identify injured tissue, and then are used to break down scar tissue and other restrictors. The technique facilitates increased blood flow to problem areas, alleviates pain, and can speed up the recovery process. While still a relatively new medical innovation, several clinical trials have affirmed the Graston Technique's effectiveness at addressing soft tissue injuries.

GT therapy is great news for people who are out there on the obstacles. Dedicated or new extreme race competitors are likely to experience strained muscles and tendons, or adhesions, which keep muscles painfully tight and limit range of motion. GT is particularly effective at addressing these sorts of conditions. Additionally, GT can immediately address the buildup of scar tissue, alleviate lingering pain, and promote soft tissue healing. The Graston technique can be especially effective at addressing injuries before they become serious and debilitating, so it is worth checking with your physical therapist to get treatment as soon as your aches and pains start adding up.

Video: Scar Tissue Treatment with Graston Technique for Muscle Pain

Active Release Treatment Therapy (ART) for Extreme Racers

Active Release Therapy, or ART, is another relatively new non-invasive technique to treat injuries commonly seen in these races, whether from falls or muscle tears while climbing obstacles. ART is a patented technique that involves hand manipulation of soft tissue by a trained practitioner. ART's 500-move treatment protocol is exceptionally effective at identifying damaged soft tissue, and then treating it. These carefully designed, precision movements, like GT, can help increase blood flow, alleviate pain, and restore range of motion. All of this, again, is great news for weightlifters everywhere.

Specially trained ART practitioners are adept at identifying the source of soft tissue injury or pain, then breaking down the scar tissue causing it. Active Release Therapy is also used as a preventative measure to keep muscles and tendons primed for workouts, thus avoiding injury altogether. This is great news for extreme racers who mark up their calendars with every one of these races across the country, and try to make as many of them as possible. So if pain is holding you back from your personal best in obstacle races, ART may be the right choice for you.

Get Back Into the Race

Extreme racing, although a new sport, is surging in popularity. These events offer people a unique physical and mental challenge, and require a toughness that goes well beyond most traditional sporting events. They are also likely to leave participants extremely sore at the finish line, or facing some sort of injury as well. The Graston Technique and Active Release Therapy offer extreme race enthusiasts innovative ways to keep muscles and tendons in good shape, and prevent injury altogether. They are also extremely effective at treating soft tissue injuries and rapidly getting you back walking the plank in no time. So don't wait until it's too late. Do your homework, find a clinician who offers GT or ART and keep yourself injury free in race after race.

Our Chandler Chiropractic & Physical Therapy clinic treats patients with a variety of muscle, tendon, joint, and ligament injuries. The clinic provides treatment for runners, tri-athletes, and weekend warriors in addition to common headache, neck, and back patients traditionally seen in Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, Massage Therapy clinics. We work with all ages and abilities of the residents in Phoenix, Tempe, Gilbert, Mesa, and Chandler AZ.