Whatever sport you participate in, and whatever level you participate at, there will inevitably come a time when injury occurs. Early treatment of injury is key for rehabilitation and long-term recovery. The Health Equation Clinicians, all with a background in sport, have a better knowledge of how injury occurs, which vastly improves the assessment and treatment of a sports injury.
Our clinical team can help both types of sports injury, generally classified as traumatic/acute or overuse/chronic injury. Examples of acute injuries include impact injury, or a sprained ankle. In contrast, examples of chronic injuries include conditions arising from repetitive motions or overuse, such as lateral epicondylitis (“tennis elbow”).
Many different injuries occur, to many different body parts, some more prone than others. As we are all unique, an individual approach to each person’s injury is important.
Poor fitness, technique and structural abnormalities can all contribute to the development of a sporting injury.
Different sports have different mechanical stresses on the body, which lead to common injuries in each particular sport. With prevention being better than cure, an integrated approach to complete healthcare is vital to maintain well-being. This is something that The Health Equation excels in.
The Health Equation provides a unique sports injury/performance enhancement programme. Whilst in most sports, injury provision is necessarily reactive (the sports person gets injured, we diagnose, treat and then rehabilitate the injury), more and more athletes are waking up to the idea of performance enhancement to gain an edge over their competitors. We believe we offer a truly holistic approach to recognising the factors that may limit performance and therefore provide expert intervention to optimise sports performance.
So what makes our approach different to other sports injuries approaches and performance enhancement programmes?
The clinical team at The Health Equation has a wealth of clinical experience and being passionate about their individual sports, gives excellent insight to their offering of sports related care. Their unique integrated approach, both diagnostically and therapeutically, allows them great success in managing injury and enhancing performance. Discriminating between obvious pathology and disturbance in function allows a more targeted approach, improving patient outcome. An exceptionally detailed understanding of biomechanics, neuromuscular-skeletal function, biochemistry, hormones, nutrition and the impact of psychology on injury and performance is what improves our patient outcomes.
Patients who are injured may already have a diagnosis, and therefore may wish to self refer to the most appropriate clinician at The Health Equation. For those patients who do not have a diagnosis, an appointment with one of the Osteopaths is necessary to make an initial diagnosis, and to discuss the most appropriate type of treatment or rehabilitation.
For more complex problems, or for a performance enhancement programme, we also offer the following:
Sports and Performance Enhancement Health Screen –
- 75 minute consultation with our Diagnostic Consultant Mr Gerry Gajadharsingh to include Case History, including nutritional history
- Clinical Examination, including specialist Osteopathic neuromuscular-skeletal examination
- Specialised Breathing Assessment, including capnography
- Measurement of Heart Rate Variability via capnotrainer, a non-invasive way of measuring autonomic nervous system function
- EQ1 Blood Profile, includes Haematology (Full Blood Count & 5 part diff), Biochemistry (24 parameters), inflammatory markers ESR/CRP, Red cell Magnesium, Red cell Zinc, Ferritin, Vitamin D 25OH, HbA1C (3 month glucose marker), Amylase & Lipase (pancreatic markers) and and EQ6 Thyroid Function TSH, FT4 and FT3.
- Holter 24 Hour ECG analysis
- Urine analysis
- Assessment with one of our Exercise Specialists based in Central London, 90 mins with a video/photo programme
The Sports and Performance Enhancement Health Screen takes 75 minutes and you will be provided with a comprehensive written Report for treatment/performance enhancement and a 15 minute follow up appointment in person or Skype
- Breathing Re-Education and Heart Rate Variability Enhancement
- Pre and post operative Exercise and Rehabilitation
Reoccurring chest infections were putting a real damper on my training, with over six infections in one year that usually lasted 2 to 3 weeks; with one bout lasting two months during some of my busiest cycling events. Conventional medical routes had me on antibiotics, steroid inhalers and rest; this was not a prescription that fitted in with the demands of my sport.
As a sponsored athlete training for the UCI World Masters, the added pressure of delivering results was always in the back of my mind. I was conscious of every day missed in training, during the 6 months of peak training; clocking up to 800 miles of intense sessions on the bike was fairly normal. This, on top of a physical day job, placed a huge stress on my body and consuming enough calories always seemed to be a large chore. Advice from my previous coach was to take on both a post training protein recovery drink and a nighttime protein drink, along with a supplement of iron and colostrum.
With a trust in the integrated medicine practiced at The Health Equation and safe in the knowledge that, as an elite sportsman himself, Gerry Gajadharsingh would offer a solution that would fit in with my goals for the season. After an in-depth consultation on both training goals, health issues and a review of my food diary, Gerry offered a number of options including some laboratory investigations.
As an athlete, keeping control of the factors affecting training and performance are paramount and form part of a strict training regime, where marginal differences make a huge impact on results. Being able to discuss the tests and options for change were a liberating approach from the usual prescriptive GP advise and limited physiological knowledge on the coaching front; where advice generally follows current trends in sports nutrition, and at my level of competition are not based on sound evidence.
Blood samples and Capnometry (breathing evaluation, ETCO2, breathing rate and Heart Rate Variability) were completed in the clinic with a comprehensive adrenal stress saliva test (cortisol and DHEA hormones) and an optional stool test done at home. The results offered a platform from which to make changes with sound physiological decisions underpinning the reason for change. From my point of view, this suited my desire to understand the physiological impact of the changes being made and how they would fit into my regimented daily routine.
The keys changes made, which had the most impact on my sports performance, were a change in breathing patterns. When tested by ET, CO2 levels were quite low, the knock on effect of how oxygen is taken up in the muscles was fairly significant. Easy to follow breathing exercises brought my CO2 levels back to normal, thus increasing O2 utilisation, and I was able to extend my maximal effort outputs for longer.
Changing from a grazing style eating pattern allowed me to consume more food, much to the entertainment of my male teammates who I currently eat under the table. My energy levels have doubled and my regular “hitting the wall” or “feeling the knock” on the bike have abated to the point where I can do my easy 3-hour rides just on water, and my legs don’t suddenly give up on me.
I have not had a protein recovery drink for a year and have no noticeable decrease in recovery times, and my kidneys are thankful for not having to breakdown excess protein. The quality of carbohydrates and variety of protein, recommended by Gerry, have ensured my recovery times have improved and energy levels have a more consistent output.
All I was hoping for from my consultation with Gerry was to avoid regular chest infections, which I have not had since my consultation and have not missed a single day of training. What I wasn’t expecting to have was; increased energy levels, a more balance eating routine, which fitted so easily into my training regime; and lest of all, an in-depth understanding of the physiological impact my poor habits were having on my internal organs, especially those responsible for energy production in the body.
My year ended on a high with two cups from the World Masters and a new sponsor for 2011.
Peta McSharry is a sponsored masters cyclist, updates are available on her blog http://racingwoman.wordpress.com