Things are hotting up at the London 2012 Olympics. Only a few more days until the Opening Ceremony...
This week, the doors of the Athletes Village will open. Athletes and their support teams from 204 countries will start arriving. And, for the first time, chiropractors will be there!
Within the Athletes Village is the state of the art Polyclinic. Open 24 hours a day this multidisciplinary clinic is kitted out with some of the most sophisticated equipment in the country and staffed by highly skilled specialists - including, for the first time ever, chiropractors. It is expected that a high proportion of the anticipated 200 competitors visiting the polyclinic each day will be suffering from musculoskeletal injuries - sprains, strains, muscle injuries and joint pains - exactly the sort of problems that we chiropractors excel in treating. So, it is expected that the team of chiropractors are going to be kept busy, providing care from 7am - 11pm every day, with 24 hour emergency 'on-call' cover as well!
The state of the art Polyclinic in the Olympic Village
The team of chiropractors will be working alongside other musculoskeletal healthcare specialists - orthopaedic surgeons, neurologists, sports injury physicians - as well as other core services like dentistry, optometry, and physiotherapy. Together, this team of medical specialists will help to ensure that athletes are in their peak condition for this most important time in their sporting careers.
Richard Brown meets Lord Coe
Richard Brown, chiropractor and President of the British Chiropractic Association is one of the chiropractors who has taken time out of his busy practice and professional schedule to be treating the athletes. He had the opportunity to meet Lord Coe, Chairman of LOCOG, who voiced his support at the presence of chiropractors at the Olympics, and who said that his own career would have been far shorter, had it not been chiropractors.
Hopefully, Richard and the other chiropractors in the Polyclinic will be able to keep the competitors in tip top condition; here's hoping that they enable Jessica Ennis and a few of her fellow competitors to bring home some shiny medals...!
One of the things I love about my job is the great diversity of people that I see on a daily basis. Not only is it hugely satisfying to have the skills to be able to relieve someone's back or neck pain and watch them put their socks and shoes on and walk out of clinic when they have hobbled in, but I love the contact that I have with so many people from so many different walks of life.
In just one clinic I have had conversations about: holidays to Corfu; walking around Mont Blanc; the political and military situation in Afghanistan and Syria; sheep farming and the lambing season; the possibility of an extra silage harvest this soggy summer; the weather (where would we be without it?!); bereavement; Wimbledon (will Murray get to the finals this year?!); the unflattering cut of the Olympic Torch bearers' outfits; the risk of flying fast jets; the economy and whether Bob Diamond was right to resign; the bitter battle with cancer; diet, lifestyle and exercise regimes; gardening (including a great recipe for Raspberry Vodka!); the horrors and joys of childbirth; scuba diving; local crime and the Police's endeavours to deal with it; fishing; motor bikes and track days; and finally, nuclear fission (honestly!).
It is this interaction with my patients that keeps me going every day. It is my motivation for going to work each morning; not only do I have a responsibility to care for and treat my patients but I look forward to talking with them. It makes me a richer, more balanced person, and for that, I am grateful.
A patient of mine, nearing the end of her treatment and rehabilitation phase, asked what was the quickest and easiest way to get fit. I suggested running. Personally I find it time and cost effective. No expensive gym membership, pricey equipment or time wasted getting there - I can dash home, sling on my trainers (it's worth investing in a decent pair) and can complete a 5 mile run, do some toning exercises, stretch out, shower and change inside an hour. Ok, so I've been doing it for a bit - but an article I read the other day in Runner's World magazine (June 2012 edition) sang the praises of squeezing in even 15 minutes of exercise every other day.
The article highlighted how just 15 minutes of exercise can be beneficial:
Here are a few easy ways to get started, even if you've never run before:
Obviously, running isn't for everyone, and sometimes our bodies limit what we can do. However, you can easily substitute intervals of fast walking/steady walking for the run/walk intervals, and will still see great results. Take it gently to start with, don't get too puffed out (you should still be able to talk!) and listen to any niggles that your body might have. If in doubt - just ask! I'm only a phone-call away...
_ It's that time of year when many of us will be hitting the slopes. Whether it being carving those parallel turns or flipping 180's in the board park, it's never too soon to start getting fit for the snow. A little bit of work at this stage will enable you to minimise injuries and maximise your time on the snow.
Some pre-season fitness tips...
Improve your overall cardiovascular fitness - cycling, running, 'bunny hops', roller blading and bouncing on a mini-trampoline will help to build up your overall fitness and strengthen those all important thigh muscles.
Feel the burn - strengthen the quad muscles and improve your core stability with squats and travelling lunges and wall sits. I've found a great explanation and demonstration here.
Get to the core - planks, sits-ups and exercises on a gym ball or wobble board will help to improve your core stability and sense of balance.
On the slopes...
Hot and cold - warm up gently at the start of the day with a walk to the first lift and few easy runs to loosen up any tired, achy muscles; don't head straight for the black runs! Watch out for icy patches. Be careful on that 'one last run before we finish' - tired legs, heavy wet snow and a thirst for the après ski are a recipe for disaster (it's sometimes better to skip the last lift and head to the bar early!)
Easy does it - take plenty of breaks, listen to your body and pace yourself. Skiing hard on days one and two will just ruin the rest of your holiday. Most skiing injuries and accidents apparently happen on day three when the confidence levels are high, but energy levels are low.
Liquid lunch - drink plenty of water and isotonic drinks to keep hydrated, and avoid tea, coffee and alcohol. Be careful of the 'lunchtime lethargy' - the wobbly legs and a sleepy head on the first post-lunch run after loading up on tartiflette!
Kit-check - choose your boots carefully - head for a shop with a wide range, get them heat-moulded if possible, and if they're not right, change them. Poor fitting boots and bindings will hinder your progress - no matter how good your technique! Make sure you've got the right kit with you - skiing down in a white-out without my goggles wasn't much fun (it was sunny when I left the chalet!!).
Ice is nice - With an acute injury, use ice rather than heat. Take a couple of plastic bags with you and fill up with snow!
Following these tips will hopefully allow you to make the most of your trip - most importantly, remember that it's a holiday and make sure that you have fun and enjoy it!
Eich Ceiropractydd yng Nghlinig Ceiropracteg Llangefnii