Sports Injuries - part 2
Supplements And Herbs

The use of medications such as Aspirin TM, ibuprofen and naproxen and all other non steroidal medications are often prescribed for injured athletes by sports medicine physicians. Equally effective and with the added benefit of absolutely no side effects, the use of a wide range of nutritional supplements is also an effective way to deal with injuries sustained by athletes.

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Injuries to the spinal cartilaginous tissues, the tendons and the spinal disks require the presence of an essential component called glucosamine for cellular restoration, this compound is manufactured in the human body using glucose and glutamine as glucosamine stimulates restoration of damaged tissue by its active participation in the synthesis of sugars essential to the formation of spinal cartilage, restoration of tendons and disks in the spinal column. Glucosamine synthesis is also often hindered because of the presence of tears in the cartilage and ruptured joint membranes arising as a result of an injury. One effective and safe supplement is the use of glucosamine sulphate as this compound provides additional sulfur; the mineral is an important component in all proteins and helps in restoring the cellular structure.

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The excellent anti-inflammatory action of natural compounds like bromelain and proteases can be utilized to treat the sport related injuries sustained by an athlete without any need to use allopathic medications. Pain and inflammation is effectively lowered by the action of the pineapple based compound called bromelain; this compound has an ability to inhibit the action of chemicals produced in the body which can aggravate the inflammation and the pain after an injury - it is particularly effective when taken on an empty stomach during the treatment of the individual. Enzymes such as the biologically active proteases aid in the detoxification of the body; helping rid the body of accumulated toxic compounds which build up when damage occurs to the cells and capillaries during some trauma or as a result of a major surgical procedure. Scarring of damaged tissues is prevented though the use of such enzyme therapy, such therapy also reduces the intensity of pain felt by the individual, the wounds and injuries heal at a rapid rate and the inflammation is also greatly reduced at the same time.

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Through their ability of neutralizing the free radicals in the body, many antioxidant compounds aid in prevention of tissue and cellular damage to the body; this action is chiefly achieved through their property of strengthening the immune system of the afflicted individual. The production of enzymes such as catalase, super oxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase is increased by the action of the same compounds - the body is thus better adapted to dealing with free radicals. The patient must also be given a good admixture of carotenoids, plant based substances called flavonoids, compounds like proanthocyanidins, vitamins like niacin, the coenzyme Q10, fatty acids like the lipoic acid, fat and water soluble vitamins like the vitamin C and E, and an abundant supply of the essential minerals like zinc, selenium and magnesium to bring about the optimal effect from supplementation. This broad based approach can also include supplements of the amino acids such as the N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) and glutathione, and last but not least, pineal hormone melatonin; all of these nutrients boost the performance of the main supplements and help in a quick recovery. The treatment of most injury-induced free radical production in the body is best dealt with using a whole broad based approach. To maintain a constant rate of absorption and to put in place a high nutrient saturation rate, the patient must also use supplements that have a higher proportion or doses of the water-soluble nutrients including the vitamins C and the vitamin B-this distribution of higher doses must be spread out evenly over the day and throughout the treatment period for optimal results. It is important to remember that increasing dosage of the vitamin C might create problems for the patient with regard to the bowels; its use must therefore be connected to bowel tolerance in the person.

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The metabolic requirement for proteins that posses a superior nitrogen retention characteristic, and which can be easily absorbed into the body increases greatly following injury and during the period of convalescence. In this regard because of their hormone performance boosting property within the body, the use of whey peptides is an excellent idea during this stage, these peptides bolster immune system functioning very effectively, increasing the rate of recovery of damaged tissues. An added advantage is that whey peptides are natural analgesics and aid in the alleviation of pain associated with the injuries. A comparatively new and high tech process called ion-exchange enables the extraction of medium to high molecular weight peptides from whey without the use of high temperature; the result is a lot of these useful peptides are now manufactured with ease. This new technique is helpful in the manufacture of these peptides because high temperatures and high heat can easily rupture the molecular structures of the peptides- this leads to a marked lowering of the nutritional value of protein obtained from whey; the new method avoids this pitfall. At the same time factors such as the absorption characteristics, the assimilation paradigm, the ease of digestion and nitrogen deposition are also affected by heat; the new technique leaves these parameters untouched. Food items such as protein shakes and smoothies, all kinds of fresh juices, oatmeal and meal replacements, and yogurt or muffin mixes can be combined with whey peptides for use as combination supplements during the treatment process.

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To further improve the functioning of the immune system, supplements of helpful amino acids such as ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate (OKG), the compound ornithine, the amino acid arginine, glutamine and lysine can be used in combination formulas or used as single supplements. An increase in the speed of scar tissue formation and the promotion of healing of bone fractures and is another useful action that these peptides perform within the human body.

To enable the body to deal with the physical stresses of heavy training loads and the extremes of competition, other supplements are also considered essential to the conditioning of the body, these include compounds such as creatine, and amino acid derivatives such as glutamine, tyrosine and taurine. Because of the fact that a heavy exertion creates certain metabolic demands in the body of the athlete which is not evident in normal sedentary individuals, the physical training also generates an acute need for essential nutrients above the normal RDA or RNI. Substances such as the compound DLPA (D, L-phenylalanine) which is an amino acid alleviates pain and reduces the discomfort felt by the athlete following an injury. This analgesic action of DLPA is much more effective for the treatment of chronic types of symptoms in the long term, and its ability to deal with immediate or acute onset of pain is limited.

The herbal remedies given below can be used in the treatment of injuries suffered while playing sports.

Acute inflammation can be treated using the turmeric herb; this herb contains a yellow pigment called curcumin, which besides being a good anti inflammatory compound is also an effective antioxidant. Tissue restoration and synthesis is encouraged by the curcumin, the compound also bolsters the body's ability to deal with both mental and physical stress, and all these abilities of the substance are due to the ability of curcumin to stimulate the release of important hormones from the cortex of the adrenal glands called adrenal corticosteroids. Additionally it reduces swollen tissues and relieves the pain in the affected region of the body. Dosages of this substance can be 400-600 mg of curcumin, taken thrice every day during the treatment period. The minor burns, bruises and cuts, scraps and abrasions sustained by a person can be treated by the topical use of the aloe vera gel; this herb may also be used in an oral form for internal absorption. The prevention of injuries and the soothing and healing of wounds can be achieved through the use of many types of botanical creams and salves - all of them sourced from herbs. Herbs such as the calendula can be used topically as an ointment, the cajeput, the arnica; the burdock can all be used as botanical salves. Herbs like the goldenseal and the plantain, the comfrey, the chamomile, the wonder herb Echinacea, the witch hazel and the self-heal herb can all find useful application as external salves and ointments to ward off infection as well as in the promotion of healing. To provide additional power to the combination of herbs, a base made from pure hemp, from the borage or from the oil of the flax seed can be used to combine the herbs thoroughly. The treatment of swollen ankles, inflamed wrists and elbows calls for the external use of a paste of ground flax meal and the comfrey herb. Inflammation and infection can also be avoided by consuming herbs like the lapacho, the garlic, the multi purpose herb the ginkgo, the cayenne, the common ginger and Echinacea, these herbs also boost the rate of circulation, promoting quick recovery.

Aromatherapy

Commonly used essential oils for sports injuries:

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