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Crewsaders Injury Therapist talks Health, Myths, Tricks and Hacks – the Common Misconceptions

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Midlands based in-house Injury Therapist, Fiona Prochowski, knows a thing or two when it comes to sports injury. Specialising in injury assessment and diagnosis, posture and gait assessment, exercise and movement rehabilitation, sports massage, mobility and spinal manipulation below T1, what Fiona doesn’t know about Sports Therapy, Osteopathic Spinal Manipulation and the anatomy in general, well, quite frankly isn’t worth knowing.

Undeniably two of Fiona’s most challenging yet fulfilling positions were working as Lead Injury Therapist for six consecutive seasons at Birmingham Mosely Rugby Club and for five seasons at North Midlands Rugby.
Running alongside all of the above, Fiona also miraculously found the time to set up the ‘Protune’ clinics at Crossfit Digbeth and Better Bodies Birmingham.

Crewsaders caught up with Fiona to ask her why her services are so crucial for our onsite crew teams, what can be done to help prevent injury and what tips and tricks she may be able to share…

Why is it so important for crew to address their aches and pains?

Crewing is hard, physical work and not only are crew tasked with high intensity jobs such as lifting, carrying and offloading, but they do so on a frequent basis, often leaving little time for the body to rest and recuperate. Aches and pains are largely considered normal, but they’re not simply due to our age. We certainly shouldn’t dismiss aches and pains because we have resigned ourselves to the ‘aging process’. Pain is an indicator that there is a problem and even if the pain eases without treatment, the underlying problem will likely remain as the body finds a way to compensate. Often issues can return and if left untreated, conditions can run the risk of becoming chronic.
Specific to crew, limitations in ankles, hips, spinal and shoulder mobility can create a reduced or altered squat range, affecting a crewman’s ability to lift loads safely. Therefore, crew should definitely not ignore any ‘niggles’, aches or pains, especially in these areas as treatment principles can be put in place to help achieve pain free movement again.

Are there any common crewing injuries that you frequently encounter?

At Crewsaders I treat a range of injuries, but the more common causes of onsite injury tend to come from heavy and repetitive lifting. Whilst I know the crew are adequately trained in safe working practices, past habits which have paved the way for limited movement, or overcompensation because of a previous injury may have established reduced mobility, making lifting harder. To lift correctly, every crewman should be able to squat correctly.

Are there exercises that can help prevent injury?

Yes, as mentioned above, a lack of mobility and /or a change in movement patterns can predispose us all to injury. On my Protune Instagram and Facebook pages I regularly post mobility or movement videos that require little equipment and can easily be done in the comfort of your own home.
For Crewsaders who may be unsure where their restriction of movement is, they should contact their line manager to request an appointment with either myself or the London Injury Therapist to receive a full assessment.

How often should I have a Health MOT?

Every year we service our cars and our boilers, so why do we not service our bodies which we cannot replace? The timescale that I recommend is largely dependent on the lifestyle of the individual, i.e., how often they train, what type of training do they adopt and what their daily work routine may look like. I would always recommend being proactive rather than reactive, so not to leave too much time between each session so that your visit is triggered by recurring pain. Treatment can be a resolution as opposed to a short-term fix if a commitment to long term health is made.

Can you share any injury tricks or hacks with us?

Absolutely! There are various misconceptions when it comes to specific treatments or injuries. A lot of these ‘facts’ seem to stem from folklore or from ‘Joe Bloggs down the local pub’ or ‘dearest gran whose mum and grandmother used to do it this way too’. Whatever the source, it never ceases to amaze me how quickly people can diagnose themselves better than a qualified expert with calls for “all it needs is an ice pack and some rest”.
Interestingly enough, even some doctors may still recommend an ice pack to treat a bad sprain or worse. Personally, knowing what I know now I wouldn’t be as quick to recommend that.
Over the past decade we have learnt a lot about the workings of the human body – specifically when it comes to sports injury recovery. Perhaps the most common misconception is that ice works to help an injury by “keeping the swelling down”. Whilst in part that may be true, ice actually works against the body’s natural healing process, by bypassing that all important inflammatory stage, which is the body’s natural and vital response to healing. In using ice, you may actually be lengthening your body’s recovery time. So yes to rest, compression and elevation…but easy on that ice.

Another common mistake is static stretching prior to training. Every P.E teacher in the UK will be gasping in horror as part of our early education on ‘how to’ warm up before exercise, but truth be known, static stretching is just not that great for our bodies.
The science behind this revelation is that during the warm up phase, the heart rate increases pumping oxygenated blood around the body which contains nutrients that our muscles require in preparation for and throughout your workout ahead. By standing and stopping in between static stretching, the heart rate slows and blood flow decreases back to resting state. Muscle fibres are also affected in the sense of telling the brain of the muscle to relax and therefore become vulnerable to injury when the intense workout begins.
Instead, try choosing a dynamic movement or mobility exercise, such as a gentle jog, which encourages the gradual increase of heart rate and prepares the muscles and nervous system for that impressive weights session you have planned.

For more information on Fiona’s services please visit Protune Therapy at http://www.protunetherapy.com/ or else you can visit https://instagram.com/protunetherapy?igshid=19b1918iv7p8k or https://m.facebook.com/ProtuneSportsTherapy/ for mobility exercise and tips.

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