integrative sports

Holistic Remedies for Sprains and Strains

For many who were forced indoors by the cold and snow this winter, spring’s great thaw brings the happy return to exercising outdoors. Unfortunately, this can also mean the unhappy return of several common injuries.

Common Sports Injuries

Medical director of the Virtua Center for Integrative Medicine Polina Karmazin, MD, notes that some of the more common spring-time injuries she sees include:

  • Hamstrings (muscle on the back of the thigh)
  • Lower back
  • Knees

Avoiding Sports Injuries

The best advice for avoiding an exercise-related injury is widely known and largely disregarded: start slow.

“Many of the injuries I’m seeing in my office are from overuse,” says Dr. Karmazin. If you’ve been sedentary this winter, your body is simply not ready for a high level of impact and intensity. “If you start doing too much too quickly, you can end up taking two steps forward and four steps back.”

You might also consider consulting with an integrative medicine specialist before starting a new exercise regimen. Dr. Karmazin can recommend natural medicines you can take before and/or after each exercise session to diminish the chances of straining or damaging your muscles and joints.

What to Do When Injuries Happen

The Virtua Center for Integrative Medicine offers alternative and complementary treatment options that can work alongside or independently of conventional medical interventions.

Dr. Karmazin specializes in managing acute injuries and pain without the possibly harmful side effects of conventional medicines. Here are several modalities to help you get back to doing what you love.

  • Homeopathic remedies are a first line of defense. These remedies are made of micro-dilutions of biological (plant- and mineral-based) substances. They can be taken in tablet form dissolved under the tongue or in cream form applied directly to the skin to help with muscle aches and pains.
  • Biopuncture is another way to deliver homeopathic remedies into the body. It involves the injection of these substances just beneath the skin using very small, very thin needles. Biopuncture helps to speed up the healing process that begins with injury and inflammation.
  • Acupuncture is another integrative modality that can help the body heal after injury. Acupuncture can also promote and maintain overall wellness for those seeking to prevent or reduce the risk of injury. It involves the insertion of very small needles into acupuncture points that run along 14 “meridians” in the body, which stimulate the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord and brain.

Compared to conventional medical treatment for acute injuries, integrative medical treatment poses few or no side effects. The Virtua Center for Integrative Medicine only uses complementary and alternative treatment modalities recognized by the National Institutes of Health and supported by current, quality research.


Updated June 6, 2016

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