Sunday, July 31, 2011

Reduced Pain from a Shirt?

HB Pier, US Open 2011

When surfers damage their surfboards, mortals send them off for ding repair.  Professional surfers can do the same or merely grab another board from their quiver of multiple boards.  It helps to have sponsors!

When they damage their bodies, repair is not quite as easy and replacement rarely an option but the pros have access to evaluation and treatment when they travel for competition.

Today I had the pleasure of working on the medical staff at the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach.  I will be back at the venue later this week as well.   I was part of a team of chiropractic and medical doctors, physical therapists, athletic trainers and massage therapists who were on hand to patch up surfers from around the world.  In addition to hands on examinations, treatment and advice for self-care, the community of surfers is getting exposed to an innovative line of clothing that, as odd as it may seem, can improve posture, reduce injuries, enhance performance and reduce pain.

Tim Brown, D.C., the Beach Doctor, has been a long-time advisor to surfers, beach volleyball players and athletes of many other pursuits.  I met Dr. Brown several years ago and in our brief conversation regarding shoulder injuries he made me change my point of view on how to manage problems.  He stressed taking a detailed look at the disturbed function of the site of pain as well as surrounding joints and soft tissues that, although they often appeared to be normal, were contributing to the pain.  Dr. Brown is the person responsible for organizing the medical professionals serving at the US Open of Surfing and I am grateful for being invited to join his team this week.

Now Dr. Brown has created Functional Performance apparel, IntelliSkin.  In our treatment of patients, the physical therapists at Beach Physical Therapy and I use what is known as Kinesiotape, which, unlike stiff, bracing tapes that might be used for a sprained ankle, is flexible and encourages the body’s natural healing process by aligning and compressing soft tissues and enhancing blood flow to the injured area.  The tape also acts as a cue or signal that makes patients aware of the proper movement and alignment which encourages a return to normal, pain free, functional movement. 

A problem with Kinesiotape is that it usually has to be reapplied repeatedly.  For some spine and posture related problems, a longer term solution is necessary.  Chiropractic adjustments, exercises and good ergonomic work stations can help but Dr. Brown’s IntelliSkin is intended to be worn.  Being a piece of clothing, it can be slipped on.  No doctor’s office visits are necessary.  IntelliSkin can be used for injury and postural rehabilitation or to prevent problems from developing.

I plan to begin offering IntelliSkin in my practice and expect it will be a great addition to the tools I use for patients.  

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