The Concussion in Amateur Sport

Concussion is a big thing in todays society; with more interest in professional sport day by day, is the grassroots game being left behind? Are we risking the safety of children, young adults and everyone else that plays the sport they love. I can recall several incidents from games I have played in where if it was the elite level the player would be pulled from the action.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. This doesn’t need a massive impact to the head to occur. In its simplest form it is where your brain rattles around in your head hitting the inside of your skull. Not all symptoms are present straight away; you should air on the side of caution if you ever suspect a concussion. Some symptoms can include; nausea, headache, double vision and episodes of anger.


What happens when you are diagnosed with a concussion?

Dependent on your sport, the protocol for return to play will differ. In the elite setting the standard of protocol is far higher than what you will find elsewhere. In amateur sport, there are no medical professionals at clubs who will clear your player to return. You will have to have the player talk to their GP before doing anything.

You need to be cleared at every stage of the return to play protocol. Many people are aware of the RFU or FA concussion protocols; but, if they are not, why are they not? This shows a clear lack of care about safety of athletes.

For the first period of time you need complete rest. This means no phone, laptop or TV. From there you gradually return back to exercise in a controlled manner to reduce the risk of secondary impact syndrome.

Are we failing young athletes who get concussed?

Personally, I think we are. You will have seen that they have limited the amount of heading in football at the younger ages; but what is the point in protecting them in the early formative years to let them down when into their teens?

I can recall several events where a player has taken a blow to the head and they are told to continue. Are we promoting the correct response for head injuries, definitely not. However, this is a difficult thing to change; it takes a lot of education of parents, players, coaches and governing bodies.

Is the treatment of concussion at the grassroots level appropriate?

I appreciate that there are no medical staff at the grassroots game, with all first aid lumped onto the coaches. They are there to coach not to treat injuries. If their best player takes a bang to the head they are going to want them to continue no matter what the cost.

So the treatment of concussion at the grassroots level is absolutely rubbish. No player wants to have to sit on the sideline, they are always going to say they are fine no matter what. Did you know that if they had another bang to the head they are at risk of death? Secondary impact syndrome is a fatal problem. Yet we still risk the safety of our players for a win…

I feel that each club should have a concussion first aider. Every time there is a bang to the head the player has to report to them immediately to be cleared for a return to action. If this isn’t possible then the player should take no further action in the game.


Sciatica And Its Affect It Has On You

Sciatica is a debilitating disorder that can often leave you with pain, numbness or tingling down the back of the leg. A common mistake is lower back pain and other pathologies being wrongly diagnosed as sciatica. In most cases of sciatica, this is due to irritation of the nerve. For some of the population the piriformis is the cause of the sciatic related symptoms, however, this is called piriformis syndrome and not sciatica.

The sciatic nerve originates from the the lumbar spine and is easily the largest nerve in the body. The pain is often worsened when bending over, twisting and coughing. In most cases there will be an inflammation of the nerve due to the something irritating the nerve, such as a bulge in the vertebral disc. I do stress, if you have any numbness in the saddle region or have some bladder dysfunction related to what you think is sciatica, then go to the hospital for once over. As this could be something more serious.

Lower back pain the cause of your sciatica?

What causes Sciatica?

  • Due to the origin of the sciatic nerve, a bulging or herniated lumbar disc can cause sciatica
  • In an older patient, spinal stenonis can cause symptoms
  • Spondylolisthesis, slipped disc, can also cause the nerve pain
  • A tumour can lead to compression of the nerve
  • A traumatic episode
  • Muscle spasm can lead to the impingement of the nerve leading to production of symptoms

Who does sciatica commonly affect?

  • No specific gender is affected
  • There is a peak incidence for sciatica in populations entering their 40’s
  • Rarely occurs in the population before the age of 20, unless there is a traumatic episode
  • Jobs that subject the person to get into awkward positions have predisposed people to sciatica

How can I alleviate my sciatic pain?

There are many ways you can help yourself when you have sciatica. Firstly, the accurate diagnosis of the cause of the sciatica needs to be identified. If it is suspected that you have a spinal pathology causing your symptoms, then you should have a scan that can determine the true cause. From here then a treatment action plan can be put in place to help you out.

Deep tissue massage to relieve muscle tension

If your pain is muscular related, a deep tissue massage will be of great benefit to you. But when you aren’t able to see someone for treatment what can you do to give you comfort and reduce the pain you are feeling. Heres a few tips that you can do to relieve the symptoms when they arise.

  • Use hot or cold packs to relieve pain and reduce inflammation
  • Gentle stretches of hamstrings and muscles in the lumbar region
  • Correct lifting techniques
  • Try to avoid prolonged sitting
  • Core activation exercises can be beneficial too
Lifting technique key?

Exercises that can get rid of my sciatica?

Surgery for my Sciatica?

Surgery is the absolute last case scenario for sciatica and should only be thought about when all possible conservative treatments have been exhausted. This would be to treat the cause of the disorder. If you have a disc herniation then the surgery would remove this to reduce the compression on the nerve. There are many others that can be completed but this relates to the alternative pathology that causes the sciatica. Ultimately, not all surgery works, with many patients still complaining of pain and discomfort many months following surgery. Conservative treatment, when correctly directed can produce the better outcomes in a short time frame.

Do you suffer with sciatica type symptoms, book in so we can get you back to your lives pain free.


Is my sciatica actually piriformis syndrome?

Both sciatica and piriformis syndrome produce similar symptoms. In our post on sciatica we talk about how sciatica is caused by an irritation of the nerve typically due to a spinal pathology. However, piriformis syndrome will cause a compression of and irritate the sciatic nerve. Piriformis syndrome can have symptoms that follow a similar trend of sciatica; there are complaints of a persistent and radiating lower back pain, whilst a numbness and difficulty walking is also felt.

What could my glute pain be?

Piriformis syndrome is one of the most common causes of glute pain in the current population. However, this could be a whole multitude of things and needs to be accurately diagnosed by a professional. The pain could be anything from a spinal pathology, an inflamed bursa or tendinopathy, to a name a few. By performing specific tests the healthcare professional can determine the cause of the pain and put together an action plan to fix this.

What is the piriformis muscle?

The piriformis muscle is a deep lying flat muscle located in the gluteal region. It originates from the sacrum, bottom end of the spine, and attaches into the greater trochanter (the bump on the outside of the upper leg). This muscles aids with a few movements. When in standing the muscle will laterally rotate the hip, abduct the leg when the hip is in a flexed position; whilst it also aids the pelvis tilt.

What can I do to alleviate this pain in my piriformis?

Ultimately, the main aim should be to release the muscle. The easiest and best way for this to take place is by booking in for a treatment. Going through the process of seeing a healthcare professional will make sure the true reason of your pain can be determined. In the mean time, you can use hot/cold packs for pain relief and to reduce the inflammation on the sciatic nerve. Then following this initial bout of pain relief, there should be stretching and strengthening exercises implemented. However, this should only be done following consultation with a professional, so that it is specific to your problem.

How can I release the piriformis without having a treatment?

Following your consultation, you will have several exercises to complete. These exercises will target the direct cause and prevent it from occurring again. Below we have chosen three products that can help you. By placing the trigger point balls into the piriformis and applying some pressure you can release the tight tissue beneath, in this case the piriformis. The 3rd product on the list is a bargain, getting 4 products that can assist not only in the release of the piriformis but help complete the stretching and strengthening exercises.


Is working from home linked to your lower back pain?

A trend that we have seen since we were allowed to re-open is a surge in lower back and neck pain. This has typically been linked to the shift to a greater number of people working from home, instead of in their offices. For a lot of people this can be seen as very stressful. There is no longer the divide in home and work life, now there is a combination of both, this leads to more stress being kept in the house rather than being left at work. A change in chair, posture when working, or if you aren’t working a change in your lifestyle can affect the risk of suffering from lower back pain.

What causes lower back pain?

Now there are many reasons why you can be suffering from lower back pain, we will just outline a couple that can cause pain. Ultimately, you should book in and seek professional advice on what is definitively causing your pain. We have outlined 5 possible causes for your lower back pain below.

  • Poor lifting techniques
  • Repetitive bending
  • Poor posture
  • Weakness in your core muscle group
  • Sedentary/inactive lifestyle

How does the lockdown affect us?

When the country had previously been placed into lockdown there was a great deal of unknowns in the country. Many people being furloughed, universities closing, no physical interactions and the stress of job security became common place. With the majority of workplaces shut down, many people ended up working from home. This meant use of the office chair at a desk that is a specific height to help with your working posture are no more. Dining rooms have become make shift offices, the sofa has become the workplace and the bed has been the office for the morning.

The change in environment has lead to an increase in lower back pain and tight shoulders; with many comments regarding the seat they are using, position they sit in and how the table they use is much lower. So what does this mean? Well the change in seat is something you are not used to, you change your position to get comfy and end up rolling your shoulders forward and slouching over. This then leads to tightness in your shoulders and lower back. You are inactive throughout the day because you have to work, a risk factor for lower back pain, whilst getting the perfect desk height will help you with sitting in a correct and comfy position.

To try help this spend 5 minutes in every hour on stretching, or, on your lunch break go for a walk. This will have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing as well as your physical wellbeing. Having a break from your work and getting into the outdoors will help you to destress and get those muscles working.

How do we find a balance in our daily activities?

One thing we noticed during the first lockdown was there seemed to be two extremes when it came to exercise. With the gyms shut, people either stopped altogether or went hell for leather and did an excessive amount of exercise. You should aim to do a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day. However, if you have set yourself goals, such as to lose weight, then increasing the length of exercise you complete is going to be a necessity.

With the gyms shut, there has been less structure with the exercise completed. A lot of people go to the gym to complete specific exercise classes, such as pilates, but what do you do when this isn’t available. We have joined an online exercise community, that gives us even more support than a gym, whilst also allowing us to meet targets that we want to hit. Whether it is a 21-day transformation or just to feel part of something again it has been fantastic and would recommend it to everyone!

The exercise community we have joined.

How can you get rid of your lower back pain quickly?

Remedies to get your lower back fixed as quickly and safely as possible will vary person to person. The main piece of advice that may seem counterintuitive but trust me here, get yourself up and moving. Do some stretches that target your legs, glutes and lower back. When it comes to strengthening exercises, these should target the glutes and the core muscle groups.

The top 5 stretches to get rid of your lower back pain fast.

To go along with this, try change how you sit at your desk, change the height of the desk, get a chair that offers as much support as possible. We are open throughout lockdown, unless told otherwise, so get yourself booked in so we can put together an action plan that can get you back working pain free.