April 19, 2023

Overcoming Tennis Injuries and Enhancing Performance by Optimizing Your Nervous System

Tennis players are the usual suspects for a certain slew of injuries, such as ankle sprains, knee pain, low back disc issues, but most commonly shoulder and neck pain, and the infamous tennis elbow. 

Because of the positions people are in and because of how much they're focusing on hitting the ball and not their movement patterns, people can develop extremely poor movement patterns that can become deeply ingrained when someone comes to us with tennis elbow or long-term shoulder issues. 

They have often already tried a series of sessions with chiropractic, massage, and potentially acupuncture, or even gotten things such as corticosteroid injections. Often, people will come to us as a last-ditch effort to try to avoid surgery or, especially, to avoid having to stop playing tennis. 

Identifying the neurological origins of pain and damage

At Evo Performance Rehab, we are extremely successful at getting tennis players back on the court by identifying the neurological origins of their physical pain and damage symptoms. 

Ankle sprains

If someone comes to us after having sprained their ankle, we can quickly assess which areas of the leg are not firing appropriately and get that person to stop limping and recover their ankle sprain in a fraction of the amount of time that it would typically take. 

Often, an ankle sprain will cause people to hold back in their competition and training for weeks at a time, when we can typically help people reset within days. 

Shoulder, neck, and elbow issues

When people come in for shoulder, neck, and elbow issues, it is often a similar story: they have developed a movement pattern and way of swinging that overuses some areas of muscle, and the muscles themselves, the joints, and the tendons and ligaments can become chronically overstressed. 

Addressing the root cause for long-term results

The real fix to this is not to inject steroids into the inflamed or damaged areas or even massage the muscles that are overly tense. The root cause fix is to identify the areas the body is underutilizing that ought to be used in their tennis movements and work to reteach the body how to engage everything optimally to create the best swing possible for that person's body. 

Oftentimes, shoulder, neck, and elbow issues originate from compensation as far away as the pelvis. If someone goes into a tennis stance with their tail slightly tucked, it is natural for their shoulder blades to round forward and for them to feel every subsequent impact much more in the front of their shoulders and in their elbows. 

This is basically turning off parts of the thigh muscles to create and absorb the forces of movement, which causes the shoulders, neck, back, and arms to have to do work they weren't designed to do. 

This can also occur when the elbow is perhaps the only symptom of pain. The elbow is taking far too much stress from not simply hitting too many tennis balls but also from not using all of the right muscles to execute the racket swing, which then puts the person out of position to use their body the way it was designed to absorb the force of swinging and the impact of the ball. 

Retraining optimal movement patterns

If we get into the neurological soft tissue therapy treatment process and can get the right muscles communicating to support and generate the force in the swing, that person will feel little to no stress in their elbow. because the whole body is absorbing the stress of positioning them and moving the racket. 

We have worked with many tennis players successfully on elbow issues, the repositioning that takes place, and the ingraining of better movement patterns. They have come out of the process that they went into seeking to eliminate pain, having established a whole new standard for their own performance and healthier habits for years and years of productive tennis playing. 

If there are any athletes who are the most addicted to their sports, tennis is among them. And to think about taking extended amounts of time off to recover from an injury is often a fate worse than death for the tennis player. 

At Evo Performance Rehab, we can work with people to find the source of their issues within minutes and work to improve their function and eliminate their pain within minutes to get them back to a high level of performance within days to weeks rather than weeks to months, all while the person has to take far less time away from the sport that they love. 

How We Treat Achilles Tendon Injuries

One of the nastiest injuries that can be more likely in tennis is a rupture or tear of the Achilles tendon. Reconstructive surgery is frequently the next step, after which you'll spend months in a constricting boot, and then the rehabilitation process will be slow and difficult. 

When we have people undergo surgery, whether it is for an Achilles or other surgeries that are truly necessary, we can help them come through the process much more efficiently. 

In the case of the Achilles specifically, we can work with that person immediately post-surgery and place some of our Phoenix Waveform technology with them to stop muscle atrophy after the surgery and improve blood flow through the area to get fresh resources in and help inflammation work its way out. 

How We Reduce Recovery Time After Surgery

And then, as soon as they are cleared for any sort of range of motion activity, we can work to improve the contraction in both shortening and lengthening through all of the muscles surrounding that injured area. 

We have worked with tennis players with Achilles injuries who have been able to return to basic tennis moves less than two weeks after getting out of their boot. This is unheard of in the traditional rehab sense, but it makes a lot of sense when you understand that the nervous system was never allowed to restrict the resources and activation of the affected muscles. 

The body wasn't allowed to go so far backwards as it normally would into atrophy and spasm, but it was kept awake and alive through the recovery process so that those ingrained protective patterns were not allowed to set in so deeply. This means that as soon as range of motion can be achieved and activation patterns can be retrained with greater confidence after healing has occurred, the person can get back to moving as though the issue never happened. 

How we helped a high school athlete with back pain have the best season of her career

I have worked with tennis athletes on issues related to back pain that was setting in from frequent competitions. This person had significant back pain when getting into their tennis stance, and simply by going through the first evaluation treatment, we were able to help muscles activate properly and work on repositioning this person, and they were largely pain-free from the first day forward. 

After that, the process unfolded quickly, and this person, who was a female high school athlete, had the best competitive season of her career. 

How we helped a 40-year-old tennis player with chronic tennis elbow get back to competitive play

Another example of a tennis athlete we have helped is a 40-year-old competitive tennis player dealing with chronic tennis elbow. They had tried many different therapies over their two and a half years of experiencing tennis elbow and had not had any lasting results. They had done many different therapies, and none had created results that would stick with them when they started to up their competitive play again. 

We worked through our comprehensive package rehab plan and worked to not only correct the activation patterns but to substantially strengthen some of the areas that had been underdeveloped in this player. And to this day, they have not had tennis elbow symptoms and are competing with confidence after four years of working with them.

Reduced Time Off from Tennis

Tennis players are typically concerned with how long they are going to need to take off from playing competitive tennis. That answer is typically a whole lot less than they would have if they didn't work with us. 

We don't want to ingrain bad movement patterns. So the body and our neurological soft tissue therapy system can indicate when it is smart for us to put the person back into higher amounts of movement and higher amounts of force. 

But largely, it is a matter of a few days before the person dials back some of their normal tennis playing. And then we work very quickly to reintegrate them back into their activity with a much better set of muscle activation patterns.

Recover with EVO

Each Neuro-Therapy process begins with a free phone consultation, followed by an in-clinic or virtual evaluation treatment session.

We walk you through the Neuro-Therapy process so you can see the significant differences that even one session can make.

This helps us find the best treatment plan for your lasting success.

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