Cheerleading is a very disciplined sport not to mention it has become very competitive. Today’s cheerleader is basically a gymnast without the floor mats. Today’s cheerleaders are athletes. As a result, cheerleaders are suffering more injuries than ever before.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital had Brenda Shields, who is the research coordinator at the Nationwide Children’s Research Institute Center for Injury Research and Policy do a study on cheerleading injuries. What she found is that injuries have actually more than doubled in just 12 years between 1990 and 2002. Another similar study was done in April 2005 and it showed that more than 50 percent of all women’s catastrophic injuries in sports were in cheerleading.
Cheerleaders do a lot of stunt activities and tumbling activities. The repetitive routines with all the tumbling put pressure on your spine and can even cause stress fractures. The growth plates in the elbows, wrists, ankles, and knees can also suffer repetitive stress and injury. A bad landing can cause knee or ankle injuries. The ACL can easily be torn.
A Pain Clinic will use medicine both non-prescription and opioids to treat pain. Chronic pain suffers will have a team of pain management professionals that will determine the seriousness of the injury, the pain level and what you need to heal. For example, pain management goes much further than just using pain medications. It can involve physical therapy, occupational therapy, a psychologist, alternative treatments like a chiropractor or acupuncture.
Parents, athletes and coaches must all become better at spotting the difference between significant injuries and common aches/pains. Let’s look at some warning signs that require medical attention immediately.
• Tenderness over a bone
• A deformity that is apparent
• Weakness, tingling or numbness
• Major swelling, bruising or discoloration
• Inability to bear weight on a body part or to move it
• Extreme temperature differences between the injured and uninjured side.
Overuse can lead to repetitive injuries. These types of injuries get worse over time and they can lead to the loss of function long term even permanently. Overuse symptoms can lead to swelling and/or pain. This can be intermittent but over the severity can also become worse with time and can turn into constant pain and swelling.
It is unknown why cheerleading injuries have had such a drastic increase. However, being that the cheerleading routines keep expanding and becoming more complex, it’s highly likely that those trends are going to continue and there could be even more of an increase. One of the best things cheerleaders can do to reduce injuries is to learn proper techniques for landing.
Parents, teachers, coaches, and athletes must be able to identify the symptoms associated with injuries and to intervene early. The sooner treatment is sought the less likely that the injuries will become chronic and that the cheerleader will suffer chronic pain. However, if you have chronic pain a pain clinic can create a Pain Management program to relieve even eliminate your pain.