HealthFit’s approach to injuries and kinesiology
HealthFit’s sports medicine physician Dr. Kiyoshi Yamazaki is expertly trained and equipped to diagnose and heal physical injuries. He uses a multidisciplinary approach to treat all injuries.
Sports related injuries can include muscle strains, tendinitis (sometimes spelled tendonitis) or chronic overuse conditions. Dr. Yamazaki also helps nonathletes return to their daily activities and recover from work related injuries, car accidents and other issues causing disability, chronic pain and discomfort.
Dr. Yamazaki offers many treatment options in the HealthFit office. But when individual cases require supplemental attention, he will refer out to a subspecialty orthopedic surgeon, to a kinesiologist or to a physical therapist.
Injury treatment & rehabilitation
HealthFit is devoted to helping patients recover from an injury in a timely manner that fully restores their pre-injury abilities and function. The HealthFit sports medicine physician helps athletes recover from sports-related injuries, as well as helping those not injured in sports but injured at home, in the workplace or as the result of an accident.
Dr. Yamazaki treats patients with injuries that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Knee injuries.
- Shoulder injuries.
- Groin pulls.
- Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow).
- Hamstring strains.
Dr. Yamazaki performs a hands-on examination to determine the extent of the injury and to properly diagnose it. He utilizes onsite sports musculoskeletal ultrasound to further enhance his understanding of the diagnosis. Additional X-rays or other imaging evaluations may also be required, which are done at Castle Rock Adventist Hospital, located on the same campus as HealthFit.
Injury treatment options
Many injuries respond well to simple treatments that we can begin in our office and patients can continue on their own once properly directed. This can involve over-the-counter medications for pain and inflammation, prescribed exercises to promote proper healing, and steps to avoid re-injury and to slowly return to pre-injury activities.
An injury may require Dr. Yamazaki to temporarily apply a functional brace to provide stabilization for a sprain, strain or other injury. Other options include nonsurgical guided injections, such as cortisone or platelet-rich plasma injections.
Depending on the specific injury, rehab may involve physical rehabilitation methods, exercise prescriptions, bracing/taping, incorporating physical or occupational therapy, treatment for pain related to the injury, and sports reconditioning to restore optimal athletic performance.
Post-treatment rehabilitation referrals
Some injuries require treatment by an orthopedic surgeon, and Dr. Yamazaki refers such patients to trusted sub-specialists. He may prescribe rehabilitation after more serious injuries to help patients who need time and physical guidance to adequately recover. This can include referral to kinesiologists we work with (see below).
When patients need further help decreasing pain and regaining their strength or skills they have lost due to the injury, we refer them to physical or occupational therapists.
As a sports medicine physician, Dr. Yamazaki has special training in evaluating and treating concussions. A concussion is a type of brain injury resulting from a sudden jolt or blow to the head. Incidents causing concussions place strong forces on the brain, often knocking it against the inside of the skull. This can lead to an array of symptoms, which may include:
- Blurred vision.
- Impaired cognitive abilities (confusion, disorientation).
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Sensitivity to light and sound.
Concussion symptoms typically appear right after the injury is sustained, but they can show up hours or even days after the initial impact. Symptoms may persist for 1 to 2 weeks or longer.
A person should be taken to the emergency room for evaluation immediately if the following occur:
- Loses consciousness for more than a brief moment.
- Complains of neck or back pain.
- Displays signs of a seizure.
- Has a headache that steadily worsens over time (a potential sign of brain bleeding).
- Not acting like himself or herself.
The HealthFit sports medicine provider evaluates patients who suspect, or whose parents or a loved one suspect, they’ve sustained a concussion. Dr. Yamazaki will monitor the patient during recovery. If the injury is sports related, he will advise the athlete on when it is safe to return to sport as well as how to avoid future concussions. He will also orchestrate expedited referral to a neurologist if complications arise beyond his level of expertise.
ImPACT® concussion management
Dr. Yamazaki uses the ImPACT application to provide HealthFit patients with the safest and most effective concussion management. This computer-based program is a common practice for professional athletes. But now this tool can also be used for a grade-schooler suffering an injury during her first soccer game, for the high school football star, for adult weekend warriors and for everyone in between.
The ImPACT test will assist in the evaluation of an athlete’s recovery following a concussion. It helps Dr. Yamazaki evaluate multiple aspects of neurocognitive functioning, including attention span, memory, reaction time, brain processing speed and post-concussive symptoms.
Generally, recovering from a concussion involves lots of rest, avoiding mentally strenuous activities, and a protocol-based reintroduction to daily routines and physical activity.
Return-to-play decision making
From initial treatment on through any needed therapy, our sports medicine physician regularly partners with athletes, coaching staffs and team athletic trainers to determine a player’s ability to return to a sport. This is often done in conjunction with an injury rehab program. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the player is properly rehabilitated after an injury and is not putting himself or herself at an abnormal risk for re-injury or additional harm.
Kinesiology referrals for maximizing function
When further rehabilitation to rebuild or recover from an injury is needed after nonsurgical treatment, Dr. Yamazaki will generally refer patients to a kinesiologist. Although the scopes of kinesiology and physical therapy overlap, each type of referral center has its own unique benefits.
A kinesiologist improves a person’s mobility, strength and endurance. While physical therapists can do many of the offerings of a kinesiologist, they often spend most of their time treating injured tissues and perfecting the muscle movement injured in an accident or affected by an underlying musculoskeletal condition.
The difference between kinesiology and physical therapy
This diagram shows ways kinesiology and physical therapy are similar and how they differ as an injury rehabilitation option.
HealthFit refers out for both physical therapy and kinesiology services. Dr. Yamazaki looks at which one would offer the best services for the patient’s specific needs and discusses the options with the patient.
HealthFit refers out to HealthFit Gym located right next to the practice for all kinesiology treatments. For physical therapy treatments, the HealthFit team will work with patients to find the best location for them. A physical therapy department is located in the Castle Rock Adventist Hospital, on the same campus as HealthFit, which is often a great option for patients in the area.
Partnering with kinesiologists
Kinesiologists are human movement specialists, trained to understand human anatomy and physiology as they relate to the complex mechanics powering the muscles, bones and nervous system. With a broad knowledge of the interrelationship of these systems, a kinesiologist helps identify areas of imbalance and prescribes certain exercise activities and therapies to correct them.
Kinesiologists work with all musculoskeletal injuries and issues, including people with bio-mechanics and movement troubles and those wanting a lifestyle change to increase their fitness levels. In a sports medicine sense, they also assist people wanting to increase their athletic performance.
A kinesiologist’s scope of practice extends beyond that of a typical gym trainer and goes deeper than simply writing a workout. Kinesiologists focus on the whole body, starting from the inside out and creating a psychological and physiological awareness to help their clients understand how they move. Kinesiologists often form a bond with their clients and help them through the toughest issues.