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Sports Medicine Scams

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        <p>Many people are familiar with and use alternative medical
therapies. Most of these therapies have little research to support their
use, yet remain popular with the general public. At COAST Rehab Services,
we consider it a priority and part of our mission to provide our patients
and the public with accurate and up to date information, especially as it
pertains to health and sports medicine. We understand that conventional
medicine doesn't appeal to everyone and that alternative therapies can be
very beneficial. The more accurate the information made available, the
better able people are to make decisions regarding their physical
therapy.<br><br>A recent article in The Sporting News discussed the use
of Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber therapy. Some professional teams and
training centers use these devices in the belief that healing time (of an
injury) can be significantly shortened. Several professional hockey teams
used hyperbaric oxygen therapy (pregame doses) a decade ago, with near
disastrous results, because they believed it would enhance performance.
Hyperbaric oxygen is a mode of therapy in which the patient breathes 100%
oxygen at pressures greater than normal atmospheric (sea level) pressure.
During treatment a patient sits in a closed chamber that is filled with
pure oxygen at high pressure, usually for several hours. The healing
power of pressurized oxygen has long been acknowledged for deep sea
divers suffering from "the bends" and for other emergency infections and
injuries treated in a hospital. But, the FDA has not approved the use of
hyperbaric oxygen for the treatment of sports injuries, neurological
conditions such as cerebral palsy, MS, migraine and strokes, or other
illnesses such as cancer and AIDS - the targeted patient population of
these sports medicine scam artists. In fact, there are no sound, valid
scientific studies that support that use. Beyond the questionable
therapeutic value, there are potentially deadly dangers in hyperbaric
therapy (seizure, fire). Emergencies are difficult to deal with because
it takes several minutes to decompress the chamber before anyone can open
the hatch to help the patient. For this and other reasons, the Undersea
and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) has a well-established
recommendation that hyperbaric chambers should be hospital-
based.<br><br>Magnet therapy is the latest rage among athletes, who claim
it reduces pain and muscle soreness. It involves wearing small, static
magnetic disks or sleeping on magnetic mattress pads. These magnets are
very different from medical devices that produce pulsed electromagnetic
fields which have been demonstrated effective for treating fractures. In
fact, almost all of these magnetic disks produce no significant magnetic
field at or beneath the skin's surface. The FDA has recently been
investigating the claims being made by the companies that market these
magnets, since magnetic disks have not been approved by the FDA for those
purposes (that magnets can cure, treat, or mitigate any disease or can
affect any change in the human body). To avoid trouble with the FDA, most
suppliers emphasize only "comfort" and usually specifically state "no
medical claims are made". Many magnetic therapy products have alternating
arrays of north and south poles (multipolar) facing the patient. The
"reach" (penetration) of this magnetic field is weak—a few millimeters
at best. The mechanism most commonly offered for various therapeutic
effects of magnets is improved blood circulation, despite a clear lack of
evidence for such an effect (and despite the fact that blood is not
magnetic). At present, we have no good reason to believe that magnets
have any more healing power than crystals or copper
bracelets.<br><br>Like most things in life, if it's too good to be true,
it probably is. Sports medicine scams may simply separate you from your
money or threaten your physical well-being. Consult a physician,
physical therapist or sports medicine specialist before placing your body
(and wallet) at risk.</p>        <!--INFOLINKS_OFF-->
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