Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka suffered an elbow injury that will keep him off the mound for at least 6 weeks. The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Barbarisi reports that Tanaka has a slight tear of his ulnar collateral ligament. We all know that a full tear means Tommy John surgery, and rightly so. The surgery is a modern marvel and has become more famous than the pitcher it is named after!
As these excellent doctors try their best to successfully heal Mr. Tanaka’s elbow—so he can avoid surgery—I will share with you how applied kinesiology could be added to the team approach to healing this athlete (and we are all athletes in our own way) and perhaps help save his career.
Applied kinesiology is another modern marvel started by a man who is not as famous as Tommy John. His name is Dr. George Goodheart and he developed a healing system known as applied kinesiology. It proved to be so successful that Dr. Goodheart was selected to the Olympic Medical Committee in 1980 when he healed the injured hamstring of the Medical Committee Chairman - Dr. Irving Dardik, after other therapies could not!
In this case, and with the information available to me—Mr. Tanaka complaining of arm fatigue, pitching on less rest than he did in Japan, and the assurance that there was no traumatic event like a loud pop—here is my suggestion of what applied kinesiology can add to the therapies being used:
1. It sounds like his elbow is not moving properly and has what is known as a subluxation. A subluxation is where the joint is NOT dislocated, however it is not moving 100% properly either. It is stuck somewhere in between, literally! The elbow is comprised of three joints (humero-radial, humero-ulnar, proximal radio-ulnar) and it appears that at least one of the joints is not functioning in the proper manner.
*A manual adjustment is needed to realign one or all three of the joints. Most likely in this case the humero-ulnar joint is subluxated and causing excessing strain on the ligament that connects the two bones—the infamous ulnar collateral ligament. This joint is probably not moving properly with many pitchers and this may be a major reason they end up tearing the ligament due to the elbow’s compromised position. After all, if it was just a case of overuse then ALL pitchers would get this when they hit a certain cumulative pitch count (This adjustment helps to heal the joint).
2. Kinesiological techniques to restore optimal function to the muscles around the elbow (pronator teres, supinator, wrist flexors etc.) These are specific massage techniques that restore the muscle to its pre-injury status. These techniques should be employed BEFORE physical therapy is initiated (This helps to heal the muscles).
3. Percussion therapy over the ulnar collateral ligament to induce the fibroblasts to synthesize collagen and promote the healing and strengthening of the ligament (This helps to heal the ligaments).
4. NUTRITION—The last aspect that is so often overlooked in ALL injuries is the need for the nutrition that the body needs to heal. Nutrients to stop inflammation and promote the healing of muscles, tendons and ligaments are needed for a complete recovery. This is an entire topic in itself.
Briefly, Vitamin C and the mineral manganese are essential to heal ligaments; omega oils and herbs like curcumin, ginger and boswellia help stop inflammation; and my PROFESSIONAL SPORTS INJURY SECRET—natural anti-histamines! That’s right, natural anti-histamines. Why? Because when a joint is injured it disrupts mast cells which release histamines and cause excessive pain and inflammation. I have used natural anti-histamines with amazing results in healing injured ankles, shoulders, wrists….and yes, elbows (This helps to heal the joint, muscles and ligaments).
Now you have it. How applied kinesiology can be an asset in assisting the medical team working on Masahiro Tanaka’s elbow. It can bring another set of tools to the "Medical Pit Crew” working earnestly to help this athlete do what he loves. This goes for all athletes and remember WE ARE ALL ATHLETES IN OUR OWN WAY!
To Actualizing Your Potential and Your Great Health and Success,
Eugene Charles, D.C., DIBAK Diplomate, International Board of Applied Kinesiology www.charlesseminars.com