As the school year comes to a close, and the days get longer, one of summer’s most cherished garden accessories, the trampoline, gets put to good use. It’s a favorite among the kids, but also the cause of serious injuries.
Many patients ask me my thoughts about the trampoline – and I am torn. As a former gymnast, I am well aware of the ultimate trampoline experience of the highest jump possible, but I am also aware of the numerous injuries which come through the clinic as a result of its use.
Trampolines are a means of fantastic exercise, providing endless entertainment and gravity-defying fun. But the most satisfying trampoline goal of all time, is the all-encompassing-double-bounce, requiring more than one person at a time. But the reports say that more than half of all injuries occurred when two or more children were using the trampoline at one time, leaving the double-bounce the most likely culprit.
During the summer, I see many trampoline injuries in the clinic. These range from basic sprains and strains, concussions, pelvis, hip and knee issues to even fractures from falling off the trampoline, or from impact with other children using it at the same time.
The most common injury is whiplash, affecting the neck and the spine as a result of a double-bounce. The harsh impact of the double-bounce not only whips the head and neck back, but also causes compression through the spine, affecting spinal mechanics and nervous tissue.
Additionally, the traumatic experience of not having control during the impact and jump, and holding the breath in anticipation, creates havoc through the autonomic nervous system and diaphragm, sustaining us in the “fight and flight” mode.
Aside from the obvious mechanical injuries of whiplash and complaints of pain, children do not tolerate a heightened nervous system very well, nor do they tolerate a compression pattern through the aggravated nervous tissues – the menegies. This may affect the child’s mood, behavior, sleep patterns and general disposition.
If your child has been injured on the trampoline, make sure to have them checked out osteopathically to prevent their injuries from becoming worse. Osteopathy works with the body’s innate capacity to heal itself, and in children, this response is very strong and often results in quick recovery.
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