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Research Sport Medicine

Sports Medicine Practice

 

Chief Medical Officer: Dr. Antonio Maone
Sports Medicine Specialist


THE USE OF PANCAFIT® AND RAGGI METHOD® IN YOUNG ATHLETES

Dr. Antonio Maone, Sports Medicine Specialist – Centro di Medicina Dello Sport directed by A. Maone - Sesto Fiorentino (FI).
Lorenza Corsi, Rehabilitation Therapist – Centro di Medicina dello Sport directed by A. Maone - Sesto Fiorentino (FI).

PREMISE
Puberty or adolescence is a period of deep physical and psychic transformations.
Adolescents or teenagers are boys and girls aged between 12-13 and 17-18.
In our culture, adolescence starts with a biological event, when the first signs of physical changes are noticeable in the body. It is instead a social event to mark the end of this phase and the beginning of adulthood that is when young people become aware of their autonomous and responsible role towards the world, usually at around 17-18 years old.
Apart from the physical appearance, changes during adolescence also involve feelings and behavior, which are reciprocally influenced by the environment

BIOLOGICAL AND ANAGRAPHIC AGE
Not always is possible to define the phases of adolescence, since two young people having the same anagraphic age can show a different biological age. It is the biological age which defines their real functional maturity. It often happens to have 12/13-year-old people who are still in a pre-puberty phase, and others who instead look like and have the same functionality of mature adolescents, even if they are only 12 years old. In such cases, the same kind of training for an entire group can be inadequate in regard to the real potential of each kid, resulting too light for some of them and too heavy for others.

BIOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF THE CHANGE
It is possible to divide the period of adolescence in two phases; a first pubertal phase (around 12 years old) and a second pubertal phase (around 14 years old). In girls these phases start one year earlier compared to boys.
 
The first phase of adolescence is characterized by a quick growth in terms of height as a consequence of the beginning of a new hormonal activity (testosterone and growth hormone). That is the first visible element. In recent years the height growth has always been around 4-6 centimeters. By the first year of adolescence, it is possible to have up to a 12-13 centimeters growth. For this reason we say that a new cycle begins.
The height growth is related to the lengthening of long bones diaphysis in upper and lower limbs. This leads to a temporary disharmony in physical proportions affecting athletic performance in that period.
As a result of testosterone and growth hormone production, the epiphyseal plates undergo quick morphological and structural changes that temporary reduce the mechanical resistance. In particular, the short bones, especially the vertebrae, get involved in this process, being more vulnerable to loads and to some kinds of movement.
 
During the second phase of adolescence (from 13/14 to 16/17 years old) physical proportions return to be harmonious, and the quantity of testosterone produced keeps increasing (in girls up to 60, in boys up to 600ng/100ml). It is when the musculoskeletal system starts to stabilize; it is therefore possible to start using exercises and methods thought for adults training. However, the training still needs to be progressive, gradually increasing the quantity of work in terms of repetitions first and of intensity then. To increase the number of sessions per week can be the first step. In order to avoid pathologies due to excess load, it is advisable not to prolong the duration of a single session but to increase the number of sessions, instead.
In addition to the principle of progression, due to the great variability between anagraphic and biological age of this age it is also important to identify the right load of work. It is not possible to have two people having the same motor ability and the same reaction to the same load of work. Factors such as their biological age, their healthy status, the level and type of physical activity they have practiced before, their physical and functional constitution, can justify a different reaction in different people doing the same work. The instructor should consult sports doctors, when possible, to have an evaluation of the motor and functional abilities of the subject, who will also play an important role in taking all the necessary decisions.
 
AIM OF THE RESEARCH
In light of these considerations, it often happens that in this period of their life sport adolescents show problems of articular stiffness and contracted muscles. A muscle being subjected to such a modification is in its turn responsible for postural alterations, which talking about lumbar and paravertebral muscles convert in frequent cases of lumbago. In such circumstances it is advisable to intervene with techniques of postural re-education and of kinesitherapy aiming to allow the athletes to reach the best conditions to train with no need of medicines.
At the CENTRO MEDICINA DELLO SPORT (Center of Sports Medicine) directed by Dr. Antonio Maone 24 subjects aged between 12 and 17 years old (15 males and 9 females) have been taken into consideration for a period of 8 months. All of them practiced one of these sports: basketball, soccer, volleyball, athletics. And all of them came to the Center reporting muscular pain and articular stiffness.
 
WORKING METHOD
After being visited by a specialist who excluded the presence of pathologies caused by direct traumas, all the subjects were treated with PANCAFIT® and RAGGI METHOD®.
Aiming to evaluate the utility of the global non-compensated stretching technique developed by Dr. Raggi in these cases, the subjects were treated once a week for 5 weeks. Each session lasted 45 minutes and included exercises of neck and ankle mobilization and exercises to stretch the quadriceps.The treatments then finished with diaphragmatic massage. Before and after each session, the subjects were asked to undergo trunk flexibility tests. Standing on a cube to which a measuring tool was applied, they had to bend forward as much as they can, moving slowly and without bending their knees, in order to evaluate the real improvement of the flexibility in the lumbar tract of the spine.
 
RESULTS
The following results were achieved:
- Excellent in 100% of the cases (24 people) with a reduction of the pain in the lumbosacral tract of the spine and a remarkable improvement in the lumbosacral flexibility, from +6 to +12 centimeters in the different subjects.
All the participants could get back to their sport at a competitive level with no more problems. It is worth pointing out that only one subject had problems in walking after the first session of treatment due to a too intense muscular stretching. The situation, however, was solved in 48 hours.

 

CONCLUSIONS
The results of this report unequivocally show that Pancafit® and Raggi Method® represent a useful method to use also on young people in case of muscular stiffness and contracture caused by muscular imbalance or by an excessive load of work, avoiding the use of medicines.
In the same way, Pancafit® can be used during adolescence to prepare young people to assume a correct posture and to prevent them from developing paramorphisms.