Whether you’re training for a marathon or training for the Olympics—or just working out to stay fit—an injury can be debilitating and disappointing. But a clinic in Eden Prairie has a new approach for helping athletes of all abilities, and even those with chronic pain, to heal their whole body.
Josh Sandell, a sports medicine specialist who works with the Minnesota Vikings, opened the Eden Prairie Orthology Clinic in April. Orthology is a patent-pending methodology developed by Sandell, and it focuses on addressing the entire spectrum of cause and effect that an injury has upon the body, known as the “injury cycle.”
Sandell says more traditional types of injury treatment practices may address a single aspect of an injury without taking a holistic approach that considers the implications for the entire body. Orthology seeks to solve the problem, as opposed to simply relieving symptoms temporarily. “The benefit to addressing the entire injury cycle is that not only do patients get better faster, they tend to have better long term outcomes as well,” he says.
According to Sandell, it is important to understand an injury even in the phase before symptoms begin to appear to be able to treat it properly. “There are two types of injuries,” he explains. “Traumatic injuries, which are caused when healthy tissue is overworked or impacted suddenly, and repetitive stress type injuries, which occur over a longer period of time.”
The key to treating the second type, Sandell says, is in recognizing how it began and what changes the body was making to cope with it before the patient even recognized any symptoms (this is what he calls the “subclinical state,” in which the body is injured but is not yet experiencing pain). “At the subclinical level, an injury causes the body to alter the way it normally moves,” he says. “This causes tissues to be abnormally loaded, eventually resulting in a stress overload for which your body has to compensate.”
Once the body can’t adapt to the injury any longer, that’s when the patient starts to feel pain.
Those being treated for pain at the Eden Prairie Orthology Clinic receive a combination of treatments revolving around strength, flexibility and mobility. All three are equally important, explains Sandell, and treatments that only focus on one of those aspects don’t fully address an injury. Patients work with a variety of professionals, including chiropractors, physical therapists, and massage tissue specialists, who work together to provide holistic treatment.
Olympic track and field bronze medalist Kellie Wells says orthology has helped her stay competitive. Wells was referred to the clinic by her boyfriend, Minnesota Vikings player Jasper Brinkley, a long-time patient of Sandell. Wells originally sought treatment at the orthology clinic for an injury to her achilles tendon. “It had been nagging me for at least two years,” she says. “With just one orthology treatment, it had completely turned around. It was amazing.”
Last fall, Wells underwent hip surgery and went to the clinic several times a week for postoperative care. For Wells, a typical session would include strength exercises, physical therapy aimed at helping improve mobility and a run on the weightless treadmill.
Aside from the excellent care provided, Wells cites the friendliness and expertise of the orthology staff as a major factor in her rapid recoveries. “Everyone there is so friendly and eager to listen,” she says. “They stand out among any of the specialists I’ve been to for their willingness to listen to my concerns about my body, and then make their assessments based on that.”