Sports medicine accessible to all patients

Sports medicine is not tailored for just high-end or casual athletes.

Man doing physical therapy exercises using a stretch band

“Life is a sport,” said Dr. Kevin Machino, a physiatrist with Intermountain Health. “In my eyes, everyone is an athlete, whether they have disabilities, whether they don’t; whether they’re kids or adults. There’s a whole spectrum of athletes in my eyes.”

With the recent Super Bowl and other sports events coming into Las Vegas, Dr. Machino said it’s an exciting time to be in the sports medicine field and added he can help people activate their inner athlete.

“There are a lot of opportunities coming. The sports world is growing in Las Vegas,” Dr. Machino said. “I’m here to provide anything that can help you.”

Sports medicine is an all-encompassing medical field that treats acute injuries such as sprains but also chronic injuries like arthritis. Dr. Machino sees patients of all ages, ranging from 10-year-old aspiring athletes to senior patients with a long history of chronic physical ailments.

“Arthritis is not the first thing people think of when they say sports medicine,” Dr. Machino said. “But it’s something I treat as well.”

His specialty is treating injuries without the need for surgery. The most common treatment option is through physical exercise, while more advanced treatments involve options using regenerative medicine such as platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections at the site of injury.

Dr. Machino prefers not to prescribe oral pain medication to his patients except in more severe cases where medication is required. He doesn’t want his patient to rely on pain medication to provide relief. He takes a conservative approach, only ramping up if both he and the patient feel it’s needed.

“You can really break down and make an exercise into a prescription. I may not be writing it out like your primary doctor giving you a prescription for your blood pressure medicine, but we can specify the frequency, intensity, and type of exercise for each patient,” he said. “My goal is to take people off pain medication rather than put people on them. If someone can benefit from one injection that prevents them from constantly taking pain pills, that’s something I prefer.”

Dr. Machino focuses heavily on preventative care, meaning if he can help develop a plan to prevent future injuries from reoccurring, he’ll go with that as a treatment option. Most of it comes from exercise, which Dr. Machino shows the patients in the clinic how to perform them without risking further injury.

“What I try to do as a sports medicine doctor is promote that concept of how exercise is medicine,” he said. “There are a lot of studies and evidence suggesting that any cardiovascular fitness that people can perform at any level can provide heart health, joint health, bone health and everything in between. That’s really the central umbrella of spectrum and philosophy of sports medicine.”

Dr. Machino, who completed his residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation and subspecialty in sports medicine, always had a passion for athletics. He played sports growing up, which helped him develop the passion for using exercise as medicine.

“Physical activity and exercise are something I’m going to promote. My job is to make sure you’re doing it safely, so patients aren’t putting themselves in danger,” Dr. Machino said. “I always say, ‘Motion is lotion.’ You got to keep using your joints and muscles, and even your mind, to keep everything moving. This allows us to do our day-to-day activities. It’s good for brain health, heart health and joint health.”

Part of being well is being heard.