Chiropractic Care Helps Improve Sports Performance

A chiropractic adjustment does several things. And one thing a chiropractic adjustment absolutely does do is improve joint mobility and range of motion in the joint. With a chiropractic adjustment, you take the joint to tension through its intended range of motion. And by applying a light force and pressure through the joint line, you’re going to hear the traditional kind of pop, crack that comes with it. Well, this isn’t the joint cracking or popping, this is gas being released from a joint, but it verifies that the joint’s moved. So, a prerequisite for a healthy joint is full range of motion, supplemented with balanced muscle strength, stability, and strength within the joint. The chiropractic adjustment can get joints that are stuck, aberrant, and not moving well, and get them moving, which can obviously improve joint mobility and range of motion within the joint. A chiropractic adjustment is a key piece to getting the joint moving, but you’ve got to supplement it with some other key factors, too.

It takes repetition to get joints moving. That’s why chiropractic adjustments in repetition over a period of time are critically important. Once you adjust the joint, it moves. But then, if you’re not addressing muscle imbalance, poor tissue health, poor loading mechanics, biomechanics, then obviously as soon as you start loading that joint again, it’s going to shift, get stuck, and limit range of motion. Limited range increases load, load breaks down joint tissue and nerves.

We want to make sure our spine is in alignment, particularly the low back and the pelvis because that controls all gait function. Chiropractic can help improve your posture through adjustments, physical therapy, and soft tissue therapy. In our practice, chiropractic biophysics takes engineering and math principles to the spine, biomechanical principles, and you can actually objectively change the shape of your spine. If you are looking at someone’s posture from the side, their ear should be on top of their shoulder. And with their head shifted two inches forwards, well, this is going to create stress and tension from the neck into the upper back where the body doesn’t like tension. The side effect of that forward head carriage is that our shoulders are going to protract, which essentially means those shoulders are going to round in. The shoulder blades are going to wing off the rib cage, the humus, your arm’s going to rotate in. Then all of a sudden, you’ve got this impingement.

So, if you are a tennis player and you’re trying to launch a ball above your head and serve it, that’s going to limit your range of motion. If you’re a volleyball player, lifting weights, anything that’s going above your head, all of a sudden, you’ve got a joint that’s out of alignment and you’re creating load in that joint. Well, if it’s out of alignment and it’s increased its load, that’s obviously going to break down the joint, the tissue, the nerve, which is going to over time, lead to an increase in injury.

Again, if you are playing racket sports and you’ve got a tennis ball coming at you and you’ve got a two inch forward head shift, that creates tension in the spinal cord. Your ability to see the tennis ball, process that information, get your racket up and swing is going to be slower than someone who has good posture because they can process stimuli quicker. So, posture is a real big deal for how joints move and then also how we have the physical ability to process stimuli, and there’s some really cool research papers coming out to back that up. Posture is key and chiropractic can absolutely help with that.

Chiropractic isn’t necessarily just the adjustment. The adjustment is key because that allows joints that are stuck and out of alignment to start moving, get back into alignment. That’s key for joint mobility. Chiropractors do lots of soft tissue therapy if joints are out of alignment and not moving well. It forms something called adhesion, which is like glue in a muscle. So, if you’ve got chewing gum stuck in your shoulder joint, it’s going to move but it’s not going to move well. That’s obviously going to limit range, increase load, break the joint down further, and increase the chance for injury. We can clean out that adhesion and do some specific soft tissue techniques.

Balanced muscle strength in a joint is critically important. Anyone playing sports should be having full range in a joint with stable movement patterns and strength in the joint so it can function well under load. We want to make sure that muscles that are critically important for movement, so the core, the pelvic floor, the hamstrings, and the glutes are engaged and switched on.

So, chiropractic care can be a blended approach to all of the above. Good joint mechanics in the adjustment, good, healthy muscle strength through the soft tissue treatment and balanced health and then balanced muscle strength through the rehab. When you add those key components up and you’ve got good range of motion, good stability, good strength in the joint, then your chance for injury is going to be a lot less and your performance is going to be improved. Someone who’s got poor posture, poor joint mechanics, poor muscle health, and poor muscle balance will compensate and over time, break down.

Being proactive in your chiropractic care can absolutely help reduce the chance of injury and improve your overall sports performance. Chiropractic care is just a key piece to the puzzle for people to feel comfortable that they can play sports without having to worry about trauma and injury coming from poor joint mechanics, poor muscle balance, and poor tissue health.

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