Many of our patients here in downtown Chicago are typical corporate athletes which involves a lot of sedentary activity. If we are sedentary in the winter, we are sitting and not moving as much. In addition, muscles that are designed to stabilize the spine are designed to pick up on movement, for example the core stabilize the hips, and the hamstrings and the glutes physically move us along. If we have been sedentary during the cold winter months, our joints have not been moving and the muscles that work off of movement are now weak and lazy.
Now that the nice weather is here, we are up and out and moving again. We are out walking, running and hiking with joints that are not moving and muscles that are not stabilizing us and having to work harder. This creates joints that shift or what we call subluxation. Subluxations create stress and tension on joint tissue and nerves and that’s going to create pain and dysfunction. Subsequently, if a joint is not moving as well or as much as it should, the muscles that cross that joint are then going to have to work harder. If muscles, ligaments, or tendons that move us are working harder, then over time they can break down. When they break down, those muscles become weak and inflexible.
Chiropractic care finds these subluxations and increases the biomechanics and gets the joints functioning better. Healthy joints have full range of motion. Chiropractors can improve the joint’s range of motion through both a blend of chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue therapy. Chiropractors can prescribe physical therapy based on orthopedic and functional exams that are performed on the patient to focus on those muscle groups that aren’t doing their job to create good movement and stability in the area that we’re moving, typically the lower back and the hip, and/or the neck, upper back, and shoulders.
Many of our clients also love to golf when the weather gets nicer. We work with a couple of golf performance centers here in the city of Chicago. Golf is obviously a sport that requires a lot of rotation just due to that golf swing. Well, in life we walk north to south, we don’t do much east to west movement, and then we typically don’t rotate. So, if a joint is stuck and it’s not rotating, then the backswing is going to be limited, you’re not going to get as far back, and you can’t generate as much force and velocity. Rotation is very important as you contact the ball and follow through. If you are limited in your rotational follow-through, that is going to affect the way you contact the ball and the trajectory of the ball off the golf club.
We also focus on good pelvic floor activation because the core stabilizes the hips, and we want a nice strong base for the spine to rotate through. Then we focus on good biomechanics of the spine, particularly in the lateral bending, and in the rotational aspect, which are the two main movements of the golf swing. After that we focus on good balanced muscle strength, and good tissue health to make sure that that tissue allows that joint to move as fully or in as much range of motion as possible.
When you blend all that together and you’ve got good control of the pelvic floor and the hips and the lower back with good range of motion and balanced muscle strength, we’ve seen many patients just add yards and yards onto their golf swing, which they absolutely love.
To summarize, chiropractors can help get people sports ready. When we improve joint function, help create balanced muscle strength, and get the posterior chain, core, glute, and hamstring muscles nice and active, then we can run, hike, golf and play sports without having to worry about pain, dysfunction and an increase in injury.