You won’t find a professional basketball, baseball, football, or soccer organization in America that doesn’t have a chiropractor on staff. They all have one. We see professional athletes in the clinic, but the athletes that we tend to see most often are what we call the weekend warriors. Weekend warriors are those athletes that work really hard in a corporate job, and they love to work out doing anything from CrossFit and lifting weights to running marathons.
The reason professional athletes are seeing chiropractors is to get that last two or three percent out of their bodies to perform at a really high level. By performing at a high level particularly in America, that’s how you get paid the big bucks. So professional athletes really don’t leave any stone unturned.
Russell Wilson has two or three chiropractors on staff. James Harrison, a former Steelers linebacker had two or three chiropractors on staff. They were paying six figures a year just to maintain bodies so they could function at a high level because essentially that’s their job.
I have a good friend who is the head of the medical department at FC Copenhagen, a professional soccer team out in Denmark. And he practices a technique called applied kinesiology. So, for every player who goes out for training or a match, he will evaluate their kinesiology. He’ll take all the extremities, so the legs, the arms, the spine through certain tests, and he’ll see where that limb is deficient, or is creating weakness. He will then adjust the joint, which houses the nerve that innervates that body part. And retest them. And I’ve been there, and I’ve witnessed it. It’s really cool. They’ll come on the table, take a bunch of checks and they’ll see some weakness in the left extremity. They will adjust for example, their low back, re-check it in the left leg, and switch it on.
Whenever we speak to our patients that just really enjoy working out, our runners, our CrossFitters, we ask them, “Why wouldn’t you utilize what the professional athletes are utilizing? You could maximize your performance when running a marathon or performing a CrossFit game.”
You’ve got to make sure you find the right type of chiropractor for you. A proactive approach would be to make sure the spine is in alignment and it’s moving well so you can accommodate the load that you’re going to put on your back when squatting. Chiropractors can make sure your hips are in alignment and they function well so when you run a Chicago marathon, they are moving in alignment, so you are not going to be compensating, creating hip, low back pain or knee or ankle pain.
But on the flip side of that, chiropractors can also help you recover from an injury. For example, if you ran a marathon and you had poor hip alignment and poor glute function, it created shifts in the low back, which created knee pain and low back pain. So, you might want to see a chiropractor on a reactive basis, to treat an injury.
At Advanced Health Chiropractic, we always want to be proactive. The treatments professional athletes and weekend warriors get are the same treatments that the average Joe gets who sits at his or her desk for 50-60 hours a week. So, if you’re going to run a marathon, you’re going to start adding 50, 60, 70 miles a week into your running routine. If you haven’t done that before, that’s a massive amount of repetitive stress. Go see your chiropractor to make sure you can handle that repetitive stress. A visit to the chiropractor is going to take less time, energy, and effort than not seeing a chiropractor, getting injured, and then having to deal with an injury while also trying to run a marathon.
If you’re in pain because the joint shifted in your low back and it’s not moving while it’s compressing the nerve, then you need to get adjusted. If you’re running and you’re getting hip, low back, knee, or ankle pain, is that coming from a muscle imbalance? So, we need to evaluate what’s firing in what we call the posterior, the hamstring, the glutes, the low back, and the pelvic floor.
If you sustain a repetitive motion injury, the first protocol is to get rid of the inflammation and restore range of motion. You’ve got to do that through adjustments and physical therapy and modalities. The second phase is to break down scar tissue in the joint that’s being affected. Then we’ve got to stabilize with soft tissue therapy, more adjustments, more stability, and then strengthening work.
If we just focus on range of motion within the joint, if it’s the spine or the extremity, it is paramount for performance. Imagine you’re going up to catch a ball and your shoulder is limited in its range of motion. That’s an issue because you can’t get your arm up there, or you get your arm up there, but it’s weak because you’ve got impingement in the nerve in your neck. Chiropractors can improve the range of motion of that joint through adjustments or through soft tissue therapy.
Professional athletes are seeing chiropractors before or after games regularly throughout the week just to maintain good alignment. Good alignment allows good range of motion. Good range of motion allows good load into the joint and the tissue. Good load supplemented with balance strength allows for optimal function on a bio mechanical level.
So, if you’re an athlete, I would highly recommend seeing a chiropractor.