Chiropractic care makes sure the spine is in alignment so that the body can move and function at its best. This is especially important when transitioning from winter into the spring season which involves fighting off allergies and participating in more strenuous activities.
How does chiropractic care prepare the body for sports and help prevent sports injuries?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Great question. I don’t think you will find a professional sports team in the country that doesn’t have a chiropractor on staff. And if they don’t, I can guarantee you, those players will be seeking out chiropractic care on their own. But chiropractic care is part and parcel with sports and helping prevent sports injuries, right? I think we discussed this on a similar podcast that we did a couple of months ago.
Let’s talk about joint function. So, a joint in the spine or the extremities, so shoulder or knee for example, is designed to move with full range of motion, right? Not only should it have full range of motion, but balanced muscle strength is a prerequisite for a healthy joint. So, if we have trauma and injury, so obviously smashing into people playing football or coming down from dunking a basketball, and we have those traumas that occur during sports, well that can create joints to lock up and joints to shift. So now if you are moving physically with a joint that’s locked up and/or not moving, that creates compensation within the joint. Obviously, compensation in a joint can put pressure on a disc and lead to disc injuries, put pressure on a nerve and create pain, but it also can create muscles that anchor into that joint to work harder than they should.
So then, if muscles, ligaments, tendons, and soft tissue, are working harder than they should, then they’re going to break down. When they break down, they form adhesion, imagine adhesion is chewing gum, it’s scar tissue essentially. So, we have adhesion in a joint, what does that do? It limits our range of motion even further. So then, we’re functioning around a joint that isn’t moving well, stabilized by weak, inflexible tissue, and that’s just a remedy and a prerequisite for pain dysfunction, which is essentially a sports injury, right?
So, chiropractic care can do what? It can make sure the spine and the joint are in alignment, it can make sure the spine and the joint are moving with good range of motion. We can make sure, through soft tissue therapy, that the tissue is healthy and then obviously, supplementing that with rehab to make sure there are no muscle imbalances in the joint. So, when that joint’s loaded under tension, so we’re physically loading it and it’s moving, it’s moving with good range of motion, healthy tissue and it’s stabilized, that’s a remedy for creating less injury while we’re functioning. Caveat, obviously if you run into someone and you tackle them with your shoulder and your shoulder dislocates, then that’s completely different, obviously, kettle of fish, right? Sprinting full speed, and a hamstring blows out, that’s a different kettle of fish. But overall, good joint function, balance, muscle strength is going to allow us to move well with stability. Moving well with stability is going to decrease our chance of essentially breaking down with an injury.
In what ways does chiropractic care improve joint mobility and flexibility?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Chiropractic care is designed to do what? Get joints within the spine and/or the extremity moving. So, chiropractors are trained on performing detailed orthopedic exams and subluxation exams, all different types of exams that essentially can, X-rays as well, pinpoint poor joint function. So, if a joint isn’t moving well, why isn’t it moving well? Is it because it’s locked up? Then that joint needs adjusting. Is it because the soft tissue that anchors into that joint isn’t healthy enough to allow that joint to move? So then obviously, we need to take care of the soft issue. If the joint and the soft tissue are being adjusted and treated, that’s going to allow the joint to move better. If the joint’s moving better, then essentially, we’ve got better flexibility.
Alignment within the global joint is going to be really important for mobility and flexibility. For example, if you had that corporate posture and your head shifted forwards and your shoulders round, then you try and raise your shoulder above your head, but that shoulder’s rotated in, that’s going to create impingement in the shoulder. So poor range of motion plus loads. If you’re in the gym and you’re moving weight, the shoulder isn’t moving well and it’s under tension, that’s obviously going to break the joint down.
So, by addressing subluxations, poor joint function in the spine and in the joint, working on spinal alignment, good posture, breaking down poor tissue, and stabilizing those muscles that essentially move us, when we go to move the shoulder or the knee or the hip, which has better ability and flexibility, that’s obviously going to improve how the joint moves. We obviously decrease the chance for pain and dysfunction and injury.
Could you please explain how chiropractic care helps with allergies?
Dr. Luke Stringer: We’ve got a couple of great testimonials with some patients in the office with their allergies. But essentially C2, you have seven bones in your neck, C stands for cervical, it’s your neck, and then obviously 2 is the second bone in your neck. That nerve actually comes out of your brain, into the spine, and loops back into your brain, and that’s the nerve that innervates your sinuses. So, your sinuses help control and regulate allergies. We’ve had many patients come in with specific allergies through pets and/or seasonal allergies, so we’re always going to focus on upper cervical care.
So when those joints are in alignment and they’re moving well, and that nerve is being stimulated, it sends a message to the brain, the brain processes information and allows that joint and that nerve and that organ function to function better.
Chiropractic care is renowned for helping patients with allergies, specifically for focusing in that upper cervical region. It’s all to do with creating less stress on the nerve that controls those sinuses, and obviously sinuses are super important when we’re discussing allergies and the seasonal allergies as well.
How does chiropractic care help increase energy levels?
Dr. Luke Stringer: I think for this question, we need to discuss metabolic syndrome or metabolic diseases. If we’re, for example, again, we’ll focus on our clinic, we’re sitting at a desk in poor posture, 40, 50, 60 hours a week, then poor posture creates those micro-stresses over time. Micro-stresses add up, and when we’re in that chronically stressed state, poor posture, then the body increases its production of cortisol. And when cortisol is produced, it interferes with hormone reception, particularly insulin within the cells. So then if we have insulin in the blood, it’s going to mess around with our ability to proliferate and absorb hormones. So, then that can create what we call those lifestyle diseases. In our practice it is typically poor sleep, poor mood, poor energy levels, low libido, and inability to gain and/or lose weight.
So, when your spine is in good alignment, and the joints are functioning well, and there’s no stress on the nervous system that’s just going to allow us to physiologically function better. The body’s natural state is to express health. If we’re not expressing health through those corporate lifestyle diseases that we just discussed, and the body’s under stress, if we can remove those stresses through chiropractic adjustments, good habits when we’re eating, and then obviously supplement that with exercise, then chiropractic care can absolutely increase a patient’s ability to function with more energy.
Back pain can prevent people from exercising and getting out and about. How can chiropractic care help alleviate back pain to get people moving again?
Dr. Luke Stringer: Yeah, great question. If you’ve been sedentary in the winter, and we just discussed this earlier, Liz, it’s about to be what, zero degrees here in Chicago? Obviously, that limits our ability to move due to not being able to go outside. So, we’re then sedentary, we are not moving important muscles that we need to stabilize the body, like our core helps stabilize the hips and the low back, the glutes and our hamstrings essentially help move us along. If they’re kind of all weak and lazy, then spring rolls around, we jump up, we start to move, but we’ve got poor alignment in the low back from too much sedentary activity, for example, sitting in a flex position at work, joints are subluxated from that sedentary activity and not moving well. Then the muscles have to work harder and we discussed muscles working harder than they should, or soft tissue, should I say, working harder that it should, that creates compensation, and that creates adhesion, which creates weak, inflexible tissue. Then we try to move with a joint and a spine that’s out of alignment. The joints aren’t moving with weak, inflexible tissue, then that’s a recipe for lower back pain, right? And compensation.
So, a chiropractor can evaluate joint function, a prerequisite for a healthy joint is range of motion. So, find the joints in the lower back that aren’t moving well and then deliver chiropractor adjustments to get those joints moving.
You can’t just leave it there. You’ve got to discuss how alignment affects load in a joint. Obviously, if the joint’s under too much pressure, it’s not going to move well, so then we have to discuss alignment. So, to make sure the spine is aligned, you do that through delivering spinal-specific traction. Muscles have to be healthy, so if we’ve got chronic broken-down tissue it’s not going to allow the joint to move well. We need to get rid of that adhesion through specific soft tissue treatment. And if we’re going to be exercising with that low back, we want to make sure that all those muscles that are super important, the core helps stabilize the low back and the hips, the hamstrings are engaged, the glutes are engaged. So, when you are physically upright and you are moving, all the muscles are sequencing and firing as they should, then obviously, that’s going to decrease our chance for low back pain. And/or if those things aren’t happening and that’s creating your back pain, obviously that’s how we’re going to correct your low back pain. And without low back pain, good joint function, good alignment, good balance, and muscle strength, there’s absolutely no reason they shouldn’t be able to do what they are assigned to do, move without restriction.
If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Luke Stringer visit www.southloopchiropractor.com or call (312) 987-4878 to schedule an appointment.