Chiropractic in Sports
When a runner injures a calf midway through the race, or a footballer pulls a hamstring as he kicks the ball the same way as he has kicked it thousands of times before, it may not be the running or the kicking that has caused the injury, but an underlying problem that is finally showing itself. Whether it is a previously undetected spinal mechanical problem, or years of poor body mechanics, the resulting injury could potentially signal the end of a sporting career.
Whether you are an amateur sports enthusiast or a professional athlete, your body is prone to the same kind of injuries. Repeated stresses can lower the efficiency of the musculoskeletal system, alter proper movement in the joints or reduce the elasticity of muscles and tendons, producing strain of ligaments and irritation of nerves. It is possible that you may have ignored the signs of tiredness or even pain carrying on with your sport for too long without treatment, now to find yourself with a chronic injury. It is common for Chiropractors to see athletes with:
- Hamstring and calf strains
- Achilles tendon injuries
- Groin and thigh sprains
- Neck and lower back pain
- Shoulder injuries
- Tennis elbow
These injuries often recur, shortening promising sporting careers and reducing amateurs enthusiasm.
Injury is not the only problem for professionals or amateur athletes. Many find that they reach a limit in their performance, not being able to improve further, however hard training they put in. This is why so many top athletes consult chiropractors to help them improve the functional efficiency of their body. There are Chiropractors with a special training (specialization) in sports.
The three advantages
As well as speeding up recovery from injury, Chiropractic can enhance your performance, and help prevent future problems.
Unlike painkilling drugs, Chiropractic aims at correcting the underlying cause of the problem, rather than just the symptoms. In order to fully understand what is going wrong, the chiropractor will perform a full evaluation of the functional state of your body, he will ask you questions regarding the details of your daily and sporting activities, your posture, lifestyle and habits. He will then apply the necessary manipulation, in order to mobilize stiff joints or free any compressed nerves. This effective treatment is generally painless, although you may occasionally feel some short-term discomfort around the injured area. Treatment will normally be followed by a rehabilitation program to strengthen the muscles, improve your flexibility and prevent future flare-ups.
Chiropractic treatment aims at restoring normal function to joints, muscles and nerves, but may also increase body control, co-ordination and muscle strength.
Like most athletes who have benefited from chiropractic care, you may decide to return for regular check-ups, in order to keep your body working at its best. Regardless of your age, condition or health, chiropractic care may improve your athletic potential.
Many top sports teams now have a chiropractor as part of their medical faculty.
How to prevent recurrences?
This, of course, depends on the type of problem, but many sports injuries are a result of poor preparation. It is vitally important that you warm up before you start, and stretch when you have finished. If you have been away from your sport for a long time, your body will be less fit and supple, making injury more likely. In any case, your chiropractor will be able to advise you accordingly.
Will chiropractic improve performance?
It is very probable. Correcting the cause of injury by improving the function of joints, muscles and nerves is the reason that many top athletes receiving Chiropractic care, find that their performance is enhanced.
What about just "running it off"?
This is usually not a good idea. If your body isn't working properly, you will continue to overload the injured area, prolonging the healing process. When your chiropractor corrects the mechanical problems of your joints, muscles and nerves, the injury will heal more quickly and it will be less likely to come back.