For most people experiencing an injury is a setback. It may be in the form of time off work or cessation of an exercise routine. Though this may be frustrating it is never more so than for the athlete.
Little niggles and strains can be major setbacks in preparation for competitions and the progress of skill development. Management of an individual’s program along with preventative strategies are important for the everybody, whether it be average Joe, the weekend athlete or professional, to avert injuries.
Stability and performance are dependent upon two aspects: the integrity of the physical structures (muscles, joints ligaments) as well as the function of the body’s neural system (Brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves). Muscle adhesions (trigger points, knots), joint restrictions and scar tissue will alter the range of motion and how the body moves. Tightness in what appears to be an unrelated area can alter mechanics causing a pulling along a fascial line or sling.
Equally is important is the neurological system. The neurological system is responsible for the execution of learnt muscle patterns, coordination of balance, pain signals and muscle strength contraction (inhibited or overactive). Slow firing within the system can impact one or all of the operations mentioned above.
Both the neural and physical structures are important for optimal performance and injury prevention. If either or both of these systems are working sub-optimally the potential for injury increases. Muscle tension, inhibited muscles, restriction in motion, delay in reflexes, poor motor patterns all lead to increasing demand on the structures of the body. You may have experienced or heard of people who just bent down to tie their shoelace and their back went. A failure in one or both systems, prior to and at that particular moment caused the injury.
Chiropractic has a lot to offer in both treating and the prevention of injuries, from muscle tears, disc herniations, ligament sprains and many other common types. Ensuring both the physical and neurological systems are working optimally is what chiropractic aims to achieve. Adjustments to the spine stimulate the neurological system ensuring optimal activation. This is an effective strategy for not only the recovery from injuries but in the prevention. Last year I had the privilege to work with LaShawn Merritt. He regularly utilises chiropractic, alongside massage and physiotherapy as part of his training strategy. Whilst working with him I asked him why, curious to get his opinion. To put it briefly, he noticed how much better his body worked and recovered after seeing a chiropractor compared to not seeing one.
Some of the world’s best athletes have been using chiropractic to help them keep in tip top shape. The likes of Evander Holyfield, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods and Usain Bolt have all used chiropractic to minimise the risk of injury but also to improve their performance. Chiropractic is being seen more and more by the world’s top athletes.