Chiropractors work with athletes to make sure their bodies are in alignment with no nerve interference so they can perform at their peak.
How does chiropractic care help athletes who have suffered a sports accident or injury?
Dr. Ira Shapiro: You must remember that in sports, muscles move the bones and the joint makes sure the motion is guided and directed in a proper direction. Efficiency in sport is directly proportional to the alignment with the bone and the health and the integrity of the soft tissues and muscles surrounding that bone. Less than optimal alignment is going to adversely affect an athlete’s performance. What the sports chiropractor does is he goes up and down the different joints of the body ( called the kinetic chain) and realigns them. Remember, you may see a good athlete with bad form but you’ll never see a bad athlete with good form. The chiropractor realigns different joints of the body so that they can function better. When an athlete gets better form they will perform at a more optimum level.
Injuries from overuse are very common among athletes. What can chiropractic care do to help treat overuse injuries and the problems that result?
Dr. Ira Shapiro: Remember, what we call muscle tone is the blood flowing through the muscles, the muscles using a nutrient in the blood, creating a waste product and the waste product gets taken away. When we use the muscle a whole lot more than it’s used to being used, like an overuse injury, the muscle needs more nutrient. It needs more nutrient and in turn creates more waste product but the muscle isn’t used to taking away the extra amount of waste product. As the waste product builds up in the muscle, it gets to a certain point that triggers the muscle to spasm or to tighten because theoretically if the muscle didn’t go into spasm, we could actually pull the muscle off the bone. In turn, the body has a defense mechanism … that spasm. What the sports chiropractor does is he works with the relationship between the soft tissues and the bones and the effect that has on the nervous system. By treating the injuries to the soft tissue due to the overuse, we can prevent these injuries from happening, these overuse injuries, and have the athlete heal a lot sooner.
What chiropractic methods and strategies do you use to help speed up the healing and recovery process for athletes?
Dr. Ira Shapiro: In our office, it is a combination. We use spinal manipulation, we will use some form of passive modality whether it’s going to be ultrasound or muscle IASTM or a cold laser … then we also do some soft tissue techniques. Whether it is FAKTR, whether it is active-release technique and additionally, what we do is we put the patients on a rehabilitative exercise protocol. You crawl before you walk, before you run, so you start out with the athletes with basic range of motion activities then give them some proprioception, or stabilizing exercises then we move from there into the resistance or strength training.
For healthy athletes, are there chiropractic techniques that help prevent injuries?
Dr. Ira Shapiro: Yes, there are because a lot of the athletes come in before they have any pains or any aches and what they’re looking to do is they want to make sure that their joints and their body are in optimal alignment. This enables them to perform better. Remember, structure is related to function and the more structurally sound the athlete is, the better that they’re going to be able to perform at their optimum levels.
Have you seen improved performance in athletes that have regular chiropractic care?
Dr. Ira Shapiro: Yes, I have. When I was at the Olympics, most athletes had been under some form of chiropractic care. They knew the benefits of the care, that’s why they were seeking out chiropractic care. They were able to find that they were able to perform at a higher level when they have no nerve interference due to bones that are misaligned in different parts of the body.
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