Minimizing the Risk of Injury
Chiropractic care is not only exceptional in the treatment of acute and chronic injuries but is equally successful in preventing future injuries when regular care is received. Why is chiropractic care so effective in sports? Simply, chiropractic focuses on the cause of the deficiency or injury and not just the symptoms. All sports experts agree that pain relief alone in the management of sports injuries is not enough. Only treatments like chiropractic which deal with all aspects of the athlete – sufficient warm-up, proper technique, correct biomechanics, proper conditioning, optimizing balance and coordination, optimizing reaction times, correct management of existing injuries, optimal diet and nutrition, adequate rest, positive mental attitude, etc. – will allow the athlete to excel and avoid detrimental injury. According to an article in a 1997 issue of the Backletter, “Athletes are going to breakdown if they put high physical demands on a system that has function deficits & adaptive changes. 80% of reinjuries in sport occur within one month of going back-“
A study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness demonstrates the necessity of correct spinal biomechanics. Examiners followed 52 high level soccer and rugby players for 2 years to assess the relationship between injuries and body mechanics. Using photographs along with grids they were able to document the most common body mechanic deficiencies. The following lists the top 5 deficiencies:
- excessive lumbar curve
- excessive thoracic curve
- sway back
- shoulder asymmetry
At the end of the 2 years, the most common injuries were back injuries, affecting 24 of the 52 athletes. The incidence of injury was linked to the body mechanic defects associated with the site of injury. The researchers concluded that their results strongly suggest that treating biomechanical deviations would dramatically reduce the risk of high level athletic injuries.
In addition to correcting biomechanical faults, chiropractic care has been scientifically shown to stimulate and correct the functioning of joint proprioceptors. The proper firing and functioning of these joint proprioceptors are essential for eliciting subconscious spinal reflexes that alter muscle action to control posture and complex movements. This provides functional stability which is essential for the prevention of injuries in the athlete. According to Dickinson, MD, “Loss of feedback control ‘from improper functioning joint proprioceptors’ may be the cause of reinjury to the same joint.”
- Watson. J Sports Med & Physical Fitness 1995;35(4):289-294
- Wiesel MD.Backletterl997;12(5):57.Herring, MD quotation.
- Lachman, MA, MD. Soft tissue injuries in sport 2nd ed London, Blackwell Scientific Publications 1994:12-31
- Dickinson, MD. Clinics in sports med 1985; 4(3):417-429: