The young athletes of today are faced with tough competition. Not only against the opponent, but also in just making the “team”; whether they’re training to make Varsity, the select team, state, nationals, or even the local pick-up recreation game. The pressures to succeed are greater than ever. Their skills, training methods, practices and games are constantly on display with such an abundance of information accessible to coaches and recruiters through social media. Young Athletes are heading to the gyms, practice facilities, therapists, coaches, trainers, and stat tracking devices to help them gain that edge above the competition; but what about the Chiropractor?
Chiropractic has an important role in most athletes’ arsenal to help them play harder, faster, stronger, and longer than before. In fact most professional and college athletic programs have at least one chiropractor preventing and treating injury in their teams, and overall helping their athletes be the best they can be. More often than not though, young athletes wait until injury strikes before seeking out help in managing their recovery. Rather than be proactive in the management of their body, they are reactive to the injuries that inevitably follow any high intensity sport or exercise. Instead of enjoying their sport, or competing in the game, they are sidelined with injury and forced to watch the action from afar. For many athletes, they know how frustrating and challenging recovery from injury can be. Understanding what chiropractic is and what chiropractors can do for athletes may be your key to playing and performing at your best.
Chiropractic focuses on the structural, muscular, and neurological systems of the body. For any athlete to move, first the brain must have the intention to perform some motion. It sends the “go ahead” signal from the brain to the appropriate muscles by way of the spinal cord and nerves throughout the body. The muscle itself then contracts, pulling bones across a joint, and resulting in a specific, hopefully coordinated motion to accomplish some task. The “go ahead” signals travel through the spinal cord and those nerves, and using an easy analogy, are like water going through a garden hose. Water (the signal) flow well through an open hose, but if there’s a kink or twist in the hose, then the water doesn’t spray or is disrupted. Think about an electric signal from the brain encountering similar interference and how that may affect the ability to contract the muscles at very appropriate and specific times to coordinate all motion and result in a highly complex task like swinging a bat, throwing or kicking a ball, or pushing your body that last kilometer of a marathon. Obviously if there’s a disruption in the signal, do you think the muscles are capable of contracting to the best of their ability? A Chiropractor is highly trained in the ability to detect and remove those internal and external influences that affect the transmission of nerve impulses through the nervous system.
Think about the joint by which the bones are pulled by the muscle in performing some movement. A joint is two bones that are joined together and allowing for motion to occur between them, whether small or large movements, and all self-contained within a capsule. For motion to occur, the two bones must articulate with each other in a very specific way that is usually dictated by the structure of the joint surface itself. If one bone is misaligned in relation to the other, motion is disrupted. Therefore, if you are trying to kick a soccer ball straight ahead, and the knee joint no longer flexes and extends the way it’s designed, then abnormal stressors are being applied to the ligaments, tendons, muscles, cartilage, bone, and other structures involved in that kicking motion. Over time, with wear and tear, the body begins to adapt and break down. Here comes the injury and time away from doing the activities you love. Chiropractors are trained to identify abnormal motion, and other signs that indicated a joint is no longer moving the way it was designed. By allowing the body to move properly, in a way that limits wear and tear to the joints, we are able to prevent future injury in young athletes.
Now that you have an understanding of the importance chiropractors have within the athletic arena, there’s no question that chiropractic is not just for professional or college athletes only. Young athletes stress their bodies to the max, striving to be the best they can be. Let Moore Chiropractic help you be the best you can be.
Check out our Sports Medicine page for more information!
For more information on health for young athletes read the American Chiropractic Association’s article on Kids and Sports.