CHIROPRACTIC AND SPORTS INJURIES
What do Lance Armstrong, Emmitt Smith, Michael Jordan, and the New York Yankees have in common? Besides being professional athletes, all of these people are under chiropractic care dealing with sports injuries.
For the human body to be able to throw a fast pitch, swing a tennis racket, punt a football, or pedal a bicycle, a series of events must occur for the motion to be smooth and effective. If any single link in the chain of events is weak, or any joint in the body involved in the necessary motion is misaligned or not functioning properly, problems can occur. One problem is that when one part of the body isn’t performing at its best – like the shoulder joint during a pitch – the brain gets other pieces of the puzzle to compensate for the lack of power, to fill in for the “weak link.” So if a pitcher’s shoulder joint is functioning less than optimally, he then compensates by throwing harder, causing a break in proper form, poor performance, and potential injury. Chiropractors treat all the joints in the body to ensure that there are no misalignments. By getting the spine and other joints checked by a chiropractor, and getting adjusted as necessary, the parts move like they are supposed to, and the athlete – whether pro or amateur – can function at his/her optimum level of power and performance.
John Stockton, former professional basketball player who spent his entire career as a point guard for the Utah Jazz and Hall of Famer, attributes his longevity in the game to good chiropractic care. Says John, “It’s not just adjustments, it’s balancing muscles and overall health.” As Stockton points out, for the body to be able to function at its best, it also has to be balanced. When the atlas goes out of alignment, muscles down the entire spine and the rest of the body do not contract equally. This stresses the body unnecessarily, so that when you try and play sports while imbalanced, injury can occur much more easily.
To demonstrate this, pick up a moderately heavy weight that you are able to lift, such as a full backpack or briefcase. Gently lift the object directly above your head. Standing there with a weight over your head is hard enough, but now try shifting the weight about 4 or 5 inches to the left. After several seconds, you will notice that maintaining a proper posture becomes more difficult, and the weight itself will start to feel heavier than it was when it was directly above your head, in a balanced position. When your atlas is in proper alignment, it is able to easily handle the weight of your head – just like when you had a weight centered above you. When the atlas shifts out of position, trying to maintain balance in the body becomes more and more difficult – like when you shifted the weight to one side, and began struggling with it.
Having your atlas in alignment along with the rest of the spine can not only help you function at your maximum level of performance, but also help prevent possible injury.