Supporting Sports Activities
I am not specifically a sports chiropractor. I see people, who also happen to be doing sports – for exercise, for pleasure, as part of a school team. Here are some observations, based on my experience as an athlete and as a chiropractor.
Ballet & Gymnastics
These activities require focus and discipline that serve people life-long. As a chiropractor, I am concerned with their impact on the feet and knees (as well the wrists in gymnastics). The tendency towards an exaggerated curve in the low back (a combination of hyperlordosis and anterior pelvic tilt) can cause dysfunction and pain.
The position you play in baseball determines what the impact on the body will be. With a pitcher, I’m concerned with rotator cuff stability, head and neck alignment, torquing strain on the spinal column, stress on the knees and stability throughout the stance. A catcher will have radically different ergonomics. See also Running, Field Sports
Great for cardiovascular & endurance fitness, bicycling often results in low back sprain/strains, stressed muscles and fascia in the legs, and vibration-induced trauma to the wrists, shoulders, and neck.
Riding a horse at canter is one of the most exhilarating moments I know. Organizing your body so that you are not working at cross-purposes with your horse requires concentrated effort and the ability to continuously adjust your center of gravity. This is much, much harder if your body mechanics are not properly balanced.
Field sports: Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer
All of these sports rely on the body’s ability to react instantaneously. Players have to transition rapidly from stopping to running to turning to throwing or kicking or scrimmaging, with maximum propulsive force. If an athlete’s body mechanics are distorted by structural misalignment, their performance on the field can suffer. As can their long term health.
Poor management of head and neck ergonomics is an under-rated contributor to injury on the field. This is especially true for lacrosse players, who are also continually stressing the rotator cuff.
One of the greatest concerns for all players is injury to the medial knee, especially for females who have a greater angle between the knee and pelvic rim. Proactively treating foot pronation removes habitual stress and improves body mechanics on the field. See also Running
A one-sided sport, golf challenges the entire body. Improper head position can result in neck strain and loss of power in the swing; the torquing action of the swing can affect the spinal column, low back and pelvis; grip and follow through can strain the joints of the wrist, elbow and shoulder. And if the arches of the feet are flattening, strain on the knees and joints of the hips and pelvis can result. See also Tennis, Baseball
A wonderfully efficient use of the body for exercise, running can take a huge toll on the entire structure. The force translated upward through the joints is 3 – 5 times greater than in walking – so any potential problems with alignment, gait and balance are amplified and accelerated. Restoring proper alignment and ergonomics can prevent neck and shoulder injuries as well as more obvious trauma to the feet, knees, pelvis and low back.
The demands on the body in swimming are driven by the stroke used, but all of them require excellent core control and back extension.
A one-sided sport like golf, tennis requires bursts of running, fast stops, stoops, reaches, pivots, and muscular power and control. Head and neck alignment, rotator cuff stability, stability in the feet, and torquing strain on the spinal column as well as the elbow and wrist are just some the considerations to be addressed. See also Golf, Field Sports, Running
Yoga / Pilates
Much of the rehab I do in my practice is based on yoga, and I am a big fan of both pilates and yoga. Proper alignment is absolutely vital to achieving the results you are looking for, and preventing injury. Torquing injuries to the low back, sprain/strain injuries in the cervical spine, and damage to the wrists are far, far too common and are totally preventable.