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Sports Injuries and Chiropractic

Sports Performance Training for Fairmont Athletes at Burtis Chiropractic Center

Excited woman working outHere we go again…another season of working out, preparing for sports, pursuing dreams of glory. Pumping iron, training your muscles, fine tuning your nervous system…. WAIT A MINUTE?! Who said anything about fine tuning your nervous system?

I did. Me and thousands of professional athletes who know what chiropractic can do for you. It can be used to bring you up to your best ability, and to help you heal faster after the injuries. Tom Brady swears by it. Joe Montana said it kept him in the game. Gretzky, Jordan, McGuire, Holyfield, Adrian Peterson…many of the greats know it and use it. But those are the pros. What about here in Fairmont?

Overcoming Sports Injuries

Looking back, the 2013-2014 season was a tough one for many Cardinal sports. A season marked by close games and a lot of “if only”s. Many of our best athletes were injured and just never came back, or came back at less than 100%. And I will stand by this next statement 1000%. If those athletes would have pursued chiropractic care by a doctor of chiropractic experienced in treating sports injuries and athletes, many of those outcomes would have changed.

Read More About Sports Injuries

Imagine some of our “star” players playing at 100% instead of limping back. Imagine some of our best athletes never getting injured because their bodies were so well tuned that they could handle more. It’s time to change the approach we have been taking to treating our area athletes – it just isn’t cutting it. Too many kids are sitting half a season waiting for injuries to heal. Some kids have missed whole seasons waiting for improvements that never happen.

I urge parents to bring their athletes to a Doctor of Chiropractic who is familiar with treating sports injuries. I urge coaches to begin telling parents to make chiropractic their number one choice. I urge athletes who are serious about performing at their peak level to insist that they receive chiropractic care before and after their injuries.

Among the athlete patients at Burtis Chiropractic Center are state record holders, team leaders, scoring leaders, team captains, state honor roll recipients, and state tournament medalists. I would rather have your child there than on the sidelines wrapped in tape and misery…wouldn’t you?

Sports Performance Training, Nutrition, and Injury

These days, sports are almost as much a part of life as breathing and eating. Sports help kids of all ages with coordination, social skills, and most importantly, help keep them off the couch and in shape. Sports give kids great role models, someone to look up to, and something to strive for and work towards. An important aspect, often overlooked, is that involvement in sports help kids get used to victory and defeat, before entering the professional world. The difference between sports can be immense (i.e. – football and ping pong) or subtle (i.e. – baseball and cricket), but there is one common factor between all sports: and that is top athletes strive for perfection in their sport, and do what they can physically, mentally, and emotionally, to get to the top.

Sport performance is the biggest and “most important” aspect to an athlete. That’s easy to see, since someone who isn’t in very good shape probably won’t do very well. Sport performance is an intricate mixture of muscular function and coordination, how well the athlete handles themselves emotionally, and how well they have prepared themselves through training and practicing.

Read More About Performance

Muscular function and coordination describes how well the athletes muscles work together to achieve the desired action, such as a throw in Track and Field, or a shot in basketball. Both of these actions, simple as they may seem, require perfect execution of several groups of muscles. To throw a javelin in Track and Field, one must use most of the leg muscles for the run, obliques and abs in the rotation, and chest, shoulder, and arm muscles throw itself, all while maintaining perfect balance so as not to fall over in the aftermath. A jump shot in basketball requires the gluts, quads, shoulders, and forearm muscles to execute. Doesn’t seem quite as simple now does it!

How the athlete handles themselves emotionally is a huge part of the game. If everyone cried out of frustration after not scoring a point in soccer, the sport would be much less fun to watch, and less fun play too. In the same sense, playing sports is about participating with a healthy level of competition, not about unrestrained violence. That’s why most sports have rules to keep the athletes from getting out of control and injuring another athlete or themselves. Although this doesn’t keep them from spraining an ankle or breaking a collarbone all of the time, it does keep fighting and over aggressive actions to a minimum. Also, sportsmanship is a large part of any game. It shows that the athletes in the competition respect each other and the game as a whole.

How well they have prepared themselves through training and practicing is the third part of this tri-fecta of sport performance. The old adage “practice makes perfect” isn’t just a saying. There is a phenomenon called muscle memory that is trained, refined, and eventually engraved in an athlete’s muscles, nerves, and brain, much like a footpath in the grass. The more you use it, the clearer and more precise it becomes. But, if you stop using it, or just walk on it every once in a while, it will start to grow grass and won’t be quite as clear as it once was. A professional athlete is only a professional as long as they keep practicing and playing.

How chiropractic can help is fairly obvious. Chiropractic helps to maintain muscular function and coordination because it helps the nervous system (which controls muscular function and coordination) work like its supposed to. Chiropractic helps by putting your nervous system back in peak operating shape, allowing nerves to send the correct signals to the correct parts of the body, maximizing the ability to function during the competition, and the ability to heal when the dust settles. Chiropractic is as vital before the game as after, helping athletes to maintain proper alignment throughout the competition and to perform at peak efficiency. Since chiropractors study the musculoskeletal system (basically, muscles, bones, and how they work together to make the body move) much more intensely than medical doctors, they generally have a better knowledge and understanding of what a problem might be, as well as a better understanding of what will help the problem.

There are many professional athletes who have gone on record saying that they can’t do what they do (or did) without chiropractic. Joe Montana, Muhammad Ali, Carl Lewis, and Kareem Abdul-Jubbar all saw chiropractors. Jerry Rice, Lance Armstrong, Evander Holyfield, Barry Bonds and Emmit Smith all went to chiropractors before, after, and sometimes even during their competitions because they all believed in what chiropractic can do. Even talk show host Montel Williams, who has been a boxer, a martial artist, and a football player is proud to say that he is a patient of chiropractic care.

In 1991, a study in the Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation found that chiropractic care can increase an athletes performance by as much as 16.7%. A study from the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research in 1997 showed that chiropractic care increases capillary count, increasing blood flow and oxygen absorption all over the body.

Olympic athletes can play like amateurs if they don’t keep up proper nutrition. The most important nutritional program depends mostly on what sport one plays. Unless one aspect is focused on much more than others (such as building muscle mass in a weightlifter, where a more protein-rich diet may be beneficial), sticking to the three main groups (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) will provide more than enough nutrients to get you through your activity and help rebuild muscle and restore energy afterwards.

As far as “when to eat what,” there are so many different opinions on what is right for what sport, and what is myth and what is fact, that we won’t even go that far into the details. Just know that for athletes of any kind, nutrition is vital to peak performance, and more importantly, peak recovery. Let’s take a look at what an athlete should be eating.

Read More About Nutrition

The Nutrients

The nutrients we need are broken down into three groups:

  • Carbohydrates
  •  Proteins
  • Fats

Carbohydrates (carbs) are arguably the most important fuel source for an athlete because they break down into the sugars that provide our muscles with energy the easiest (mainly glycogen). Carbs come from many different foods, but only two different forms, simple and complex. Simple carbs are broken down into glycogen quickly, and thus can be used quickly. They can be found in the most concentrated form fruit and energy drinks, but other foods carry simple carbs as well. Complex carbs take a bit longer to break down into glycogen, so they can provide a more lasting fuel source for the body. They can be found in pasta, breads, and rice. Carbohydrates, both simple and complex, fuel medium to high intensity workouts.

Fat is also a very important nutrient. It fuels long, low intensity workouts. While too much fat is bad for your overall health, there is a healthy amount of fat that you should have in your body. Adipose tissue (stored fat) helps protect and insulate our organs, covers our nerves, is the largest reserve for stored energy, and helps move vitamins A, D, E, and K throughout our body. Fats are broken down into three groups: Saturated, Unsaturated, and Trans fats. Saturated and Trans fats should be limited, because they can be linked to many health problems, mainly cholesterol levels and heart disease. Unsaturated fats, however, have the opposite effect. They can lower cholesterol levels and help decrease the risk of heart disease. Here are a few places these fats can be found:

  • Saturated Fats: mainly in animal sources, such as egg yolk, yogurt, cheese, butter, and meat.
  • Trans Fats: created when unsaturated fat is made into a solid. Mostly artificial, and recently added to many food labels
  • Unsaturated Fats: typically found in plant foods, such as olive oil, fish, and almonds.

Protein is needed to repair and rebuild damaged tissues after exercise. There are two kinds of proteins, complete and incomplete. Complete proteins come mostly from animal products such as fish, eggs, and meat, and contain eight essential amino acids. Incomplete proteins come from vegetables, fruit, and nuts, and are lacking one or more of the essential amino acids.

These three groups are commonly agreed upon. What is NOT commonly agreed upon, however, is the ratio that they should be consumed. How you will be exercising, and how you exercised, will play a very large role in how you will eat and drink. What you will be eating depends largely on what you will be doing. If you are going to be running a long distance, a diet consisting of complex carbs and fats should be consumed, because they take longer to break down and can fuel exercise for longer periods of time. If you are going to be weight lifting, then both types of carbs should be consumed. Many people believe that if you are trying to build muscle, you need to load up on protein. That is untrue, because it’s the act of lifting the weights that causes muscles to tear, building them up stronger so they don’t tear as easily. The body can only use so much protein a day, and it’s much less than protein shakes offer. A weightlifter should consume 1.4 to 1.8 grams of protein per 2.2lbs of body weight, not nearly as much as some body builders consume daily with protein shakes and protein bars.

Chiropractic can help by making sure the body knows what it needs and where it needs it. Karen Romano, D.C., a 1995 dual nutrition and chiropractic graduate from Life University, says of chiropractic and nutrition in an interview, “They are both very necessary in promoting health to the body. Poor nutrition can cause a lot of subluxations (bone out of place causing nerve interference), and a lot of times, people’s subluxations and muscle pains don’t get better until their diet is better. They are both necessary for health.”

Because food and drinks are becoming so industrialized, and obviously people you don’t even know probably care more about money than your health. And many companies sacrifice health for taste, simply to make more money. Since our food is becoming more industrialized, many nutrients are lost in the process. The FDA puts out guidelines and “daily values” to follow, but most people don’t know that those aren’t the optimum levels. These levels are just enough so you don’t suffer malnutrition. For optimum leveLs in sports performance, talk to Dr. Burtis.

Injury is one of the most important parts of sports. Every sport has injuries, whether it’s a concussion in football or shin splints in cross country, and they all need to be dealt with. Medical doctors will tell you to take pills to relieve the pain, or maybe even surgery to cure the symptoms. Read that last sentence again, they are looking to relieve pain and symptoms. Chiropractic looks to deal with the cause of the pain and symptoms, and treat it accordingly.

Read More about Sports Injuries

Injuries come in two “flavors,” acute and chronic. Acute injuries are injuries that occurred recently, such as a sprain you got a few days ago or a pulled muscle, basically, injuries that “just happened.” They are also called “traumatic injuries.” A chronic injury is something that “developed” over a period of time, such as plantar fasciitis (pain of the foot, usually from running incorrectly) or tennis elbow, a repetitive stress injury to the elbow. Chronic injuries are also called “overuse injuries.”

Different sports present with different types of injuries. For example, it’s not very likely that you will get a concussion in cross country, but shin splints are a common injury. At the same time, a hockey player probably won’t develop patellofemoral pain syndrome (commonly known as runner’s knee) but may separate their shoulder. Of course, it’s possible to get a concussion while running, or runners knee playing hockey, but highly unlikely.

There are different ways and methods to helping injuries heal. For example, changing your running style is a effective way to get rid of shin splints, and putting your shoulder in a sling will help a separated shoulder heal faster than continuing to use it. Of course, you wouldn’t put a leg in a cast because of a pulled calf muscle, or tell an athlete to just “take it easy” after they broke their arm, there are basic guidelines to certain injuries.

Of course, the body heals itself, these methods of immobilizing limbs and such merely “assist” in the process. And if your body is working at peak efficiency, you will heal as fast as possible. But what if your brain can’t tell your leg to heal correctly? What if the signals are being blocked? It’s like taking one lane out of a freeway for construction during rush hour. It doesn’t matter how fast you get to the blockage, there is still going to be slower response after the blockage, and to whatever is after it.

Chiropractic can help by actually keeping you from getting minor injuries, which may lead to major ones if not treated. It keeps your body in balance and running at peak efficiency, so you get injured less, heal faster, and get back in the game! Chiropractic care helps balance, reaction time, and helps make sure muscles are in their natural, relaxed state, so they don’t get too tight and get “pulled” or get too loose and allow a joint injury. If you are still skeptical, ask almost any NFL team today. 95% of them have a chiropractor on staff during games. Michael Phelps, US Olympic gold medalist several times over, had a chiropractor with him in Beijing, keeping him aligned and able to perform at his peak performance. Chiropractors are quickly becoming more and more common in professional and collegiate sports because they work so well with athletes. So ask yourself, if chiropractic care is good enough for Muhammad Ali, why isn’t it good enough for you?

Ready to Get Started

Are you an athlete who can benefit from chiropractic care? Contact Burtis Chiropractic Center today to book an appointment.

Sports Injuries and Chiropractic Fairmont MN | (507) 235-5551