A Chiropractors Role In Athletic Performance and How Our Gisborne Chiropractors Can Help
What do chiropractors do?
Chiropractors can practice in many different ways, if you see ten different chiropractors you are likely to get ten completely different experiences. This is why it can be hard to hone in on exactly what chiropractors do. For this reason the following blog post is about what our chiropractors at total body health Gisborne do, their approach and the science behind what they do.
Our chiropractors treat their patients using a multimodal approach, we believe in compiling the science together and using a variety of evidence-based techniques to address the problem and hit the target. Our chiropractors utilise a range of soft tissue release therapies, this can be anything from massage and trigger point release techniques to dry needling and TENs therapy. Our chiropractors also utilise a range of adjustment techniques, these can range from the “crack” compilations you may see on youtube, to very soft and minor mobilisations using a spring loaded tool called an activator. Our chiropractors combine these therapies with a range of external application tools and creams, this can vary from something as simple as heat or cream, to something as complex as cutting edge neurogenic inflammatory creams that can currently only be found in very few places. Our chiropractors are also big advocates for rehabilitation based homework. Each tool, cream and technique has science backing with positive health outcomes for patients. It is our view that everyone is different, and therefore everyone responds differently. We use a combination of therapies because in this way we can address the problem from different angles. If we are aiming to hit a target, we would rather have more arrows in our belt at our disposal (kind of like Hawkeye from the avengers) than just a single arrow to hit the mark, thus having as much of a positive outcome as we can.
Although our Gisborne chiropractors use many tools in their treatment, this blog is going to focus specifically on chiropractic adjustments. We will write about our other methods in future blogs to come.
What is a chiropractic adjustment?
Every single joint in our body, all 360 of them are designed for movement, some joints are designed for less movement than others, but none the less they are all meant to have movement through them. If our joints weren’t designed to move, evolution would have removed the joint and tuned it into a single continuing bone. Sometimes a joint in our body can become rigid, fixated or stiff and they stop moving as well as they are designed to, this is what our chiropractors call an abnormality in segmental motor control, let's call this ASMC for short. You may have heard chiropractors in the past call this a subluxation. Our bodies can recognise this ASMC and they begin to create a modified movement pattern in order to protect the area of the ASMC and prevent injury. Although this initial altered pattern can be useful for short term protection, this initial benefit can lose its benefit over time and become maladaptive and painful. These protective compensatory patterns can lead to an area of permanently increased muscle tone, aka permanently tight or contracted muscles. Just like if you were to hold a dumbbell midway through a bicep curl for a long period of time, these contracted muscles begin to create and release waste products which can be perceived as pain.
Additionally, these compensatory patterns begin to alter our proprioception. Proprioception is our nervous systems awareness of where our body is in space, and is the reason you can close your eyes and still confidently touch your nose. Although we may take our own proprioception for granted, it’s not perfect, we may not hit our nose dead on, and our nervous system is constantly working extremely hard to improve and correct our proprioception through the use of muscle spindles, golgi tendon organs and receptors located in joints. Athletes tend to have better proprioception than the average person, that’s why Roger Federer can hit a ball way better than you or I (that and many other reasons). But this is one of the reasons why we believe chiropractic can be so important for athletes.
When we experience a ASMC, we start getting altered signals sent to our nervous system and our proprioception has scientifically been proved to be worsened with the presence of these ASMC occurrences. It has been shown that the release of one of these ASMC patterns creates a safe “rapid stretch” within the joint, sending new and corrective proprioceptive signals to your nervous system, thus stopping the pain and reduced proprioception snow ball and improving athletic performance. This is where our wonderful Gisborne chiropractors at total body health come in, they are extremely well trained at finding and correcting these ASMC patterns. They use a variety of low force and high velocity low amplitude manipulations, which, scientifically work just as well as each other. Even though the popping adjustments may feel a little more satisfying, sometimes it may be safer to go with a more low force option and still get just as good results.
Not only can a chiropractic adjustment correct one of these ASMC dysfunctional patterns and improve ones proprioception, extremely important for athletic performance, but studies have also shown that releasing these ASMC patterns can improve our bodies ability to learn or tweak new skills, such as riding a bike, or Roger Federer slightly improving his already awesome forehand. This increase in ability is called the feedforward process, you can see why this can be a useful tool to athletes as well. This increase in feedforward ability also speeds ups the bodies response and acts as a protective mechanism, as there is a higher risk of lower back pain and injury with delayed trunk muscle reflexes. Chiropractic adjustments have also been shown to improve strength immediately post adjustment, another athletic advantage.
So to summarise, if you’re an athlete looking to improve your performance, our team of Gisborne chiropractors at total body health can help by improving your proprioception, core reflexes, ability to improve and adapt and increase your strength. Just some of many ways we believe we can help athletes perform at their best.
From our team of Gisborne chiropractors, we are looking forward to seeing you soon.