In one of the first, and biggest, trades of 2018, Alex Smith has been traded from the Kansas City Chiefs to the Washington Redskins! At 33-years-old, the former 2005 #1 draft pick is still performing at a high level.
As a Chiropractor and personal trainer, I have always appreciated the level of performance from NFL players. Players across all positions in the NFL have an average career span of 3 – 6 years. Smith who is closing in on his thirteenth season is not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. So what’s one difference between players who play for 3 years versus 10 to 15 years? Their health!
Chiropractor – Team Member
Did you know that every NFL team has a Chiropractor aboard their medical staff?
Each team’s Chiropractor helps manage, treat and help in the prevention of injuries, but is that really all we do? Most Chiropractors who work with athletes also help to optimize athletic performance. For those like myself who previously have trained athletes, the combination of the adjustments (Chiropractic manipulation) and functional strength training is a recipe for success. But before we jump into athletic performance, let’s take a look at what common injuries there are among the NFL and other sports.
If you were to take a guess at the most common sports injury, many people would say back injury. And they would be correct. We see it every day, treating dozens of cases. Most patients who are currently, or were previously athletes, see great results and complete correction. Do you, or anyone you know have back pain related to sports?
What we have found, which is also supported by research, is that the highest rates of back pain occur with athletes who participate in:
- American Football
When we treat athletes of the sports mentioned above, the most common injuries associated with their back pain are muscle strains, ligament sprains, and soft tissue contusions. Not to mention, and most important to their recovery, their spine isn’t aligned. The body of an athlete consistently takes repetitive stress. Just as mentioned in the first Blog post, the nervous system controls everything in the body. When an athlete takes a hit or overdoes something, the body’s protective mechanism kicks in, and the body reacts with tenderness, pain, and swelling.
When we take a look at Alex Smith’s career, he has suffered from concussions, AC joint sprains, and shoulder injuries. Do Chiropractors treat these injuries as well? Absolutely! Chiropractors are trained to evaluate and treat neck and shoulder injuries. Some also manage concussion patients (Utilizing SCAT, aka Sports Concussion Assessment Tool). If there are red flags of any sort, we will direct you to the appropriate provider so that you can receive the care you need.
When someone experiences a concussion from sports impact or a motor vehicle accident, it causes a misalignment of the neck, your cervical spine. Again, going back to my first blog post about “Subluxations”, this misalignment causes nerves to be irritated, which contributes to headaches, neck pain, and muscle spasm. The adjustments we provide allows the muscles to relax, realigns the spine, and allows those nerves that come out of your neck to be less irritated resulting in fewer headaches, neck pain, and increased range of motion.
As for shoulder injuries, taking a look at orthopedic tests, the spine, the scapula (shoulder blade) and the muscles surrounding both the glenohumeral joint (shoulder joint) and spine lets us know what may have caused the injury in the absence of a direct blow or trauma. In a quarterbacks case, a healthy shoulder should have adequate range of motion, good scapular motion, balance between upper body muscles, freely moveable joints of the spine and no pain. I can’t tell you how many shoulder injuries I have treated due to muscle imbalances, poor scapular movement, and a spine that is rigid and barely moveable. If you know anyone who can’t move their shoulder properly or gets pain while doing so, have them read this. You’d be surprised by how many patients get relief from our care!
Lastly, what you’ve all been waiting for – Chiropractic and Athletic performance. Mentioned briefly before, the body of an athlete takes a beating. The nervous system is stressed, muscles are sore, and joints are misaligned. It would stand to reason, that this impacts them as a person. When your muscles are sore, when your nervous system isn’t communicating and functioning at its best, and when your joints are not moving the way they should, it results in sluggish performance. Nobody wants that. Most athletes and weekend warriors want a fast recovery, better results, better performance. When we get adjusted, it clears up any joint dysfunction which is caused by the misalignment’s. This allows pain-sensitive tissues and structures to have reduced stress, ultimately leading to better movement, better mind-body connection, and better performance. Living pain-free is just another perk. The best part about all of this is that Chiropractic is a NON-INVASIVE, DRUG-FREE approach to better athletic performance!