Everyone knows that when you workout or play a sport, you are always at risk for injury. Running, jumping and lifting are just a few of the activities that put you at risk of a sports injury. There are many ways that people can avoid injury. Stretching, warming up, and using caution are some of the basic ways you can prevent an injury. But did you know that a visit to your chiropractor could help you avoid an injury as well?
Why chiropractic care?
Chiropractors are typically only thought of when you are suffering from chronic pain or injuries from a car accident. Whiplash is one of the top injuries that a chiropractor will likely see. It is also very likely that after a sports injury, an athlete will seek out chiropractic care. After an injury, a chiropractor can help reduce inflammation and stiffness and increase mobility. Treatments can help you get back on your feet quicker and help hurry the healing process along. After an injury, it's nice to know that you have safe, drug-free treatment options. But what if your injury could have been prevented in the first place? Here is a quick list of the more common types of sports injuries that chiropractic care can help you prevent.
Types of injuries
- Tendinitis- This injury is more commonly given a name like Tennis Elbow or golfers elbow. It's a condition that causes pain on the inner side of the elbow. The connecting tissue in the arm becomes irritated and inflamed. Treatments for tendinitis typically start with an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen and naproxen. Ice and immobilization are also key ways to treat the injury. Chiropractic care and adjustments are well known for their drug-free approach to reducing inflammation in injuries.
- Sprains/ strains- Sprains and strains are caused by overstretching or straining the muscles and ligaments. Ankles, wrists and other joints are most prone to strains. The irritation to the affected area by a twisting or pulling of the ligaments and muscles causes swelling and tenderness. Treatments follow the I.C.E recommendation or Ice, Compression and Elevation to treat the injury. Anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed or suggested to help with the swelling. Chiropractic care is also quite effective at reducing the inflammation.
- Back pain- The back is a complex configuration of bone, cartilage, nerves, and muscle; it is easy to injure. Even sleeping wrong or sitting too long, as well as jarring from running, jumping, and other athletic pursuits can get it all out of whack. Healing a back injury requires precise care, or you can end up with long-term or even permanent issues.
- Neck pain- There are many ways to injure your neck while exercising and playing sports. A fall or impact can easily strain the muscles and cause you pain. Regular visits with a chiropractor are a great way to keep the neck in alignment and keep inflammation and stiffness at bay.
Stretching and warming up prior to any athletic endeavor can help prevent injury. Warm muscles that have been properly stretched are less likely to snap or tear. A cooked spaghetti noodle is supple and moves freely, and is much less likely to break under pressure. An uncooked, rigid noodle will snap like a twig when bent. The same concept is true for your body. When you are rigid and your muscles are cold, you are almost guaranteed to suffer an injury.
With regular adjustments and treatment from your chiropractor, your body will be running like a well-oiled machine. While you're not guaranteed to be completely injury-free, you will feel your best. Your joints will be more supple and have a better range of motion.
Stretches and injury prevention tips
Strains and sprains
When it comes to preventing strains and sprains, there are a lot of things you can do. Proper footwear that fits snugly and comfortably is a big start. Avoiding situations where an injury is more likely to happen is also important. Take your time and warm up before any workout or athletic event. Warm muscles are much more flexible and less likely to rip and strain.
Stretching out your ankles and wrists will help reduce your risk of a sprain because they are the joint you are most likely to injure. Placing the tip of your foot against a wall higher than the heel can be a helpful stretch. You can stretch out your ankle and warm up the surrounding muscle by drawing a circle in the air with your toes using the ankle to rotate. You can also stand on a step with your heels hanging over the edge and slowly lower and raise yourself while holding on to a rail.
To help avoid tendinitis, you could try the wrist flexor stretch. Start by holding your arm out straight with your palm up. Using your other hand, hold fingertips of the outstretched hand and apply pressure until you feel the stretch in your forearm. Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds and repeat on the other arm. Repeat the entire process 3-5 times for each arm.
Here are a few back stretches you could try out to loosen up those muscles and help prevent any strains or injuries. The child's pose is a great relaxing way to start your stretching routine. Simply kneel on the floor, then sitting on your heels lower your chest toward the floor. With this stretch, you can start with your hands behind your back then down beside your feet. You can increase the stretch by extending your hands above your head along the floor reaching in front of you as far as you can.
Another common stretch that is great for your back and your legs is the deep bend. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and slowly bend at the waist until you are touching your toes. Don't force the stretch; simply let your head and arms hang and slowly deepen the stretch. Hold each stretch for 15-20 seconds then roll your spine up until you are in a standing position again. Then repeat. Each time your bend down you should be able to bend more easily and further down.
A great way to prevent a neck injury during athletic endeavors is to take precautions and wear appropriate gear. Football helmets and shoulder pads are specifically designed to reduce damage from tackling impact. Avoid situations where an injury or fall is more likely to happen. And don't forget to stretch and warm up those muscles.
Stretching your neck out is easy and can be combined with other stretches you might already be doing to prepare for your workout. Place your hand over the top of your head on your opposite ear then gently pulling toward your shoulder. After holding the stretch for 15-20 seconds, stretch the opposite side. Repeat this stretch 2-4 times per side. Rolling your neck from your right shoulder to the left and back again 5-6 times is a great way to help loosen up the back of the neck. Shoulder shrugs are another great way to help out your neck. The muscles of your body all inter connect and what happens to one muscle affects all the surrounding tissue.
Stretching, warming up, and using caution are some of the basic ways you can prevent an injury. But be sure to visit your chiropractor, too. He or she can help keep your muscles, ligaments and joints loose and limber. And when you're able to move and exercise your body without pain, you're likely to keep up the good habit of exercising your body. And when you're exercising and moving your body, you're more likely to have a healthier, happier sense of self.