Many of us believe that athletes are always in excellent physical shape and have good health. But is it really so?
The level of competition in sports is constantly growing. As a result, the requirements towards an athlete’s performance are increasing. So, training becomes more and more intense.
In this article, we’ll look through the most common health issues athletes face. After that, we will outline the potential health benefits of chiropractic care.
Typical health issues athletes face
Many athletes subject their bodies to increased load to achieve their peak performance. Excessive physical activities may result in issues with spinal alignment and movement. Needless to say, these obstacles are likely to hurt game quality and affect athletic performance.
Let’s outline the potential health issues that athletes may face.
Chronic inflammation and pain
When it comes to training, it is essential to maintain the optimal volume and intensity. Otherwise, there is a risk of facing chronic inflammation and pain.
Because this type of inflammation is often asymptomatic, it is pretty challenging to identify it on time and can significantly reduce the quality of your workouts and contribute to muscle loss. As a result, you may require muscular rehabilitation.
Consumption of anti-inflammatory foods may help reduce chronic inflammation in athletes.
Susceptibility to infectious diseases
- Nutrient deficiency;
- Not getting enough sleep;
- Physically intense activities;
- Psycho-emotional overload and competition stress.
- Rational nutrition, rich in proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and trace elements;
- Ensuring adequate sleep for at least 7-8 hours a day;
- Managing the training process according to the physiological capabilities of a particular athlete;
- Protection from psycho-emotional stress.
Oxidative stressWhen exercising too much, the risk of free radicals spreading is growing. When their amount exceeds the normative values, oxidative stress might occur. What makes this state undesirable? First of all, it can contribute to diseases and premature aging. As a rule, athletes are most vulnerable to oxidative stress during or after exercising, reducing athletic performance and increasing muscle fatigue. An appropriate supply of antioxidants may help you compensate for the experienced oxidative stress. Whey protein intake can increase glutathione levels — your body’s main antioxidant.
What athletes do to maintain peak athletic performance
Eating a diet with essential nutrients
A balanced diet helps improve athletic performance. It is important to eat only healthy foods. For example, plant-based foods contain optimal amounts of protein, healthy fats, and the right carbohydrates. Consequently, such a diet helps keep your athletic performance at peak levels.
Be sure to eat in small portions at regular intervals (up to 6 times a day). After training, take proteins that affect the restoration of stamina and help control weight.
Getting enough sleep
Getting enough sleep helps athletes feel comfortable throughout the next day, aiding in achieving the desired physical performance level. Consistent lack of sleep, on the contrary, slows down athletic performance growth. In addition, good sleep is the key to a successful recovery and repair.
You can ensure a good night’s sleep by following these rules:
- Going to bed following your biological rhythm;
- Proper distribution of physical, mental, and psychological stress during the day;
- Excluding all types of stress and allowing your body to relax before going to bed.
Trying to achieve the desired physical performance levels, athletes get stressed often. Breathing exercises and meditations can help improve the mental state of an athlete. Yoga or qigong classes can also be helpful.
Reducing exposure to toxins
Although you cannot get rid of toxins in your everyday life, you can still reduce their potentially dangerous effect on your body.
Here are a few rules you can follow to minimize your exposure to toxins:
- Filter the water you drink;
- Avoid toxic household cleaning agents;
- Consider a professionally designed detox plan.
Visiting a professional chiropractor
Chiropractic care is another way to improve athletic performance. Its goal is to ensure the correct functioning of the entire body. Chiropractic adjustments help athletes in the following ways:
- Making sure everything within the body works as it should;
- Allowing the body to repair itself after athletic injuries;
- Improving blood flow;
- Improving the functioning of the body’s nervous system.
All these effects of chiropractic treatment make it easier for a person to improve their physical performance. This way, you can improve your agility, balance, and muscle strength.
The importance of chiropractic care for athletes
Almost every professional athlete visits the chiropractor regularly as part of their health routine. So, it makes sense for amateur athletes to follow their example.
Now, let’s figure out why some of the world’s best athletes chose to visit professional sports chiropractors regularly.
You will get a detailed physical examination during your first visit to a chiropractic care specialist. The chiropractor will examine your spine to identify the possible disorders and
check joint mobility. If necessary, the doctor will prescribe an X-ray examination. The main objective of a chiropractor’s work is to restore the optimal function of individual joints and other connective tissues. To achieve this, a chiropractor will perform the necessary spinal alignment.
Sports chiropractors also deal with soft tissues. They can offer massages to relieve muscle pain and prepare patients for spinal manipulation. Chiropractic treatment also involves practical recommendations on exercises to improve athletic ability.
The eight benefits of chiropractic treatment for athletes
Now, let’s look through the specific benefits chiropractic care may provide to athletes.
Reduced recovery time after sports injuries
In any sport, certain parts of the body are at risk of injury in one way or another. In the case of uninterrupted communication and messaging between the brain and the rest of the body, the body heals quickly enough. Various misalignments in the back disrupt this interaction. As part of an injury rehabilitation plan, chiropractic treatments can significantly speed up recovery. Regular chiropractic care may also help prevent injuries in the future.
Sports chiropractors understand the anatomical and physiological responses of the body. They know which techniques to apply to treat certain types of injuries. For example:
- To enhance joint mobility, chiropractors may involve an adjustment of specific joints;
- To provide muscular rehabilitation, a specialist may use soft tissue techniques;
- To help reduce pain and inflammation, a chiropractor may prescribe ultrasound and cold laser.
Accelerated recovery after physical overload
An athlete’s body is subject to wear and tear in one way or another. Here are just a few examples:
- Baseball players may experience shoulder problems due to constant throwing motions;
- Football players get many hits to the body during just one game;
- Golfers can get low back pain from hitting the ball incorrectly.
From time to time, athletes may experience muscle fatigue and soreness. A chiropractor will help minimize these unwanted effects. It is worth visiting a chiropractor to apply soft tissue techniques after training to achieve this. It can be both massage and soft-tissue methods with special tools. These techniques will help make tissues more mobile and relaxed and improve blood flow.
In case of severe inflammation, a specialist can apply physiotherapy equipment such as ultrasound or cold laser. A professional chiropractor will also provide advice on proper rehydration and dietary adjustments.
Thus, regular visits to a chiropractor will help athletes recover and prepare for their next workout or game.
Reduced back pain
Athletes often experience back pain caused by spinal misalignments. To ease back pain, you may want to seek the help of a professional chiropractor.
The spinal manipulation aims to restore the proper alignment. It will help you get the desired back pain relief. And the exercises recommended by a specialist will help you prevent back pain from reoccurring.
Improved balance and coordination
Proper balance and coordination are vital in sports. It would be impossible to run, hit the ball, or throw it into the basket without them.
Misalignments in your spine can impede your balance and coordination, sometimes provoking dizziness and gait disturbances. Restoring the proper alignment chiropractic treatment may help with that. It is likely to improve the communication between the nervous system and other body parts, helping restore optimal balance and coordination.
Improved overall well-being
As an athlete, you need to keep your body in peak physical health to succeed in your sport. Thus, overall well-being is vital for maintaining and increasing your athletic performance.
Restoring a proper spinal alignment through chiropractic adjustment is beneficial for your entire body. Besides, a chiropractor will give you valuable nutritional recommendations and suggest special exercises to help you gain enough energy and enhance your sports skills.
Supporting the immune system
Exposure of athletes to infectious diseases may hurt their sports performance. When you’re sick, you skip training and thus may have much less time to prepare for an important game.
Spinal misalignments may interfere with communication between the nervous system and the rest of the body, reducing immune function. Chiropractic care can help improve your body’s ability to fight off illnesses. Here is a study suggesting the potential effectiveness of spinal adjustments in positively affecting the immune system.
Reduced need for prescription drugs
Sometimes athletes may experience recurring pain due to prolonged and exhausting workouts. They often take pain medications that provide only short-term relief to ease this pain. However, it would be better to eliminate the cause of the pain.
Chiropractic sports medicine is an alternative, drug-free way of getting back and neck pain relief, meaning that athletes will not experience the side effects of prescription drugs.
Access to non-invasive treatment
Chiropractic care represents a hands-on and non-invasive approach to managing musculoskeletal system disorders. It can serve as a complementary treatment for various sports injuries — not just neck and back injuries.
Here are just some of the chiropractic treatments used to help patients suffering from various injuries:
- Chiropractic extremity adjustments;
- Soft tissue release techniques;
- Upper cervical specific chiropractic.
Chiropractors in professional sports leagues
Today, many athletes around the world are reaching out to chiropractors. For that reason, sports clubs are actively hiring such specialists.
Chiropractic sports medicine specialists began treating athletes at the Montreal Olympics in 1976. Later, a chiropractic screening program appeared in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Since then, teams around the globe have started attracting professional sports chiropractors.
Starting from the 2014-2015 season, every National Football League team has a chiropractor. These specialists help players in maintaining their athletic performance. In Major League Baseball, 30 teams have professional sports chiropractors.
To improve their sports performance, athletes often experience increased physical stress, leading to various disorders of the musculoskeletal system and pain. While painkillers bring temporary relief, they do not prevent the root cause of musculoskeletal issues.
This is where sports chiropractic care can help with a safe and natural approach that corrects spinal misalignments and reduces back and neck pain through spinal manipulation.
Chiropractic care in the right hands is completely safe and effective. Keep in mind that regular visits to a chiropractor are the most helpful not for treating disorders but for their prevention.
So, the sooner you decide to reach out to your local chiropractor, the more overall health benefits you will get from this treatment.