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Why you should treat your spine like a pro

human spineHard training and hard hits take their toll on the body.

Whether it’s a rough contact sport, trying for that Herculean one-rep max in the gym, or an overly intense training class, joints and muscles can take a beating.

That’s why a majority of professional athletes turn to Chiropractic on a regular basis. We recently talked about Tiger Woods return to golfing glory after he “won the back surgery lottery.” In fact, many pros on the PGA tour rely on their so-called “magic man,” sport Chiropractor Dr. Troy Van Biezen.

And we have talked before about the National Football League, where team Chiropractors are common and a majority of NFL trainers have referred players to a Chiropractor at one time or another.

“Certified athletic trainers see a role for the sport chiropractor in the NFL, primarily as a spinal specialist treating low back and other musculoskeletal injuries,” reads the abstract of the report linked to above.

But you certainly don’t have to be a pro athlete for your activities to require the services of a Chiropractor. In fact, if you are undertaking sporting and training activities without the benefit of the professional coaching that pro athletes enjoy, you may be even more in need of a Chiropractor than they are.

Let’s consider why:
A weak foundation is the path to injury: The stronger your muscles and the healthier your spine, the more trauma and stress your back can take without injury. If you have weak muscles and a spine that has lost is optimal alignment, you will have poor posture and reduced range of motion. This will increase the risk of injury from strenuous activities, in the game or at the gym.

So is poor form: Poor spinal health makes it more difficult to achieve proper form when training in the gym. The whole reason why various exercises – such as a dead lift, a squat or even upper body work like a shoulder press – emphasize that you keep your shoulders back, chest out, back arched and so forth is to create a stable foundation that will protect your body (usually your back) from injury. At best, poor form means you are not giving the muscles you want to target the workout you want. At worst, it primes you for injury.

Fatigue steals your focus: That’s why it’s always important to be well-rested. On one hand, it gives your body time to heal and recover. On the other, it’s to ensure you don’t get lax and let your form slip. That need to maintain good form also applies to other summer activities, from golfing to water-skiing. In contact sports, there is the added need to remain alert, to be aware of what (or who) is coming at you, so you can take that hit or tumble the right way to avoid serious injury as much as possible.

Testing your limits can go too far: A common benchmarking exercise in the gym is to test your one-rep max. We are not in favour of this, especially if it involves a big movement that puts a lot of strain on the back, such as the squat or deadlift. At the very least, only attempt under the expert supervision of a qualified trainer. Again, injuries often result from these attempts because of poor form (and simply trying to move too much weight).

Over-training is very real: We don’t want to single out any one particular type of training program, but there are some out there that combine cardio with weight training in a manner that can often lead to injury. It’s all about knowing your limits – when speed and high volume is involved, it’s much better to under, rather than over, estimate how much weight you can handle. Speed can also make it all too easy to let your form slip.

Your best defence is a healthy spine

Your spine is like a stack of blocks, designed to fit together in one ideal way. When it does, it provides a stable foundation for your body and a strong anchoring system for your muscles. Your spinal health has a direct impact on good posture (form) and muscle strength (mobility).
Just like it is for a pro athlete, it takes professional help to keep your spine in top shape.

Give us a call today!

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