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side than the other. “Chiropractic adjustments anticipate and prevent this, so that the body doesn’t have to waste energy compensating for imbalances,” he explains.


Traditionally, chiropractic care is known for focusing on postural adjust- ments to minimize abnormal stresses and strains that affect the function of the nervous system and act on joints and spinal tissues. But active exercises and stretches, extension traction and ergonomic education are frequently added as preventive protocols to help athletes avert injury.


Cause and Effects


ALIGNING FOR FITNESS


Chiropractic Care Prevents Injury, Boosts Performance by Linda Sechrist


W


hat do dis- tinguished athletes


like Jerry Rice, a Hall of Fame retired wide receiver and three-


October is


National Chiropractic Health Month


time Super Bowl champion, and Lance Armstrong, a former professional road racing cyclist and seven-time Tour de France winner, have in common? To withstand the rigors and intensity of each of their sports, these champions have both used the services of a chi- ropractic doctor skilled in chiropractic sports sciences and rehabilitation. As more athletes discover that chi- ropractic care goes beyond rehabilita- tion benefits to further enhance perfor- mance, they are coming to rely on it as a tool to support the healthy structure and functioning of their skeletal and muscu- lar system. A 2002 study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physi- ological Therapeutics noted that 31 per- cent of National Football League teams


include chiropractors on their staff.


Doctor of Chiro- practic Jeff Ludwick assists players of the Harrisburg Stam-


pede, a semi-professional Pennsylvania football team. “Improper spinal align- ment creates muscular imbalances and nerve interferences,” advises Ludwick, owner of Camp Hill Family Chiroprac- tic, in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. “With properly aligned skeletal and nervous systems, an athlete’s body doesn’t have to work as hard,” which is why team members receive spinal adjustments before hitting the field for this high- impact sport.


Ludwick notes that football is known for stressing hip joints, because when a player’s hip turns out even a few degrees, especially from sudden changes in direction, falling or violent contact with another player, tendons and muscles become tighter on one


The spinal cord operates like a switch- board for the body, transferring electri- cal impulses via a network of nerves. It works properly as long as there is no in- terference between the brain and tissue cells. But when nerve endings swell due to misaligned vertebrae, injury is more likely. Research reported in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine and The Physi- cian and Sportsmedicine indicates that chiropractic sports science helps find and correct the underlying causes, and thus helps prevent and heal injuries. During one research project, Chung Ha Suh, Ph.D., and his team at the University of Colorado demon- strated that even, “minuscule amounts of pressure on a nerve root (equal to a feather falling on the hand), resulted in up to a 50 percent decrease in electri- cal transmission down the course of the nerve supplied by that root.” The resulting biomechanical misalignment causes a domino effect: It exerts abnor- mal pressure on the nerve root, causes interference in the brain’s impulses to tissue cells, and alters the performance of any muscles and organs that the nerve serves.


Chiropractic Physician Jay Swee- ney, owner of San Antonio Family Alternative Medicine, in Texas, uses functional neurology to “send a bar- rage of neurologically correct signals through the nervous system straight into the brain” in order to promote the balance, stability and coordination that enhance athletic performance and help prevent injuries.


Dr. Nicole Galiette, owner of Chi- ropractic & Rehabilitation Center, in


natural awakenings October 2011 13


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