What are the best ways of preventing sports injuries, and how can chiropractic help?
What are the best methods of preventing Sports Injuries?
Well, keeping the answer as brief as possible, everything but stretching…
A recent published study determined whether physical activity exercises can reduce sports injuries and performed very
thorough analyses of strength training, stretching, proprioception (this is the body’s own awareness of position) and combinations of these, and provided separate acute and overuse injury estimates.
The conclusions of this research was that despite a few separate outlying studies, consistently favourable estimates were obtained for all injury prevention measures except for stretching. Strength training reduced the prevalence of sports injuries to less than 1/3 and overuse injuries could be almost halved!
So, this appears to be another nail in the coffin for any perceived benefits of stretching.
Why Can Stretching Cause Sports Injuries?
A growing amount of research has consistently shown that slow, static stretching gives no benefit in injury prevention. In fact, this type of very popular warm up activity has been clearly shown to increase the prevalence of sports injuries!
It is thought this occurs as this slow stretching loosens the muscles and tendons, and potentially damages the junction between the muscle and tendon. The effect has been likened to having a loose elastic waistband on a casual pair of trousers. While this may feel more loose, it will clearly be less effective at controlling and function is affected.
Performing slow stretches affects the tendons differently. The tendons become less elastic when they have been stretched but need to be very springy to absorb heavy loads
Will Stretching Affect my Athletic Performance?
In a word, YES! One study from the University of Zagreb reviewed 104 studies of people who solely practiced static stretching as their warm-up and found that the effect of this stretching reduced their muscle strength by 5.5%. The second study looked at fit men who completed basic squats while lifting barbells either with or without stretching beforehand. Those that stretched lifted 8.3% less weight than those who didn’t. So, if you are an elite sportsman, or a keen “weekend warrior” STOP STATIC STRETCHING! The alternative is to perform dynamic warm up instead.
Chiropractic for Sports Injuries?
If you have a sports injury then consulting a Sports Chiropractor may be of great benefit to you. Chiropractors will assess you functionally and neurologically to asses what the cause of the injury is. Specific Chiropractic adjustments can alter function very fast.
Reading Chiropractor Dr Andy Green (Doctor of Chiropractic) was a member of the medical team for the London 2012 Olympic Games. “All the medical team were busy during the Olympics, but thankfully we did not have too many athletes coming to us in serious pain. It is clearly a disaster for an athlete if they are struggling with pain at such an important event. However, we were still assessing the athletes for objective symptoms such as loss of range of motion, decreased strength or increase fatigue, for example. We would often make one or two changes and then go to reassess. An elite sports person is so perceptive to these changes that they feel the effects very fast. This is why so many more top international sports people are using a chiropractor as lead part of their medical support.”