One of the most positive side effects of the Olympic games is that they can motivate people to become more active. While there’s not a lot of solid research to prove this, a few anecdotal polls confirm that indeed, some have been inspired by the svelte physiques and feats of strength of Olympic athletes and as a result have re-energized their own fitness routines.
“We’re seeing more people coming in our doors these last few days,” says Devin Maier, Managing Director at Balance Gym in Washington DC. Some are even asking “‘‘How do I get my body to look like these high divers and swimmers?’”
While physical fitness is an essential component of overall health, starting (or restarting) any kind of workout routine after having been sedentary can be damaging if not approached gradually and carefully. “This is one of the most common ways that athletes sustain injuries,” says Dr. Loomis. “They try to do too much too quickly or they try to pick up where they left off when they were more active.”
These kinds of injuries not only slow you down as an athlete, but if not treated properly or left untreated, can cause a host of additional problems down the road.
Old sports injuries can become new problems
One category of patients we see here at Carney Chiropractic Center are those who want to become more active but are dealing with pain or injury or trauma that has not completely resolved or was never treated appropriately. The good news is that proper chiropractic care can help them get back into motion with a combination of exercise and rehab and get them moving again more efficiently.
One such patient, Jeff Brochu, sustained a fairly severe groin injury more than 10 years ago while doing martial arts. At the time, he visited a variety of physical therapists but the treatment he received was ineffective. Eventually he resigned himself to the idea that the injury was permanent and it was something he would just have to live with.
Jeff knew Dr. Loomis had a background in martial arts and when they spoke, Dr. Loomis thought it was something that could be addressed. So a few years ago, Jeff came to Carney Chiropractic Center with a combination hip pain, groin tightness, and low back pain. He no longer had full range of motion of his hips as his body had been overcompensating for the trauma it had incurred at the time of the injury.
His intensive treatment plan included electric muscle stimulation, heat application, and adjustments, along with specific exercises designed to rehabilitate the affected area. Additionally, Dr. Loomis performed instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) to remodel the soft tissue around the injury that had become scarred from the severe muscle strain and tearing Jeff had sustained. All of this drastically improved the his range of motion, mobility, and joint functions of his lower back and pelvis and he regained full range of motion in his hips.
“I didn’t realize that there were doctors like Dr. Loomis” Jeff said, “that they can treat so many things more than your back. I feel significantly better all around.” Other aches pains have subsided as well and he no longer has recurring tendonitis in his shoulders and knees. “Dr. Loomis’s treatment plan helped me all the way around” – a welcome side and unexpected effect of chiropractic care.
Following his successful treatment, Jeff went on to become a personal trainer and now runs his own boot camp, something he never dreamed of being able to achieve given his inability to do anything physically active prior to his treatment by Dr. Loomis.
Bodies in motion
Simply put, when our bodies are in motion, there are three parts to how the nervous system functions:
- Input from internal or external environment
- How the action is processed and the decision about how to respond
- The output or the execution of the response
Most personal trainers will focus solely on the output: number of reps, amount of weight lifted, time of run, pace, etcetera, but none of this matters if you don’t have healthy inputs such as your eyes, inner ears, and connective tissues (i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, etc.) throughout your body.
Input includes how our feet hit the ground when running, the position of our bodies when we swing a racket or golf club, the visual cues of a ball coming towards us, or the function of the inner ear that tells the brain the position of our bodies in space. There is a lot going on with our muscles, ligaments, and tendons – lots of subconscious activity that our bodies are processing from the input that we have no idea that are happening and it all depends on the optimal functioning of the central nervous system. Any lack of awareness can lead to injuries that we don’t even realize are there until months or years later when we develop things like tennis elbow, tear an ACL, or lose some mobility or range of motion in a joint.
Regular chiropractic visits can help keep all of these functions in optimal working order. Like all other body systems, these inputs are impacted by the central nervous system and a combination of chiropractic care and specific exercises not only optimize sensory inputs, but it can also help to repair past damage or trauma that impacts current performance.
Get back in the game
If you think your tennis, martial arts, or running days are over because you can no longer move like you used to, think again.
Chiropractic is so much more than treatment for back pain. Athletes in both high and low impact sports experience improved performance, better range of motion, more flexibility, increased blood flow, and may even sustain fewer injuries. Additionally, because adjustments will reduce the irritation of the nerve roots between the vertebrae, the healing time from minor injuries is often shorter. There’s a reason that an estimated 90 percent of all world-class athletes use chiropractic care!*
“High performance athletes in the Baltimore area should spend time with Dr. Loomis on a regular basis whether they are injured or not. His level of expertise with athletes is superior and i think a MUST for any athlete of mine,” says Jeff.
One of the reasons for this level of admiration for Dr. Loomis’s care is the fact that he treats you for the sport in which you’re participating. If you hurt when running, he treats the motion of running. If it’s a tennis swing or yoga move, he’ll provide customized therapies that mimic those movements. He works practically rather than generally or theoretically like many doctors, physical therapists, and even other chiropractors. He really focuses on addressing the dysfunctional movements associated with the pain using the movement that you’re actually doing.
And those feelings of admiration are mutual. “I like working with athletes a lot because they are often more motivated to do the work that has to be done to get back in the game” says Dr. Loomis. “They are committed to their sport, they are in touch with the nuances of their bodies, and they’re restless when they’re sidelined. This makes them some of the best patients to work with because they follow their treatment plans rigorously and you can literally see the results in their performance after the fact.”
“There are chiropractors and then there is Dr. Loomis,” adds Jeff. “He’s a step ahead of what other chiropractors do. He’s extraordinary…he brings you back to life so you can live the life you want to live.”
Don’t let an old injury keep you on the sidelines or on the couch. Get back in the game! Make an appointment today and keep moving through life.
*This is a statistic that is widely cited and that originated on the ACA website. While the original page is no longer there, this story on the ACA website includes the stat though it is not specifically cited.