Baseball players utilize Chiropractic
With the Major League Baseball trade deadline approaching I want to dive into a few reasons why baseball players utilize chiropractic treatment. I have written about this previously, but I’d like to approach this subject from a different angle. Baseball players and other professional athletes are constantly dealing with a variety of stresses that are placed on their bodies. This article is going to focus on the stresses that are endured during a baseball swing, how these stresses can be minimized as well has how to correct physical limitations that are caused by the physical stresses experienced during a baseball swing. Before I get into the details I like to start with some basic fundamentals about the human body that are important in understanding how the body adapts to stress.
The Spinal Column
The central structure of the human body is the spinal column which plays many roles in how the body functions. The spinal column is made up of 24 vertebrae (bones) with discs (ligaments) that hold the spinal column together and act as a spacer, so the nerve system can exit between the vertebrae. The spinal column also has three normal curves when looking at it from the side view. These curves act as shock absorbers for the spine allowing the body to absorb external forces easier than it otherwise would. When the structural alignment of the spinal column is within a normal range its job is to allow flexibility & gives support so muscles and most importantly it protects the brain, spinal cord and nerve system.
When the spinal column is functioning properly it plays a major role in our brain health. As our spinal column moves it creates a pumping action called imbibition which causes the cerebral spinal fluid to be pumped around the brain and spinal cord. This pumping action is what allows the body to flush toxins out of the cerebral spinal fluid as well as pump nutrient into the cerebral spinal fluid so the brain and spinal cord get the proper nutrition.
Structural Shifts and Nerve Inflammation
Structural shifts of the spine cause the bone to get STUCK out of proper alignment injuring a nerve. There are multiple issues that occur when this happens. One of the problems is that the nerve system is injured causing a nerve inflammation. When a nerve is injured and inflamed it prevents the nerve system from functioning properly. The function of the nerve system is to act as the roadways for communication between the brain and the body. Different nerves travel to every cell and tissue in the body so a patient will experience different secondary conditions depending on which nerve is injured and where that nerve is traveling to in the body. A nerve in the lower back will travel down the leg and may cause Sciatic Nerve Pain but nerves in the lower back also travel to the bladder, lower digestive tract and reproductive organs. This means someone with an injury in their lower back can experience a variety of secondary conditions based upon which nerve is injured.
Structural Shifts and Mobility
When a structural shift exists in the spine it limits a person’s mobility. This is due to the bone being shifted outside of a normal range causing the joint to become stuck. The lack of movement at one segment may not play a major role in the overall mobility of the person. This is because the joints above and below the stuck joint will overwork and compensate to make up for the lack of mobility caused by the structural shift. Just like anything else in life, when something begins to overwork it will also begin to break down at a rapid rate. This on one reason why a structural shift at one level of the spine can cause the areas above and below the structural shift to degenerate and lead to osteoarthritis.
It is common for the disc between the bones that resulted in the structural shift to become injured (disc bulge/herniation) which can injure the nerve itself. Focusing on the Disc, when a ligament (disc) becomes injured it takes time to heal because there is only a small amount of blood that travels to the disc and the disc gets its nutrient from movement. When a bone has been shifted and becomes stuck, the disc cannot get the proper nutrient that it needs to heal itself which is why disc injuries take an extended amount of time to heal from.
When talking about a disc injury it is best to think of a jelly donut. The disc has a gelatinous center called the nucleus pulposus and a fibrous ring that holds the center in place. When the outer ring of the disc becomes injured the gelatinous center begins to push towards the area of least resistance which is where the disc is injured. As more and more pressure is exerted on the spine or as the disc begins to degenerate the center of the disc begins to push further and further into the outside ring causing a disc bulge and can lead to a disc herniation.
When a baseball player swings they put stress on their spine to create a torqueing motion in order to generate force. This is very similar to how a golfer generates force during a golf swing. As the athlete rotates their spine they try to get as much motion into each of the joints. When the joints in the spine are pushed to their limit in this manner it is easy for these joints to get stuck and locked out of alignment. This in turn prevents mobility for the athlete which affects their performance.
Through observation of these athletes at all levels and a variety of sports I realized that many of them were dealing with the same issue. I noticed that they were suffering from a physical limitation that did not allow them to properly execute when they need to most. It’s because of this that I developed a protocol for my average client to improve their coordination and mobility while improving their sustainability so that they can do what they enjoy for the long haul. As a result, my clients are able to save money on lessons and equipment, they preserve their bodies and are able to fall back in love with the game they love.
Baseball Players and Chiropractic
It speaks volumes the number of Professional Baseball Players who utilize chiropractic. Follow their example because success leaves clues if you are looking for them. Many times individuals do not know what it is that is holding them back and it takes someone from the outside looking in to identify what it is that is preventing them from achieving what it is that they want most. If you know of someone who has hit a plateau in their game, continues to spend time and money with new swing and pitching coaches and new equipment, they may be dealing with a physical limitation that is preventing them from enjoying the game and achieving the level of success that they have worked so hard to achieve. Share this information with someone you know that could benefit from chiropractic care as a way to pay it forward, you never know how it may effect that person.