Wellness as a Luxury and Chiropractic

So far in 2019 our community is placing a high level of importance on Self-care and Wellness as a Luxury good. More and more people are taking action to invest in their health causing wellness as a luxury good to be on the rise; every day more people are looking into new ways of dieting like intermittent fasting, supplementing with turmeric and regular detoxifications. People are more conscious than we have ever been about Eco-Products, sustainable fashion and Green Beauty in an effort to protect the future use of our environment. In Colorado Springs we have a community that is more active than most, with all of the outdoor activities we have access to all year round from hiking to skiing and everything in between the importance of protecting our bodies and environment is at an all-time high. Focusing on Self Care and Wellness as a luxury good has been a change for the best, especially for athletes.

We all thought at one time in our life that we felt like superman, nothing could harm us because we were invincible…right? I know I felt that way when I was in high school, until I experienced a lower back injury during an offseason football workout. Little did I know that my life would be impacted in a major way which is why I am excite about the recent shift of people looking into wellness as a luxury good.

If you think about athletes of the past, we used to think that they needed the mentality to push through the pain with saying like “no pain, no gain” and one of the most cringe worthy sayings heard on many football fields in the 90’s “water is for the weak”. Well, those saying have all been proven wrong with athletes like Khawi Leonard placing himself on the mend for basically a whole year, sitting out a quarter of this years’ regular NBA season and still leading the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA Championship in history. With this shift taking place, how should our athletes & parents, coaches & athletic directors adapt to changing times? Let’s be honest, most have been changing with the times but there are some that are late to the party and may just need to be spurred into action.

Out with the old and in with the new

Who remembers warming up before an athletic event? Everyone is standing in lines or circled around with one person calling out a stretch and counting aloud how long to hold it.

I hope you’re not still doing that…

The types of stretching I’m referring to are called static stretches. Where you hold a stretch for a certain time and then do the same on the other side. These static stretches that have been done for decades have been shown to decrease, yes you read that right, DECREASE muscle strength by up to 9%! These types of stretches like a classic hamstring stretch will help decrease the chances of pulling a hammy but you are also limiting your ability to perform at the highest level. The best time to do static stretching is AFTER an athletic event, and we should be performing dynamic stretches BEFORE an athletic event or practice. Dynamic stretches involve movement-based stretching like bodyweight lunges. Dynamic stretches have been shown to also decrease the chance of injury with sacrificing strength.

There have also been many technological advances that can be used to assess how well the body is functioning. One cutting edge piece of technology is called Heart Rate Variability, HRV for short. HRV is a widely used tool to assess how well the autonomic nervous system is functioning. The autonomic nervous system is the part of the brain that functions without us thinking like how we digest food, how our heart is breathing and 1000 other things that our bodies are doing without us thinking about it. HRV has even been used as an assessment tool for predictive longevity in people with cancer [1]. In athletes this technology is being used to identify when the body needs more recovery time between workout or if it is an optimal time for the body to be put under stress (working out) and is ready to build muscle or lose weight dependent upon the individuals health goal.

One of the most important findings is that Chiropractic has been shown to have positive impact on HRV studies [2-5]. A core aim of chiropractic care is to optimize the health and wellbeing of individuals through the enhancement of nervous system function brought about by reducing nerve interference caused by vertebral subluxation [7, 8]. The World Health Organization similarly defines chiropractic as a health care profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on general health. If you were unsure why so many profession athletes utilize chiropractic care on a regular basis, now you understand the benefits and advantages that these athletes are gaining over their competition who does not utilize chiropractic as part of their wellness routine. For many people chiropractic care is looked at as a form of self-care that focuses on wellness as a luxury.

As a Chiropractor in Colorado Springs, I feel that our community and our athletes should know about the advantages that they can gain through chiropractic care. I personally experienced these advantages earning myself a scholarship and the honor of being inducted into the college football hall of fame in Atlanta Georgia as a student athlete. My experience is what caused me to do choose to be a chiropractor so that I could help others in the same way that I was helped by my chiropractor.

As a Chiropractor in Colorado Springs I am specialized in NeuroStructural Correction, meaning I use objective measurements to identify structural shifts of the spine outside of a normal range of motion that causes an injury to the nerve system resulting in nerve inflammation and secondary conditions (Symptoms). Because I believe that seeing is knowing we take full spine structural radiographs to see the condition of the entire spine. I measure the height of each disc in the spine because they act as spacers for the nerve. Once a disc is bulged or herniated it can injure the nerve leading to a variety of health conditions. Remember, the brain controls and coordinated the function of every cell and organ in the body and it uses the nerve system as the roadways for communication. If a nerve that travels down the leg is injured that person may experience sciatica, if a nerve that travels to the digestive tract is injured the person may experience a digestive issue. This is also why I use an instrument that measures for nerve inflammation. Anytime there is an injury in the body, inflammation will surround the injured tissue. This inflammation changes the temperature of the injured tissue and the instrument that I use compares the temperature of the nerves exiting the spine at the same level. The temperature of these nerves should be very similar IF there is no nerve injury. When a nerve does get injured, I am able to pinpoint which nerve it is as well as if it is a new (Acute) or old (Chronic) injury based upon the temperature of the injured nerve. These two pieces of information (Full Spine Radiograph WITH objective measurements AND measuring for Nerve INFLAMMATION) sets our practice apart from the rest and is what makes me a NeuroStructural Chiropractor.

If you understand this concept, then the importance of spinal hygiene becomes even more important. Nobody wants to end up looking like Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame, but more importantly nobody wants to have all the injured nerves that Quasimodo was experiencing either.

Reference

  1. De Couck M, Marechal R, Moorthamers S, Van Laethem JL, Gidron Y. Vagal nerve activity predicts overall sur- vival in metastatic pancreatic cancer, mediated by inflam- mation. Cancer Epidemiol. 2016;40:47-51.
  2. Zhang J, Dean D, Nosco D, Strathopulos D, Floros M. Ef- fect of chiropractic care on heart rate variability and pain in a multisite clinical study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2006;29(4):267-274.
  3. 15. Haas A, Russell D. Improved nerve function, adaptability & resilience following chiropractic care. Chiro J Austr. 2017;45(4): 338-358.
  4. 16. Knowles D, Knowles R, Kotur D. Improvement in heart rate variability in 46 patients undergoing chiropractic with network spinal analysis: a retrospective analysis of outcomes. A Vertebral Subluxation Res. 2017;1:232-237.
  5. 17. Hart J. Heart rate variability following spinal adjustment: a practice-based study. The Internet Journal of Neurology. 2019;21(1):1-8.
  6. Haavik H, Holt K, Murphy B. Exploring the neuromodu- latory effects of vertebral subluxation and chiropractic care. Chiropr J Aust. 2010;40(1):37-44.
  7. 19. Russell D. The assessment and correction of vertebral subluxation is central to chiropractic Practice: Is there a gap in the clinical evidence? J Contemporary Chiropr. 2019;2(1):4-17.

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