Chiropractic and Athletics

Athletes should get their spine checked so that they can function to the best of their ability. A spine that is in proper alignment will help the body to perform better and prevent injuries.

Starting with the basics, for someone who has never been to a chiropractor, what does a chiropractic exam include, and how do you determine if someone has a healthy spine?

Dr. Gary Weinstein: Very good question, Liz. What our exam includes is we do a chiropractic, orthopedic, and neurological exam, typically approximately 66 different tests. These are both subjective and objective examinations. We hook you up to the computer where we do an EMG scan, surface EMG. There’s no needles, so it does not hurt. EMG scan that shows us nerve function and a symmetry scan which shows us which side the muscles next to the spine are pulling harder than one side to the other. They should be balanced.

And also a thermal scan. Now a thermal scan is an infrared scan measuring temperature difference, one inch on each side of the spine. Like points on the body should have like temperature. Over a half degree temperature difference is indicative of distress to the autonomic nervous system. Also, if then determined necessary, which we do in most cases, we take a set of spinal x-rays, both top and bottom, so that we can see what is happening. Because to see is to know and not to see is to guess. I don’t work on patients without knowing what I am doing. That is what is included in our exam. It is very, very thorough. Oftentimes we have patients say, “Boy, this is the best exam I’ve ever had.” We are very proud of that.

Well, we know kids are playing more competitive sports at younger ages. Can chiropractic care help prepare these younger athletes?

Dr. Gary Weinstein: Absolutely. Anybody that has a spine should be getting their spine checked and adjusted if necessary. With these younger athletes, they are putting their body through things that aren’t 100% natural, let’s say, and they need to get checked to make sure that they can function to the best of their ability. Not just aches and pains.

See, chiropractic was never developed for aches and pains. It was always about function. It just sort of got pigeon-holed. We are very, very good at the aches and pains, but what it is about is keeping the body functioning to its utmost potential. We take care of professional athletes here in my office. We don’t take care of them because they hurt. We take care of them because they want to perform to the best of their ability. Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, from what I understand, gets adjusted before every race. Not because he hurts, but because he wants to be at his functional best, so that he can compete to the best of his ability.

Many athletes who specialize in one sport suffer from repetitive movement injury. How does chiropractic care help treat these injuries and even help prevent them?

Dr. Gary Weinstein: Well, first, we have to determine what they are, and then we can look at what they are doing and often times modify some of the actions that they are doing. And this is all done on an individual basis. But, yes. We are turning towards one sport athletes, and we are seeing problems develop because of that. I am a big proponent of multi-sport athletes to get more well-rounded, but I may be a dinosaur in this day and age.

For the athlete trying to improve their game, how can chiropractic care help them get faster, stronger, or better?

Dr. Gary Weinstein: By allowing their bodies to function to the best of their ability. If you are in proper alignment and the subluxations are reduced, your body is going to function better. If you are out of alignment, if your head carriage is forward one inch, you lose 30% of your vital capacity. That is your ability to breathe and take in oxygen.

Every athlete knows that the more oxygen we can take in, the better we can breathe, the better we can perform. Well, if we are out of balance so that one side … let’s say our weight bearing is 65% on one side and 35% on the other, well, we are going to be totally out of balance and not be able to compete and perform the way we would want to be able to. So chiropractic care is really all about, for the athletes, is obtaining peak performance. Allowing us to go to limits that we didn’t think possible before.

In what other ways do chiropractors treat athletes without surgery and prescription drugs?

Dr. Gary Weinstein: Primarily we use the spinal adjustment, but we can do rehab with them and exercise and prescribe specific exercises for each individual and their problems.

Learn More

If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Gary Weinstein visit www.weinsteinchiro.com or call 412-269-0444 to schedule an appointment.

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