Sports Chiropractic & Overhead Athletes: 5 Things We Look For

Sports chiropractor

Sports chiropractors approach patients differently than traditional chiropractors, especially when it comes to overhead athletes – that is, athletes who frequently use their back, arms, and shoulders to throw a ball, make a swing, etc. While traditional chiropractors assess and treat spinal conditions with chiropractic manipulation, sports chiropractors look at the entire body to assess symmetry and how the body moves in space.

We pay close attention to so many things in order to assess a patient and determine the cause of pain, discomfort, or loss of performance. Here are the top 5 things we pay attention to when working with patients who engage in overhead sports:

Body Movement

Our chiropractors assess each athlete’s total body movement by utilizing a movement screen to evaluate the neck, arms, trunk, back and lower body movement while bearing weight. As an athlete, movements require symmetry against gravity, so an asymmetrical balance during movement can lead to problems including pain or poor performance.

Movement in a Non-Weight Bearing Position

We look closely at how the body adapts to stresses when in a non-weight bearing position. The body has an amazing ability to adapt to all environments, but when dysfunction is present, compensation occurs. This natural compensation can result in a range of motion reduction, weakness, pain, and spinal joint fixations.

Thoracic Movement

The thoracic spine is located between the neck and lower back. Postural stresses from overuse or everyday activity can lead to the thoracic spine being stuck in flexion (slouching posture). If the thoracic spine cannot move forward and backward properly, it results in increased tension to the rotator cuff and neck – ouch. Proper movement in the thoracic spine frees up tension to the neck and rotator cuff, reducing the likelihood of neck and shoulder injuries.

Muscle Integrity

Overhead athletes often play year round, which can lead to overuse stresses to the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, and ligaments). Problems within the soft tissues manifest as muscle tears, inflammation, and focused areas of muscle spasm called trigger point. Our chiropractors are trained to evaluate and treat these problem areas within the soft tissue in order to get to the root of the problem.

Causes of Pain

After a full body examination of the athlete, we’re able to determine the potential causes of pain, which could include improper technique, overuse, or traumatic injury. We work hand-in-hand with other medical professionals including coaches, therapists, and parents to determine the best course of action to return a healthy, happy athlete to your field.

Our office has been working with athletes for over 12 years in the Kennesaw and Woodstock area. Utilizing this method of evaluation and treatment, we have successfully supported numerous athletes on their journey to get back to the game. If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment for a consultation at our office, you can send us an email or call us at (678) 809-5773.