What is Sports Chiropractic?

Sports Chiropractic is the branch of physical medicine that focuses on finding, addressing and correcting the patterns and movements that perpetuate the occurrence of pain in an athletic based population. It is composed of two treatment styles: passive care and active care. The former is designed for tissue recovery, decreasing pain and the allowing of movement to happen; the latter is composed of tissue strengthening, movement efficiency and eliminating the root cause of pain. It is the combination of these two treatment approaches that allows for maximum recovery and benefit.

What is the Sports Chiropractic Experience for an Athlete at Move Better Chiropractic?

The experience at our clinic takes an in-depth examination of the athlete’s lifestyle, their specialty in sports and, most importantly, their movement patterns. It is in the combination of all these aspects that we find alternatives and solutions to what the patient brings in as their discomfort or what’s blocking your performance. 

Attention to details is the name of game: from the moment you walk towards the front desk until the moment you exit, our doctors are observing the way you move. It is not just exercise that improves our patients’ performance, but complete attention and awareness to what it feels like to do movements well and efficiently. Our habits determine how we use the body and mind. At Move Better Chiropractic we specialize in the study of movement habits and the teaching of new ones. Your experience differs in all aspects of what we do, from Examination to Treatment.


The Interview:

A thorough history taking involving inquiry towards current discomfort, movement habits, lifestyle, sports history or injuries and past treatments. It is in this portion where we get the concept of what the athlete is going through and what they want to achieve. (Resolution of pain and what goals they have beyond their discomfort) 

The Movement Examination:

Here is where it gets really fun and what really sets us apart. The athlete has a chance to show us what they can do, more importantly, we get to see how their system moves. We study the athlete’s ability to use their body as a system. Through this movement assessment we get a complete picture of why there is pain. We observe everything from muscle symmetry to it’s coordination when performing certain movements. The functional exam will include: mobility assessment, stability of the upper and lower extremities, ability to engage the midline stability system, what muscles are used when performing movements that simulate the athlete’s sport and daily activities. This approach serves many purposes as it gives us a focused look at what’s been going on, explains chronic pain, shows us what the athlete does efficiently, and what needs to be trained into awareness, feeling and strength. 

What We Assess:

    • Ability to balance and what the body does when it’s stressed.
    • How does the athlete use their feet and toes to interact with the ground
    • Ability to maintain midline stability through upper/lower body movements.
    • Breathing technique (Diaphragmatic Breathing) 
    • Ability to maintain midline bracing integrity while breathing (Bracing)
    • Ability to hinge using the hips (how we pick things off of the floor or, essentially, a Deadlift)  
    • How do you push? 
    • How do you pull?

Our assessment is trying to ask 2 main questions:

    • What parts of the body is the athlete using? 
    • How can we get the athlete to use their whole system instead?

An example of this would be to observe how you get to and from  from the floor: 

    • Did you use your whole hand or just your fingers? 
    • Was your shoulder active or inactive?
    • Did you plant their feet, lift your toes, or lift your heel?
    • Did you load your hips, back, or knees?

The Sports Chiropractic Treatment:

This is where it all comes together and the recovering/reprogramming nature of our treatment style comes to light. There are two big components involved: body awareness through education/exercise and tissue recovery through deep tissue and chiropractic manipulation techniques.

Education(an exercise in awareness)

Diaphragmatic Breathing (a.k.a belly breathing)

Breathing… it is the first movement we do when we are greeted by the World. And in that particular instance, we are pretty adept at this belly breathing technique. However, due to our social habits of sitting and looking at screens we start using the upper body and neck as a way of achieving this nourishing act. So this is where we start. By re-learning how to feel your body breathing through the diaphragm. Can it expand and move the joints of the low back and pelvis as it inhales and exhales? Is there global motion through the core with this most essential movement of life? Can the patient feel these movements happening? The awareness of how well we actually use the areas surrounding the belly is the first building block to efficient and systematic body movement and it is why we always start with breathing.

Bracing (a.k.a “Why is this so hard for me to do?”)

Bracing is the ability of muscles surrounding the torso to create a rigid girdle that allows for proper stability and engagement of the body’s strongest muscles. Bracing allows to transfer motion and strength from one part of our body into the other. We will use a barbell back squat as an example. The load is on top of the body and the legs are the primary movers of this exercise; properly organized motion will create automatic bracing of the core muscles.  This allows the legs to push into the ground and get the body into a standing position again. Due to the body’s ability to brace, the force of the legs is translated into the upper body through the isometric contraction of the torso and the barbell is effectively pushed away from the ground. Lack of proper control in this ability tends to be a very likely contributor to the nature of chronic or insidious injuries. In many cases acute injuries can also happen when energy transfer is not engaged in a coordinated way. 

Hinging (a.k.a The Deadlift, The Big Kahuna, The One, How we pick things of the floor)

Hinging is what allows us to use the body’s strongest push/pull muscles to interact with the world beneath us. Hinging is the body’s mechanism to load hip musculature into tension and generate power. We chose the deadlift as the exercise to teach this because it properly transmits and translates to all sport and all of life.  It teaches one of our main philosophies of treatment: “Use your body as a system”. When we don’t use the body as a whole, we partialize it resulting in efficient movements and overload to certain areas of the body.

Soft Tissue Manipulation 

Body Tempering( a.k.a The Heavy Roller Bars, The Dough Rollers, Foam Rolling on Steroids)

Body tempering is a technique developed by powerlifting legend Donnie Thompson in his search for making his body be able to withstand incredibly heavy loads. The concept involves placing heavy metal cylindrical bars on overly toned and tight muscles of the body and rolling them out. This increases tissue flexibility, increases blood flow, relaxes the toned tissues, influences tissue recovery and allows for a more balanced and symmetrical engagement of the body. 

Other Deep Tissue Manipulation Techniques and Chiropractic Adjustments

Along with Body Tempering, we employ deep tissue massage techniques in which we move muscles through their full range of motion while holding pressure along specific muscle fibers. This creates a similar effect to body tempering, however, it focuses more on the injured tissue, the removal of tissue adhesions and trigger points. Additional soft tissue techniques include cupping, which creates a separation of tissues and the passive flossing of them; Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation(IASTM) that helps creates tissue adhesion disruption and Kinesio-taping, which helps with increasing blood flow to the taped region and influences proprioceptive feedback to the muscles surrounding it. 

A Chiropractic Adjustment

Chiropractic adjustments are delivered to joints that are hindered in their end-range of motion. Usually, these joints are bound to muscles that are tight and tender. A delivery of a high velocity, low amplitude impulse to these specific joints allows for increased movement in the articulation, increased blood supply to the joint capsule and surrounding muscles, decreased pain and muscle relaxation along with increased proprioception. 

The Plan

Nearing the end of the visit we establish a treatment and training protocol and send you home  with a programmed routine of specific exercises customized to your individual needs delivered electronically through a program called PhysiApp.  Within PhysiApp, each athlete has curated and custom videos as digital guides towards their future training sessions.  Through the combination and strategic utilization of these methods that we have had athletes reorganize their movements so that injuries recover, proper body mechanics are instilled, full body system strengthening occurs, and ultimately, empowerment happens. 

All of our staff at Move Better Chiropractic are active peoples that participate in many sports year round. Whatever your sport is, its likely one of us has done it or is doing it now.  As part of your experience at Move Better Chiropractic, you will experience the forefront of athletic training and recovery with many unique pieces of equipment and a completely new way to approach athletics and athletic training.