We know that your nervous system is solely responsible for the function and healing of the cells, organs and systems in the body. Improper spinal alignment is common and likely to happen due to the amount of physical, emotional, and chemical stress you apply to your body every day, especially as an athlete. The nerves control muscle function, cardiovascular activity, healing, recovery, balance, and coordination – all of the areas of sports performance. Thus, maximizing nerve supply should be the number one goal of any athlete at any level.
Maximum nerve supply is the ultimate key to performance (Optimum function, resistance to injury, recovery, and the potential to optimize strength and endurance through training). Your spine is meant to have a certain curve: "the arc of life". Any interference with this curve causes problems in health and performance. To max out nerve function, you need to ensure that you have optimum spinal biomechanics: maintained spinal curves, and correct vertebral alignment.
Classic sports Chiropractic has fallen under the class of treating athletic injuries and manipulating sore necks and backs. While this may or may not make you feel better, or more 'loose', it’s unlikely to improve performance on any dramatic level, prevent injury, or boost health. On the other hand, Chiropractic correction of spinal alignment, curves, and pelvic balance plays a clear, proven role in health, performance, sports and life after sports.
Studies Behind Nerve Supply
It has been well documented since the early 1960’s that an abnormal position of the spine, in particular the cervical spine, can cause abnormal pressure and tension on the spinal cord and nerves. It makes both common and scientific sense that the proper function and mobility of the spine plays a huge factor in health and especially sports performance. Here is just some of the science behind this work and the impact it can have on an athlete’s ability to stay well, recover, and win.
Study: Effects of Flexion Extension Movements of the Head and Spine Upon the Spinal Cord and Nerve Roots. J Neural Neurosurgery Psychiatry 1960, 23:214-221: In spinal flexion, Reid measured the anterior component of a force exerted by the cord and dura at different levels and found the anterior component of the force reached maximum values of 30 – 40 lbs/sq inch.
Impact On Sports Performance: When your Neck curve moves out of it normal position, your spinal cord can experience up 40lbs of pressure on it. This reduces nerve supply, lessens range of motion and performance, and significantly increases the chance of injury.
Study: Biomechanical aspects of the cervical cord: effects of postural changes in healthy volunteers using positional magnetic resonance imaging. Kuwazawa Y, Bashir W, Pope MH, Takahashi K, Smith FW. J Spinal Disord Tech. 2006 Jul;19(5):348-52. Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Liberty Safe Work Research Centre, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK. STUDY DESIGN: The area in cross-sectional view of the cervical cord (ACSCC). RESULTS: In the recumbent and erect series, ACSCC was larger in extension than in neutral and flexion at all levels. There were significant differences between ACSCC in extension, neutral and flexion. ACSCC was smaller in flexion than in neutral and extension at all levels.
Impact On Sports Performance: When your spinal units that compose your neck curve are not positioned properly. They cause the actual diameter of spinal cord to decrease – equaling decreased nerve supply throughout the entire body.
Study : Pathophysiology and treatment for Cervical Flexion Myelopathy. Fujimoto Y, Oka S, Tanaka N, Nishikawa K, Kawagoe H, Baba I. Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hiroshima University School of Medicine, Kasumi 1-2-3, Minami-ku, Hiroshima, 734-8551 Japan. firstname.lastname@example.org RESULTS: In all patients, axial MRI/CTM demonstrated flattening of the spinal cord with the posterior surface of the dura mater shifting anteriorly. The findings of this study suggest that degenerative changes of the dura mater may be a characteristic pathology of CFM.
Impact On Sports Performance : When you cervical spine losses its normal spine position, it causes flattening of the spinal cord which and career impeding and shortening degenerative changes will occur
The Normal Spinal Model
With proper alignment and normal curves, the spine has a dramatic increase in resistance to injury. In fact, your spine is 26 times more resistant to forces when all the spinal units are properly aligned. Corrective Chiropractic for sports performance restores the spine back to or towards the normal, ideal model. This radically increases resistance to forces and optimizes range of motion and balance.
To learn more about the importance of Nerve Supply, click here.
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