Fall sports season is here. This is a vulnerable time for young student-athletes, especially for multi-sport student-athletes. While teenagers might think they’re invincible, constantly moving from one sport to another with minimal rest and intense practices can lead to overuse injuries and misalignments. Some people may not be interested in becoming life-long chiropractic patients, but the beginning of a new season is the perfect time for athletes to periodically stop into the chiropractor’s office for an adjustment.
Young athletes are more susceptible to injury
Fixing misalignments is especially important for athletes during puberty. Teenagers experience the second fastest rate of growth during these years, with the fastest during infancy to early childhood. Throughout puberty, bones solidify, muscles bulge, and formerly cartilage-filled growth plates harden into bone. Problematic misalignments can cause lasting effects if they impede on a teenagers growth.
Not only do the growth rates intensify, but the sports do too. Most athletes kick their sports up a level when they enter high school, while others are just starting. In addition, this is when young athletes start to show who is capable of advancement to play at even higher levels, such as collegiate or even professional. Those athletes will increase their intensity for the opportunity while their less intense teammates are on the receiving end. Whether your athlete is a next-level player or not, all will experience the heightened intensity.
Pain is often the last cue of a misalignment; it’s your body’s reaction to a problem. Taking that a step further, a pain in a specific region of the body might be caused by a hindrance in a different area; if there is stress in one area, your body will compensate in another. Chiropractors recognize that and treat the body as a whole to help cover each region to fix the pain-inflicting misalignment.
Helps athletes gain an edge.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, “Experts estimate that 90 percent of all world-class athletes use chiropractic care to prevent injuries and increase their performance potential. All National Football League (NFL) teams rely on DCs in varying capacities, and 77 percent of athletic trainers have referred players to a chiropractor for evaluation or treatment.”
Chiropractic care can enhance muscular function, body control, coordination, mobility, and mechanics. An athlete’s musculoskeletal system plays a major role in all activities. Misalignments can hinder bodily function such as strength, speed, mechanics, and can even lead to injury. These misalignments can cause certain muscles to work more or less, causing strain and overuse injuries.
Even if your child chooses to focus on the academic route and shys away from athletics, their body still goes through immense changes. Teenagers do not always carry themselves with optimal posture and every teenager is still likely to be active outside of school, whether it be biking or simply horsing around with friends. No matter their athletic abilities, they still have loads of energy that needs to be spent. Misalignments are bound to happen during these periods of rapid growth, some can even lead to headaches that interfere with academic performance. You should strongly consider bringing your student into the chiropractor if they experience frequent headaches or are struggling with growing pains.
Other ways to stay healthy
Weight management. Children and adults should strive to maintain a healthy weight. The extra weight and force on the joints can leave people more vulnerable to injury. Extra weight requires the musculoskeletal system to bear more weight and force than it’s equipped to handle.
Warm-Up before engaging in any sort of activity. Whether it be sports, gardening, or any physical activity, take some time to activate your muscles and blood flow by stretching for 5 to 10 minutes. Spending these few extra minutes to warm up will help prevent injury and even prevent soreness the next day, especially if you stretch before and after the activity.
Stretch throughout the day, in between classes or whenever you have been sitting for a long time. Immobile muscles affect range of motion and can lead to misalignments. Taking time to periodical stretch and work on mobility is an effective measure for preventing misalignments and injury.
Rest. While many collegiate and professional athletes talk about “taking no days off,” please take some days off, at least physically. Rest is a vital part of every exercise regime as it gives time for your body to recover from the physical toll it’s taken. Make sure an athlete takes a few days off from physical activities and spends a day or two a week out of the weight room and off the field. Maybe utilize these days to watch tape of themselves or other athletes to improve their technique. That’s one way to take a day off physically, while still taking no days off of their game.