Chiropractic Care: more than just relief from back pain, neck pain and headaches.
By Dr. Michael Eid | The Chiropractic Works
For the majority of people we see come through the practice, the primary health complaint has to do with pain in some form or another, and Chiropractic care is very effective in relieving presenting symptoms. However today I would like to talk about optimizing performance, and the study that I would like to discuss was first published in 2010. Despite it being controversially retracted a short time later due to miss communication between the ethics committee and the Supervisor of the study.
Now that the AFL season is under way and as such a common injury is also on the rise. The hamstring strain, much to the annoyance of the footballer regardless if they play at the amateur level or professionally, this injury can lead to missed games and time on the sidelines.
First of all I would like to give you a bit of a run down on what actually causes hamstring injuries to occur in the first place:
- Poor intramuscular coordination within the hamstring, during the transition from toe off to heel strike during running
- The ability of the hamstring to rebound after impact while running, the rapid eccentric or lengthening load on the hamstring, acts like a spring to propel the next stride. When this stretch shortening cycle is compromised, this predisposes one to injury. This same mechanism applies also to rapid changes in direction
- Previous hamstring injury, funnily enough, predisposes one to further hamstring injury
- Increase age of individual undertaking physical activity
Secondary causes of hamstring injuries are extensions of the aforementioned causes:
- Muscular control of lower limbs comes from the lower back, if joints of the lumbar spine and pelvis are stiff or tight, not moving through their full range of motion this places undue stress on muscles of the pelvic girdle, exposing people to injury.
- Sub optimal running gait, puts stress on musculature that can lead to injury
- Playing surfaces, excessively slippery, unstable or hard surfaces can lead to over activation of musculature of the lower limb and trunk to maintain spinal stability
- CNS and muscular fatigue, inappropriate warm up and heavy training loads have also been implicated in the potential cause of hamstring injuries
Signs and symptoms of a hamstring injury
Signs and symptoms vary depending on the severity of the injury. Muscular injuries are classified into 3 grades
As depicted by the table above:
Grade I: Is the least severe where some of the connective tissue is stretched and torn, moderate pain and loss of range of motion 1-3 week recovery time
Grade II: Often the most painful were connective tissue muscle nerve and blood vessels are damaged, severely reduced range of motion, 4-8 week recover time
Grade III: The most severe where complete tear of the muscle occurs, often after the injury occurs is not painful at all due to complete rupture of the nerves, often lots of bruising occurs, walking and in some cases weight bearing is very painful, recovery may take 3-6 months. Surgical repair may be required.
As mentioned above, one of the primary causes of injury is the miscommunication between the CNS and the hamstring.
So, how can chiropractic care help?
Getting adjusted can help to normalize nerve flow from the lower back and pelvis to the musculature of the lower limb. This takes shape in the form of muscle activation (Suter et. al. 2000) as well as joint position sense. (Haavik-Taylor & Murphy, 2007 & Haavik & Murphy 2011)
The Hoskins and Pollard study of 2010 takes a look at 60 VFL players over the course of a season, half were managed by conventional sports medicine techniques, the other half had sports med in conjunction with chiropractic care. The results of the study demonstrate a trend in reduction of lower back pain, hamstring injuries and games missed.
Suggested reasons for the results of this study may be attributed to decreased lower back pain that may result in loss of game time and predispose individuals to hamstring injury, lumbar spine and pelvic adjusting may also increase movement of the lumbar spine and pelvis, in turn reducing tension and improving activation of lower limb musculature.
Getting adjusted can not only help with back pain, neck pain and headaches, it also improves the function of your body, in this case reducing athletes risk of injury keeping them on the field and out of the trainer’s room.
Book your next appointment to ensure your body is in peak condition and ready to play at your best.
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HENLEY BEACH | 08 8235 1922
NORMANVILLE | 08 8558 3834
Haavik Taylor, H., & Murphy, B., A. (2007). Altered cortical integration of dual somatosensory input following the cessation of a 20 min period of repetitive muscle activity. Experimental Brain Research 178(4), 488-98
Hoskins, W., & Pollard, H. (2010) The effect of a sports chiropractic manual therapy intervention on the prevention of back pain, hamstring and lower limb injuries in semi-elite Australian Rules footballers: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-11-64.
Suter, E., McMorland, G., Herzog, W., & Bray, R. (2000). Conservative lower back treatment reduces inhibition in knee-extensor muscles: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 23(2), 76-80