About Chiropractic, Athletes, good health, Sports, Sports Injuries

Athletes & Heart Rate Variability – Role of Chiropractic & Adaptation

Recent research reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in improving heart rate variability (HRV) in athletes.  The research includes a review of the literature supporting the role of chiropractic in addressing neurological risks related to cardiovascular health, athletes and the role of the nervous system in stress, physiologic adaptation, training load and recovery. HRV is a critical measure of neurological and cardiovascular health.

“Research is revealing that there is a relationship between abnormalities in the spine, the nervous system, stress, training, recovery and cardiovascular health” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. “Basic science research shows that the proper development and function of the nervous system relies on proper structure and movement of the spine from an early age.” Research has shown not only that normal structural alignment and joint movement is crucial, but that complex neurochemical communication and pathways involved in helping humans to develop normally are tied into spinal biomechanics and their related neurological pathways.

“We are now seeing more and more basic science and clinical research showing the relationship between spinal function and its relationship to performance and recovery” McCoy added. When it comes to athletes, adaptation, recovery, training and cardiovascular health, the nervous system is often overlooked and that is where HRV comes into play. 

“In a healthy organism, higher heart rate variability represents greater adaptability to stress from its internal and external environment. When the nervous system is free of obstructions, it can better regulate anatomic, physiologic, and biochemical alterations and adapt to stress and training as needed.”

– Dr. Matthew McCoy

The study reviews the literature on heart rate variability and its role in athletes exploring specific adaptations to imposed demand and how that principle is applied during periodized training, the role of the autonomic nervous system in the general adaptation response, contemporary views of stress and adaptation in exercise physiology and the role of heart rate variability as an objective outcome measure for chiropractic care in athletes.  Despite the relatively recent interest in the central and autonomic nervous system in sports performance circles, exercise science has been investigating the relationship for several decades.

Heart rate variability (HRV) is the most accessible minimally invasive means available for evaluating an athlete’s response to training.  HRV is a strong indicator of physiological changes in response to training programs, prescribing exercise intensity on an individualized basis, and has been utilized to assess overtraining which is often times predominated by sympathetic activity.

In regards to the role of chiropractic in HRV and athletes, significant structural shifts can occur in the spine. These structural shifts, more commonly known as vertebral subluxations by doctors of chiropractic, result in nerve obstructions and doctors of chiropractic correct these obstructions. Vertebral subluxations may result in altered autonomic nervous system activity. Heart rate variability is a reliable and valid tool that may be used to assess the changes in autonomic activity associated with the reduction and correction of vertebral subluxations. Controlled studies suggest that chiropractic may improve heart rate variability and that favorable changes in heart rate variability may follow reduction or correction of vertebral subluxations. The author of the paper calls for more research on the role of chiropractic care and HRV in athletes.

Get in touch with Dr. Gartzke at River Falls Spine Chiropractic and Wellness Center today to discuss how chiropractic treatments can improve your health and well being!

Matthew Hartenburg, D.C. Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research ~ May 17, 2018 ~ Pages 89-94. https://www.vertebralsubluxationresearch.com/2018/05/17/heart-rate-variability-as-an-objective-outcome-measure-for-subluxation-based-chiropractic-care-for-athletes/

About Chiropractic, Athletes, General, Knee Injuries, Sports, Sports Injuries

Knee Injuries

How chiropractic can treat this common sports injury

Christina DeBusk February 13, 2018
3 minute read

photo and text credit: Chiropractic Economics

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMSD) reports that knee injuries are among the most common sports injuries sustained by athletes nationwide.

In fact, they rank right up there with other common athletic injuries such as muscle sprains and strains, fractures, and dislocations.

Though knee pain is problematic for anyone that must endure it, when it strikes someone who spends a lot of time being physically active, it can make life extra miserable. And if they play within the pro sports arena, it could even take away their livelihood.

So, what can you do help your athletic patients prevent or heal their knee pain so they can stay in the game without having to suffer? There are a few different options to consider, the first of which is chiropractic.

Chiropractic for knee pain relief

Several studies have revealed that chiropractic care is an effective tool for helping with sports-related injury prevention and treatment. One of the most notable studies was published in 2010 in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders and it involved 59 Australian Rules footballers. Twenty-eight of the participants were subjected to sports chiropractic intervention and the rest served as a control.

After almost eight months of individualized treatment sessions, it was noted that, when compared to the control, there was a “significant” difference in lower-limb muscle strains for those who received chiropractic care. Researchers also found that there was a sizeable difference in the number of weeks the control subjects missed due to non-contact knee injuries as they spent more time on the bench than the individuals who engaged in chiropractic.

Another study, this one published by The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, involved 43 subjects with chronic, non-progressive osteoarthritic knee pain. After undergoing three manual treatments per week for two consecutive weeks, “the intervention group reported a significant decrease in the present pain severity.” They also reported improved knee mobility when compared to a control.

At-home relief remedies

In addition to chiropractic, there are also many things athletes can do at home to potentially speed up the recovery process. Here are a few action items to consider.

  • The NIAMSD indicates that following the RICE method—rest, ice, compression, and elevation—can help reduce the pain, swelling, and tenderness associated with knee injuries. This involves reducing the amount of activity sustained, icing the knee area for 20 minutes at a time up to eight times per day, compressing the knee, and elevating it so it is above the heart.
  • Self-massage. Another at-home treatment method that can help with knee pain, especially if the pain is associated with osteoarthritis, is self-massage according to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). To perform this self-treatment, the AMTA indicates that deep gliding strokes with the heel of the hand provide the greatest benefit. Just press four of fingertips into the tissue surrounding the entire knee area, moving the tissue up and down using short strokes.
  • Knee-strengthening exercises. Strengthening your knees is beneficial from both a prevention and treatment standpoint while also improving flexibility says and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). This can be accomplished by regularly performing knee exercises such as straight-leg lifts, single-leg dips, wall squats, and step ups.
  • Lower body stretching exercises. The AAOS also stresses that lower body stretching exercises conducted after strength training sessions can help ease knee-related pain by increasing flexibility and reducing muscle tightness. Thus, stretching directed toward the quadriceps and hamstrings is part of a comprehensive healthy knee exercise regimen.
  • An anti-inflammatory diet. When most people hear the word “anti-inflammatory,” they think of medications. However, Medical News Today reports that an anti-inflammatory diet can also help with knee pain. This consists of adding fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon, sardines, trout, and tuna), berries, avocados, watermelon, grapes, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, olives, and olive oil to a dietary plan.
  • Taping the knee. When engaged in activities that use the knee, whether in sports or everyday activities such stair climbing and squatting down, the athlete may also find relief in using tape to better support the knee area. One study published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy found that both McConnell Taping Technique and Kinesio Taping Method were effective for lowering participants’ knee pain levels.

Combining chiropractic with these at-home treatment methods can help the athlete heal his or her injury and return to the sports arena quickly and more effectively.

Give Dr. Steve a call if you have any questions or concerns about your knee pain or injury.

About Chiropractic, Athletes, Sports

Sports chiropractic’s transition to preventing accidents and injuries

Preventing accidents and injuries has become as important as treatment for athletes seeking out chiropractic

Christina DeBusk March 9, 2020 ~ 3 minute read. Photo and article credit: Chiropractic Economics. Read Article HERE.

From D.D. Palmer’s first chiropractic adjustment in 1895, chiropractic has been considered a modality that helps patients heal. Now studies, research and evidenced by virtually every professional sports team employing a chiropractor link chiropractic with enhanced recovery from sports-related injuries.

One example is a dual-case report published in Chiropractic & Manual Therapies that shares how chiropractic intervention helped two Australian Rules footballers completely resolve hamstring injuries. Another study, this one published in Chiropractic & Osteopathy, shares how chiropractic was beneficial when treating ice hockey with a variety of muscle, joint, and tendon injuries.

Now chiropractic is being used as a way for athletes to get and stay in top shape before injuries can occur, hopefully preventing them altogether.

A shift in athletes’ perception of chiropractic care

“Many decades ago, doctors and patients alike started noticing that chiropractic care not only allowed them to feel better and eliminate aches and pains, but they also noticed it could help people recover faster from their injuries,” says Tabor Smith, DC, owner of Pure Life Family Wellness in Houston, Texas. “It wasn’t long after this realization that the sports industry caught on to it as well.”

One reason injury prevention is so important to athletes is because being injured can keep them from competing for long lengths of time, costing professional athletes and teams money, says Smith. “Depending on the nature of the injury, it could even become career-ending,” he adds.

This issue is made even more complex by the fact that some of the most commonly used recovery options include surgery and drugs. While these remedies are sometimes an effective option for athletes, “the amount of improvement someone can get just from drugs and surgery is limited,” says Smith. This has caused many athletes to turn to chiropractic instead.

image credit: chiropractic economics

Chiropractic for preventing accidents and injuries

“As recent as a few decades ago, athletic organizations realized not only could utilizing chiropractic care return an athlete to the roster quicker, but implementing consistent chiropractic check-ups and adjustments could in fact prevent many injuries in the first place,” says Smith. “An athlete whose body expresses normal biomechanics, alignment, and joint function is much less likely to sustain injury compared to an athlete who is not in proper shape or alignment.”

Whether taking this approach to gain a competitive edge or reach new personal goals, “It’s important to understand no matter how good an athlete is at what they do, they’re only one injury away from a major setback,” says Smith. “Many have discovered a secret to lowing their risk of injury by utilizing regular chiropractic care.”

Helping athletes embrace preventive care

Athletes are interested in achieving optimal health in an effort to improve their bodies and master their sport of choice. How can chiropractors utilize this desire to help them also realize that chiropractic is not only an effective sports injury treatment remedy, but may be able to help prevent issues in the first place?

“To a serious athlete, preventing injury is much more valuable than recovering from one,” says Smith. “When you add in the fact that regular chiropractic care can not only help prevent injury but it also helps to maximize performance, it becomes a very compelling case.”

Chiropractic becomes even more convincing when you consider that some of the greatest athletes in the world rely on this modality as part of their healthcare regimen. Case in point: the American Chiropractic Association reports that approximately 90% of world-class athletes currently engage in chiropractic care with a goal of preventing accidents and injury and improving performance.

“There’s a reason virtually every professional sports team has a chiropractor on their staff now,” says Smith. “To a professional sports program, the health and longevity of their athletes is top priority.”

Making chiropractic part of a healthy lifestyle 

“Chiropractic will always be great for helping people recover from injuries,” says Smith, “but no matter what level of activity a person participates in, they’ll be much better off if they incorporate chiropractic in their lifestyle. It’s definitely true what they say, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’”