Sports injuries are a common issue we help with at the clinic – since we offer both Chiropractic care and sports therapy, we’re especially well-positioned to help those who don’t just want to stay out of pain, but rather need to avoid injury or recover quickly, in order to allow them to enjoy the activities they love.
Whether you’re a professional sportsperson or a weekend warrior, there’s nothing worse than being sidelined with an injury. It’s a frustrating experience which not only prevents you from enjoying your sport or activity of choice, but one which often leads to degraded performance in the future – either through lack of training or as a result of injuries which continue to be limiting, even once the worst has passed.
There are essentially two ways to go about preventing injuries – the first is to practice good “exercise hygiene”, with a view to avoiding the kinds of typical training incidents which lead to injury. The second is to proactively work to strengthen the body, and improve its flexibility and movement, in order to better tolerate any incidents during training – meaning you’re less likely to sustain an injury when if you do take a tumble, for example. The best course of action is of course to do both!
Perhaps the easiest way to prevent injuries is to avoid the kind of small incidents which lead to them – typically, we don’t get injuries just from performing exercise (although if you try to exercise with an injury, this will often make it worse) rather, we get injured when we exercise improperly – tips, falls and incorrect motion account for the majority of sports injuries. We can try to avoid this by practising good exercise hygiene. This means avoiding improper training (including overtraining, using poor form or using poor equipment), making sure you are practising correct stretching routines, and always making time for a good warm-up and cool down. Taking care to follow these points can help to reduce the risk of sprains, strains, and muscle injuries, by working to address the risk factors which lead to accidents, which in turn cause injury. 
The best aspect of this approach is that it is (for the most part) totally free. Yes, you may need to invest in a new pair of trainers which actually fit, but good stretching, warm-ups, cool downs and ensuring that you practice good form are all free to implement.
But, let’s be honest – do you always perform a warm-up and a cool down, do you always remember to stretch? Here’s the problem with this approach – it requires a real investment in time and effort to pay off.
Optimising your body
We have already seen that Developing a fitness plan which protects your body can help decrease your chance of injury – however, thus far we have assumed that your body is already working “as it should”.
The body itself is incredibly complex and requires hundreds of muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments to work together to produce even simple movement. If any part of that system is not working well, you could be placing yourself at greater risk of injury, even if you’re religious about your warm-ups and cooldowns. The reason is simple – altered biomechanics in one joint can lead to overcompensation in others which can result in pain and an increased risk of injury over time, and, perhaps more importantly, reduces the ability of the body to compensate for any sudden impacts, such as from a fall. By contrast, optimal biomechanical function gives your body a better chance of avoiding an injury when accidents do occur. Simply put, a muscle that is already overworked as a result of overcompensation can be more easily stressed to the point of injury, than one which is otherwise working in its optimal range.
So, how can we keep our body working in its optimal range? One of the best approaches is an advanced discipline within chiropractic, known as Chiropractic biophysics. At complete chiropractic, we specialise in Chiropractic biophysics, which is perhaps why we’re so popular with sportspeople!
How can CBP help?
Whereas traditional chiropractic is mostly focused on getting clients out of pain, CBP researchers have gone a step further – also taking into account the overall function of the body, optimal posture and alignment. This research has lead to the development of a model, known as the ‘Harrison Spinal Model’. This model details both Ideal and Average geometric shapes for the curves of the spine from the side. Additionally, ideal and average ranges for the spinal segmental angles for each of the spinal regions have been identified. By working towards an “ideal spine” CBP practitioners help those who are especially concerned with their biomechanical function to work their body into a state of perfect alignment, ensuring that the spine and musculature are properly loaded and therefore reducing the risk of injury.
In practice, this is achieved through the use of “Mirror Image Adjustment” – a technique which, assists a Chiropractor in the rapid rehabilitation of a patient’s posture. These adjustments seek to “re-balance” the bodies sense of proper balance or alignment by way of triggering improved muscle and nerve reflexes. Postural adjustments are performed with a drop table (a chiropractic adjustment table), hand-held instrument, or specialist traction equipment.
As a complement to the mirror image adjustment technique, there is also a series of specific Mirror Image posture exercises, many of which can be performed at home, between sessions and indeed, as part of your existing stretching plan. Mirror image exercises are performed to stretch shortened muscles and to strengthen those muscles that have weakened in areas where postural muscles have adapted to asymmetric or abnormal postures.
The best way to prevent injuries is?
Taken as a whole, CBP treatment is an excellent way to optimise your posture – whereas practising good habits when exercising is an easy to implement way to avoid the conditions which lead to injury in the first place. Miss either of these aspects out of your health and training plan, and you’re potentially opening the door to injury. If you’re struggling with injuries that don’t seem to heal, often feel stiff or in pain or just can’t quite enjoy the range of motion you used to – it’s time to book an appointment for some CBP treatment! On the other hand, if you’re already working on optimising your posture and balance but keep experiencing injury, it might be time to reevaluate your training practices.
 Preventing Sports Injuries. University of Rochester Medical Center. 2021.