As we embark upon our Fourth Annual March Madness Bracket Challenge and all the basketball we will be watching… OK, I will be watching basketball, Dr. Niki probably not. BUT she would definitely agree with me on this blog!

It’s fairly basic knowledge that elite athletes are under chiropractic care to perform at their best and recover faster from injuries. I’d like to take a minute and explore this a bit more in depth. Along with helping you understand that even though we may think we can shoot like LeBron, the ability of your body to absorb forces and withstand injury is extremely beneficial in our everyday non-LeBron lives.

We hear all the time, “I slept wrong”, “I lifted something wrong”, or “I threw the ball wrong.” If that was the whole story, that would mean there is only one, perfect, universal way of biomechanically doing all these things. That doesn’t make much sense, right? If you’ve seen people lift weights or throw a ball – there are basics that are the same, but there is no way that each person that’s doing it “right” does it exactly the same way. There are different nuances that make each individual unique. And sleeping the “right way”?! Don’t even get me started! You may have heard us recommend to avoid sleeping on your stomach, but that still leaves a HUGE number of other sleeping positions for you to choose from. If there was ONLY ONE right way to move your body, then everyone else would be injured if they didn’t sleep, lift, or throw in that exact same way. That doesn’t make any sense.

(Disclaimer – this isn’t free reign to toss all proper lifting, throwing, and sleeping suggestions out the window! Your trainer would hate me. Those are the basics, the foundation, and I simply want to build on that.)

So, I think we can agree there’s something bigger than just biomechanics.

When we have a strong functioning nervous system; this connects the action of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons so they are supple and flexible – so they are able to absorb large amounts of force.

I like to think about it like this – let’s get back to basketball. When things are connected, flexible, and have the ability to quickly react – it looks like this:

There is so much going on here and it looks effortless.

When our nervous system is functioning optimally; our muscles, ligaments, and tendons are able to absorb and quickly respond to forces. Because, let’s be honest. We’ve all slept in a position that probably wasn’t the best – have you ever slept on an airplane? What’s the difference between you waking up a bit stiff and that going away quickly – and the person next to you “throwing their neck out” because they slept wrong?

YOUR body has the ability to absorb and adapt those forces, and their body didn’t. And where does that ability come from? That’s right, your nervous system’s coordination of all of those actions.

That person that “threw their neck out” because they slept wrong on the plane? Think of it like this:

Their body wasn’t ready, couldn’t handle, and couldn’t absorb that force. And because of that, it caused injury and dysfunction in their body.

Now of course this makes sense why elite athletes want to be under chiropractic care. Their livelihood depends on their body’s ability to perform, withstand, and recover from injuries.

And for “average Joes” like you and I, this is so important in everyday life. We will constantly be running into extra forces: a step off the sidewalk you weren’t expecting, lifting your luggage up to the overhead bin on an airplane, lifting your kid or grandkid, falling asleep on the couch, etc. — OUR benefit lies in our ability to absorb these forces so they don’t cause us major injury and dysfunction. And that ability to absorb forces comes from a properly functioning nervous system – which is what we assess each and every time you come into our office.

Lastly, please do me a favor. Maybe you have someone in your life that is an athlete, or maybe you have someone that comments how they seem to get injured from each and every force they encounter. They would benefit from this message about the body’s ability to absorb forces. Please share this with them! And if you know LeBron, please share it with him too!

Dr. Bethany

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