If you’re like many families, your children are probably enrolled in multiple sports. Your family is on the go for practices, games, competitions, and tournaments throughout the year. As your kids get older you have likely noticed an increase in the number of practices each week and games or competitions becoming more rigorous. Hopefully, your children’s coaches have developed great conditioning routines to keep your kids injury-free.
In Coquitlam, kids are enrolled in any number of competitive sports, especially contact sports like hockey, soccer, basketball, football, or lacrosse. As a parent or guardian, you should be aware of the potential for skeletal injury. As one of Coquitlam’s leading chiropractic and physiotherapy centres, Westwood Total Health sees the negative results these sports can have on kids of all ages.
According to the American Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries and Physical Fitness, “Without proper preparation, playing any sport can turn into a bad experience. There are structural and physical developmental issues that need to be taken into consideration before children undertake certain sports.”
Here are 5 ways your chiropractor can help ensure the health of your child athlete:
1. Correcting Spinal Alignment and Postural Issues
Doctors of chiropractic (DC) are trained and licensed to treat the entire neuromusculoskeletal system. Not only does that apply to the spine and all of its joints but it also includes knee, shoulder, wrist, hand, and even hip joints. Kids today are developing poor posture habits at an early age with an accelerated used of handheld devices, like cell phones and tablets. These postural habits being developed create pathways to the brain and spinal cord and become a “new normal” by the time your child is a teenager, which not only compromises the nervous system and spinal cord, they can develop into chronic pain syndromes and make kids susceptible to injury. Proper alignment of the spine ensures optimal nerve flow to all muscles and internal organs, fueling the body to perform at its highest level.
2. Treat Injuries that May Occur – In Sports, Injuries are Inevitable
Younger athletes are more susceptible to injuries because they have slower reaction times than adults and are less coordinated because they are still growing and developing. The nervous system and spinal cord are creating new motor pathways and connections to muscles and joints. Chiropractors can make sure there is no interference with that development, ensuring proper alignment of the spine. Many injuries result from overuse, such as repetitive use syndrome, which comes from placing repetitive stress on our muscles, joints, and nerves. Injuries in sports are caused by not using proper techniques or equipment, such as shoes, creating greater demands on the body with less healing time. Injuries in sport are inevitable and Doctors of chiropractic treat a variety of child athletes in sports, including football, soccer, hockey, gymnastics, dance, figure skating, and basketball, just to name a few, and can provide proper stretching exercises to reduce injuries. Treating these injuries at an early stage gets your child athlete returning to sport sooner rather than later. They can also provide advice on proper techniques and equipment, specifically calling to your body’s biomechanics so the body and spine work as efficiently as possible.
3. Preventative Spinal Care
Chiropractic adjustments are safe, painless and very beneficial for your child. A well-aligned spine and regular checkup for muscle development, joint functioning, and most importantly nervous system development can ensure your child is not adapting or compensating for sports injuries or spinal misalignments caused by a child’s active lifestyle. Early detection of spinal misalignments can prevent future chronic pain and ensures the body is functioning and developing optimally.
4. Assessing Foot Biomechanics
Abnormal foot biomechanics is a major contributor to the development of pain and injury to a child’s foot, ankle, knee or leg in sports. Chiropractors are trained in the assessment of children’s feet for biomechanical or gait abnormalities that cause these injuries. A biomechanical assessment will help determine if your child athlete will benefit from orthotics or other forms of therapy, such as footwear changes, strengthening or stretching exercises.
An excellent tool targeting weakness in the foot and ankle available at our clinic is the AFX (Ankle Foot Maximizer http://www.afx-online.com/ ), a one of a kind foot and ankle strengthener focusing on the intricate muscles of the foot. Assessing and administering treatment for your child’s foot biomechanics can provide effective relief of painful symptoms and return your young athlete back from injury promptly, with a more efficient gait pattern.
5. Extremity Functions and Alignment
Let’s face it, it’s no fun sitting on the sidelines nursing an injury while the rest of your teammates are playing and having fun. Injury anywhere can be caused by spinal misalignments and should be treated by a doctor of chiropractic. This includes our arms and legs because every single one of our nerves stems from the spinal cord. Proper alignment of the spine can ensure the proper nerve supply to these specific muscles and get them firing like they’re supposed to. Regular spinal adjustments can reduce the chance of injury to the muscles of the arms, shoulder, hips, legs, and feet in the short and long term, getting your child back in the game.
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Westwood Total Health is a busy, award-winning chiropractic, physiotherapy and massage therapy clinic and has been providing health and wellness care to families in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody since 2006. Through our quality care and patient education, we have become one of the busiest clinics in the province. Since 2013, we have consistently been voted favourite natural health clinic by readers of the Tri-City News.
The goal at Westwood Total Health is to improve spinal and body alignment and function, which promotes overall health. At Westwood Total Health our mission is to make the Tri-Cities the healthiest community in the country. Won’t you join us?
American Chiropractic Association
International Chiropractic Pediatric Association