What says summer like a hot day, metal bleachers, and the sound of bats ringing as they send baseballs hurtling into the outfield? As summer and fall sports ramp-up, keeping our young athletes healthy and moving is as important as ever. In our clinic we see young athletes every day with acute injuries and for proactive health. In my experience, there are some basic things athletes can do to help keep themselves healthy and in-the-game. This is by no means an exhaustive list... but its a great place to start.
#1-Protecting the Arm and Shoulder
All sports including baseball, tennis, and lacrosse create stress on the glenohumeral joint of the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and all the surrounding muscles and ligaments that support those structures. It’s important to keep these joints aligned and mobile (through chiropractic care) as well as supporting the surrounding soft tissue through stretching and exercise. Some basic dynamic stretches include shoulder rolls and big arm circles (both directions), controlled side twists while keeping the pelvis facing forward, and straight-arm wrist circles to stretch the forearm muscles. These stretches are best performed daily as well as before and after games and practice.
We should also pay attention to overall muscle balance between the chest and back muscles; most people neglect their back muscles which can lead to shoulder injuries. Work with a trainer to address these imbalances and strengthen the muscles along the shoulder blade.
#2-Keep Mobility through the Rib Cage and Low Back
Keep the rib cage mobile to avoid rib injury during twisting motions and facilitate shoulder motion. Prolonged sitting causes rib cage rigidity so we need to counteract that with motion. In addition to chiropractic adjustments to help restore proper motion, I also recommend learning a few basic yoga poses: “thread the needle” and “standing yoga seal” are both great movements to encourage mobility through the rib cage. “Cat-cow” is a simple but effective movement for all athletes for low back health. The other key to protecting the low back is focusing on a strong core; I recommend daily glute-bridges and planks to activate the core muscles.
#3- Think Holistically
Don’t neglect sleep and nutrition. As a holistic practitioner, I am always reminding people that everything is connected. Mental stress impacts your physical body and vice-versa. If you aren’t sleeping well or getting proper nutrition, it will impact muscle and joint health and can lead to injury. Chiropractic care is all about helping support your body from the inside-out for less pain and better function. To make an appointment, give our clinic a call at 952-443-9000.