Soccer has come a long way in the U.S. since our national team qualified for the final round of the World Cup in 1990. An estimated 24.5 million Americans now play soccer at some level, second in numbers to only China. With the rise in popularity has come a rise in injuries and a closer look at how chiropractic care can help players avoid injuries and increase performance.
Originally thought to be a no-contact sport, Americans have learned that, in reality, the opposite is true. Players crash into each other at top speeds, fighting for control of the ball, and are knocked to the ground. Players running in one direction must suddenly shift to another, leading with their shoulders and twisting at the knees, which results in common knee injuries.
Then there is “heading,” when players head-butt the ball as a means of intercepting and redirecting it. Heading can be especially dangerous. The average speed of a soccer ball is 67 mph at the point of impact, enough to shake up any player and cause injury. Another means of causing joint misalignment is the way players kick the ball, usually while twisting their hips and lower back.
Cause and Effect
All of the rough contact and repetitive movements can cause the spine to move out of alignment. When that happens, it applies pressure to nerves and can cause pain in an athlete’s arms and legs, as well as their back. The repeated twisting of the back while kicking can cause joint pain all up and down the legs and feet. Sometimes these injuries don’t surface right away, but they do chip away at an athlete’s speed, strength and kicking force.
Chiropractors typically use spinal manipulation, or adjustment, to realign joints with decreased movement. The practice employs controlled force to move joints back to proper alignment. This not only restores mobility, but also eases pain and muscle tightness and allows damaged tissue to heal.
Regular and routine adjustments can benefit athletes by correcting misalignments before they become problems, allowing a better range of movement, which is a must for soccer players. Additional benefits include better flexibility and a boost in blood flow, as well as fewer injuries.
Soccer can be hard on the body. For more information about the benefits of chiropractic care for soccer players and other athletes, contact Olympia Chiropractic and Physical Therapy.