As you probably know, football players get hurt…a lot. Neck injuries are fairly common, especially those involving the disc. Probably the most famous player to have recent neck issues is Peyton Manning. He received three, maybe four depending on your source, neck surgeries for his injured disc. In some cases, chiropractic care can prevent the structural and mobility faults that may contribute to injuries like this one.
The neck has a gentle backwards curve, called a lordosis, that aids in shock absorption. The discs are also made to absorb compressive forces. Straightening of the cervical curve leads to increased pressure on the joints and discs of the neck. Over time this leads to decreased strength and height of the discs and degeneration of the joints. As the integrity of the discs decreases the risk of sports related injury increases.
The outer part of the disc acts like a ligament that helps hold the watery inner nucleus of the disc in place. This nucleus is what absorbs compressive forces. When the outer disc gets weak the inner disc is able to exert pressure outwards leading to a disc bulge or even herniation. If bad enough, this can press on the nerve roots exiting the spinal cord and cause all sorts of symptoms including pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness of the arms.
Routine chiropractic check-ups can help screen athletes for spinal abnormalities that could increase the risk and severity of sports related injuries. Proper spinal mechanics can help the body resist injury and function at its maximum level. A body in motion stays in motion. A chiropractor’s goal is to keep it that way.