Rugby is a great sport and this world cup has showcased what a spectacle it is. Two teams putting their strength, skill and speed against each other like modern day gladiators. Unfortunately, with this degree of physical contact, injuries occur often.
Injuries fall into two main categories; traumatic and non-traumatic. Being tackled and tackling form the greatest portion of traumatic injury, and overexertion and overuse form the greatest portion of non-traumatic injury. The shoulder, lower leg and head/neck/face area are the most commonly injured body regions.
Traumatic injuries can be prevented in several ways. The first and foremost thing to mention is head placement and body height while tackling are critical in avoiding head, face and neck injuries. This should be a priority in training, as concussion or other head injuries can be a serious by-product of rugby. The other way in which traumatic injuries can be reduced is by ensuring that fitness level and conditioning are at optimal as tiredness toward the end of a match can result in poor technique. Also, strength training helps to build strong muscles that can cushion the impact of a traumatic tackle and help to protect joints.
Likewise, non-traumatic injuries can be reduced by increasing endurance and strength so that the body can withstand long periods of strenuous activity. Adequate and targeted warm ups and maintaining levels of electrolytes and liquids is of vital importance during the match.
Chiropractic can help by maintaining proper working order in the body and giving advice on correct form and type of training exercises. Chiropractic works by maintaining the correct alignment and movement of the skeletal system; especially the spine.
If the nervous system is compromised by a ‘pinched nerve’ at the spine level it can lead to muscles either being too tight and/or weak. Training (exercising) muscles that are not ‘switched on’ due to altered nerve supply will not produce the desired result in terms of strengthening. Also limited joint movement will reduce flexibility, which can mean a player is unable to achieve the right positions to tackle, scrum, etc. correctly e.g. if a players back is stiff they will not be able to get down low enough and quickly enough to effect a safe and effective tackle.
What all this means is that before embarking on a training program, it is important you have a chiropractic check to ensure your skeletal system (especially spine) if functioning correctly. Also, because of the traumatic nature of rugby, it is important to have it rechecked and corrected regularly.
Chiropractors can also design (or help with the design) of a conditioning programme, particularly taking into view the individual players’ strength, flexibility, injuries and needs.
Your chiropractor (especially if trained in Applied Kinesiology) can test and correct muscles that are too tight and/or weak through various muscle techniques such as massage, stretching and, of course, correcting the pathways of nerves to the muscle if they are compromised at the spinal level.
If you wish to have a free 15 minute consultation to see if you can benefit from chiropractic or wish to talk to one of our chiropractors about any concerns you may have, please phone us on 0113 228 9888.