Athletes are master compensators. They can figure out, without even realizing it, how to get around irregular movement patterns. But they do have their tells! There are many assessments and evaluation procedures specifically designed to spot dysfunctional patterns and compensations. These subtle signs are often overlooked by the untrained eye since they are so good at ‘cheating’ their movement patterns. So what should you be looking for to identify if they are compensating. These signs are distal stability patterns that show up due to a central core stability problem, which causes energy to be wasted stabilizing which robs speed, power, and endurance.
- Foot stability– the average person should be able to stand barefooted on one foot for 30 seconds with their eyes open. What you will find with dysfunction is that they will grip the floor with their toes or not be able to perform this for the average time.
- Breathing patterns– Normally at rest when breathing you should breathe with the diagphragm, and the chest and shoulders should rise slightly when taking a deep breath. You will most likely find that they will hold their breath performing simple drills. If there is a thoracic (mid back) problem you will find that when they cross their arms over their chest and rotate to one side and take a deep breath it will be more difficult breathing turning one way verses the other.
- Jaw Clenching – Many times you will find the athlete clenching their jaw when performing movements requiring core stability. This is the default mechanism for stabilization when the scaleens, lats, obliques, and quadrates lumborum are inhibited.
- Fist Clenching – Often you will find an athlete clenching their fists when performing power movement. This is normally associated with a psoas that is not firing correctly. It is part of the anterior chain so they will fire up the other muscles in the chain to stabilize the movements. Eventually you will find the athlete complaining of elbow tendonitis or shoulder problems not associated with trauma.
These are but a few of the performance robbing movement patterns that can be easily seen if you look for them. These patterns are correctable but will take some work. How chiropractic works into this is all neurological. Every cell tissue and organ in your body is controlled by your nervous system. When the information being sent from your brain and out your nerves is inhibited it causes the muscles to be inhibited, making them not work properly. When the communication is restored the body can begin to repair the faulty movement patterns. You must retrain these engrams (movement patterns). This is one of the major reasons, whether they know this or not, most professional teams have a chiropractor on staff. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to utilize this in your life. These same patterns show up in the average person’s life as well, and will lead to bigger problems since the normal person will not compensate as well. So call a real Fort Collins Sports Chiropractor today and experience the difference!.