After playing volleyball at a competitive level for 14 years, I have always amazed myself that I have never acquired an acute injury like the typical ankle sprain and/or ACL tear that comes along with the sport. Although my joints and ligaments may have been spared, my lower back has failed to avoid the stresses of the court. Not only have I seen this in myself, but I have also seen this occur in 60-75% of the girls I have coached over the last 5 years. Most people, I being one of them, fail to relate back pain to the constant stresses of certain volleyball techniques. More to the point, if I look back at all the times my performance was inhibited due to back pain, almost all of them could and would have been prevented with chiropractic care.
Although I, like many others, had back pain that varied from area to area, the area that caused me the most trouble was my lower back. The reason why volleyball players are susceptible to this low back pain is due to the techniques that cause prolonged truck flexion. In most skill sets, especially setting, serving, and hitting, a player must oscillate rapidly and repeatedly between full flexion and hyper extension. This, in combination with poor posture and poor technique, leads to an increase in mechanical stresses on the lower back which causes low back pain. Although an injury prevention training program is often used in order to avoid these conditions through core conditioning and back strengthening; I have learned along with many others, the program itself would be more effective with regular visits to the chiropractor. Without maintenance of a chiropractor, I have also seen symptoms reoccur rapidly with an increase in pain each time.
Along with low back pain, volleyball exposes players to upper back and cervical pain as well. This is typically due to the fact that most movements pertain to one side of the body. Whether it is hitting or serving, this constant overhead motion often causes misalignment within the vertebra column. If the volleyball player is not using a strengthening program that provides equal muscle build to both sides of the body, then it is inevitable that one side will have more muscle mass while the other becomes weaker. This can easily create a subluxation which causes vertebrae to interfere with the nervous system. Following this misalignment, parts of your body will not receive proper nerve messages, which will cause certain areas to not function at 100% of their innate abilities. In other words, parts of your body will not be working properly. If this is your dominant hitting arm, not only can this end up causing you to not hit the ball at maximum capacity, it can also cause you to hit the ball primarily with other smaller muscles, like the rotators cuff muscles that are fragile to repetitive overhead stresses. For any volleyball player, a shoulder injury could potentially end his or her career.
What it comes down to is that chiropractic is not only the answer to treating this back pain, but also should be used as a preventative measure. What I have learned from my own experiences has helped me focus on keeping each of my girls that I coach and have coached healthy. I stress the importance of chiropractic visits early on if I see bad posture or technique because once symptoms are felt, the misalignment has typically already been going on for months. If I can stop this cycle from taking place that goes from misalignment to pain with early treatment, then my job as a coach has been successful and each girl will come out more successful and will reach their maximum potential. No matter if it is you who plays volleyball or just know someone who does, make sure they are seeing a chiropractor to not only enhance their quality of life in general, but their volleyball abilities as well.