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Volleyball can be a Pain in the Neck and Back

Posted Apr 11 2010 12:00am

    Sarah New. Executive Express Chiropractic
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.

by Sarah New, Executive Express Chiropractic Special Assistant and Volleyball Coach

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