To Your Health
April, 2007 (Vol. 01, Issue 04)
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Your athletic performance is directly determined by the status and coordination of your proprioception system. Proprioception is defined as "sensing the motion and position of the body."

Special nerve endings in the tissues surrounding your muscles and bones interact with your nervous system - the center for all of your mental activity - to coordinate your body's movements, posture and balance. Three regions of the body contain the most proprioceptive nerve endings: your feet, your spine and your neck.

If you have weaknesses or imbalances in any one of these areas, you cannot function at your best. It's important to take care of your feet and your spine because interference in these areas can negatively affect the coordination of your proprioception system. Your athletic performance depends a great deal on this system - how smoothly and quickly your body can respond to position, speed and balance changes.

Structural Management

Doctors of chiropractic can provide you with structural management. What's that? Structural management evaluates the weaknesses and imbalances in your body so that your doctor can develop a program to address them. Most sports injuries are mechanical or structural in nature, so it makes sense to evaluate and manage your body's structure.

Every individual's body is unique. Every individual also has structural defects. A structural defect is a fault or flaw in your body's structure. If you are an athlete, you have probably had a prior injury or have hereditary weaknesses, conditioning problems, physical and emotional stresses, dietary problems, or equipment deficiencies - all of which contribute to structural defects.

In order to effectively manage your structure, your chiropractor must first examine your structure. They will probably visually evaluate you first, making note of important information about your posture, such as your shoulder and hip heights, internal and external rotations of your knees, and abnormal spinal curves. Then they will examine all the arches of your feet. Your doctor also will conduct range-of-motion tests on all of your joints, muscle tests, leg-length measurements, and a standing X-ray of your overall body structure.

From examining your structure, your chiropractor learns important information that will be used to educate you about your specific imbalances and weaknesses. Because structural imbalances and weaknesses can increase your risk of injury, they should be addressed immediately with treatment, support and exercises.

Your Doctor Recommends ...

Once your doctor has evaluated your body's structure and identified any imbalances or weaknesses, they can correct the problems by developing a program that combines specific chiropractic adjustments, custom-made orthotics and a personalized conditioning program. This program usually will be based on three things: your individual needs, your fitness goals, and how well you progress with the exercises your doctor has recommended.