Every day, we perform activities that cause postural stress on our bodies, but for bodybuilders, this postural stress can cause injuries and health issues that go well beyond the spine. If you are a bodybuilder and are experiencing any neck, mid-back, or lower back pain, receiving chiropractic care can help keep the stress off of your spine, improve the range of motion in your joints, and help you sculpt and maintain the muscle you need to compete. A chiropractor will be able to analyze your alignment and utilize techniques to relieve pain, treat ailments, and prevent further damage to your body and overall health.
Below, we look at some of the top benefits of chiropractic care for bodybuilders and describe some of the bodybuilding disadvantages that can occur if spinal misalignments are left untreated.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Bodybuilders
When some of your joints are stuck or fixated, the surrounding joints are forced to compensate, which can cause pulled muscles and joint injuries. Chiropractic care helps alleviate strain on the body and creates fewer opportunities for injury, allowing you to be the best version of yourself. General chiropractic care for bodybuilders offers the following benefits:
- Improved range of motion
- Better recovery times
- Reduced injuries
However, chiropractic corrective care (also known as spinal curvature correction) goes a step further, offering the following benefits:
- The natural curvature of the spine is improved and restored.
- Reflexes, speed, and muscle coordination are improved.
- Power and strength are improved.
For bodybuilders, another benefit of seeking chiropractic care is muscle activation. When you have spinal misalignments or unnatural spinal curvature, you may have difficulty accessing certain parts of your muscles. The right treatment plan can provide you with the steps needed to get circulation and oxygen flowing to every part of your muscles.
How Spinal Misalignments Can Negatively Affect Bodybuilders
There are three areas of the back that bodybuilders need to tend to achieve optimum performance. If these areas are left untreated, the entire body can suffer. Not only can a misaligned spine shift your balance, but it can also produce more injuries and decrease your strength and balanced muscle formation. Below are the three areas of focus and the spinal issues that can arise if these areas are not properly addressed.
Neck: Your neck plays a critical role in your reflex ability and the neurologic control of your body. Research shows that having a good neck curvature positively impacts your ability to perform in the gym. A general chiropractor will utilize neck adjustments to improve the mobility of the spine, restore range of motion, and reduce muscle guarding. After an adjustment, you should notice an improvement in your ability to turn and tilt your head as well as reduced pain, soreness, and stiffness in your neck. A chiropractor focused on corrective care will go a step beyond, restoring the natural neck curvature to create a lasting improvement.
Thoracic (Mid-Back): When the vertebrae in your mid-back become misaligned, they can put pressure on nerves that exit the spine and pull on the muscles that attach to the spine. This pressure and pulling can lead to kyphosis, described in further detail below.
- Thoracic hypokyphosis: This happens when you have a very straight mid-back, which causes an imbalance toward the “pull” muscles and removes the natural spring in your back. Exercises like rowing or pulling can worsen the condition. If left untreated, building pec muscles and defining your upper abs will become more difficult. In addition, you are more susceptible to rib sprains, rib attachments, and compression of the cartilage in and around your upper and mid-back.
Thoracic hyperkyphosis: This condition is attributed to a hunched back and puts more pressure on the vertebrae and discs, which are not designed for this type of loading. If left untreated, creating definition in your back muscles will become more difficult because of chronically overlengthened posterior musculature. Hyperkyphosis also forces your shoulders to compensate for the lost range of thoracic motion, which can lead to shoulder dysfunction and injury. In addition, hyperkyphosis also creates hardships on the lungs and heart because of the compression of the chest.
Lumbar (Lower-Back): The lumbar curvature is where all power for lifting and gait is generated; it’s a vital piece of your core. The vertebrae in your lower back also contain the spinal nerves that control communication between the brain and the legs. Damage to the lumbar area of the spine affects the lower back, pelvis, and lower extremities, and can even cause issues with lower abdominal muscles and hip flexors.
- Hypolordosis: This is known as a lesser curve or the flattening of a curve (straightening) in the spine. The loss of a natural curve places adverse spinal tension and stress on the spinal discs and vertebrae. Discs and vertebrae under lots of compression or stress tend to tear, bulge, herniate, and degenerate. If left untreated, hypolordosis can be the most dangerous condition. Not only will you have trouble sculpting your lower back muscles, but your strength and power will be compromised. When your lower back is misaligned or injured, you are unable to fully utilize the full biomechanical ability of the lumbar spine, taking away some of your lifting power.
- Hyperlordosis: Hyperlordosis is seen as extra curvature in the lower back, pushing the belly outward. This condition overloads the weight of the spine onto the joints and cartilage. This excess pressure can lead to a diffuse band of pain across the lower back, arthritis in lower joints, and sciatica. If left untreated, sculpting your lower abs can become difficult, and further long-term injuries, such as spinal stenosis, a painful condition caused by the narrowing of the spinal canal, could present. Exercises recommended for this diagnosis include leg lifts, planks, and core work. Steer clear of back extension exercises.
Treating a Misaligned Spine With Chiropractic Care
Your spine exhibits a wide range of motion depending on the activities you participate in. It’s important to focus on keeping a neutral (or natural) spine alignment during certain athletic activities, such as running, biking, and lifting weights. A natural resting position of the spine is important to correctly complete a task where good posture and balance are required.
The following spinal alignment techniques can help you obtain better posture and spinal health:
- Interface with your technology correctly.
- Be active and mobile.
- Strengthen your core.
- Practice good posture.
- Be aware of your sleeping habits.
- See a Chiropractic BioPhysics® practitioner.
As a bodybuilder, body symmetry is important, and spinal misalignments can cause your muscles to grow unevenly. Aesthetics aside, this can be detrimental to your overall health. A chiropractor specializing in Chiropractic BioPhysics® can help diagnose any spinal issue you have and can develop a customized treatment plan to get your spine back to its natural curvature. At PostureWorks, our treatment plans may include postural exercises, neuro-muscular reeducation, spinal alignment traction, and nutritional recommendations that align with your ultimate goal—to perform at your peak level.
Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function while eliminating the source of pain and circulatory and nervous dysfunction. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is conservative, painless, and non-invasive. Contact us today to schedule your appointment or to learn more about the benefits of chiropractic care for bodybuilders.