Did you know that the inability of some people to properly activate and control their core muscles when engaging in exercise predisposes them to lower back injury? Did you also know that this may be reversible with regular chiropractic care according to researchers at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic.
According to Dr Heidi Haavik, Director of Research at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic: `We know that delayed trunk muscle reflex responses increase the risk of low back injuries. Research suggests that this is partly due to a failure of the brain to predict what is going to happen during some movements, affecting what is known as feed-forward activation times of the deep abdominal musculature. There is now accumulating evidence that chiropractic care may play a part in improving the ability of the brain to engage the core muscles appropriately and stabilise the spine.’
`Chiropractic care improves the communication between the brain and body and results in better control of the core muscles during body movements, so that your spine is at less risk of injury. We are also starting to see research developing which suggests that a single session of chiropractic care may improve muscle activation and increase muscle contractions equivalent to findings following three weeks of strength training. This line of research also suggests chiropractic care may possibly reduce muscle fatigue developing during strong contractions.’
Researchers have objectively demonstrated that chiropractic care can change aspects of nervous system function including the way the brain controls muscles, responds to sensory stimuli and controls limb function. New Zealand research has already indicated that chiropractic care may have a role to play in assisting those who display poor proprioceptive function- this means the ability of the brain to sense the relative position of the body parts in space, and the ability to move accurately and precisely without having to look at what you are doing.
As Dr Haavik explains: ‘When proprioceptive function is impaired, for instance not knowing precisely where your arm is when your eyes are closed, you are more likely to be clumsy and accident prone. We know that chiropractic care assists brain function in many ways, one of which is proprioceptive function and this improves the accuracy of the internal brain map so your brain accurately knows what's going on at all times.’
So, when you’re next heading to the gym, out on your bike, or up on the slopes, consider how well you are activating and controlling your core muscles. Especially if you’re training for a particular event, chiropractor care might be worth considering as an important part of your training, making sure your core is able to stabilise your body properly!
- Haavik H, Murphy B. The role of spinal manipulation in addressing disordered sensorimotor integration and altered motor control. J Electromyogr Kinesiol (2012), doi:10.1016/j.jelekin.2012.02.012
- Adapted from NZCA Media Release 22/05/14