Professional cycling or cycling for sport carries an immense amount of strain on a whole host of muscles – meaning that if you want to compete at the Tour De France, never mind to do well, you’ll not only need to be physically fit and mentally prepared for over 2000 miles of pedalling in total, but you’ll also need to understand the importance of chiropractic treatment when it comes to regularly taking to the bicycle. Even if you cycle for a hobby or as part of a local team, it’s important to understand just why and how chiropractic services can help prepare your body for a two-wheeled marathon, not just to provide pain relief.
Spinal pressure is a huge factor in cycling as riders will position themselves in such a way that they are continually bent over handlebars – which would, in time, create an immense amount of stress and pressure on inter-vertebral discs, and the back in general. In a similar sense to how sitting in one position for too long can cause undue back complaints, cycling not only strains the legs and tests the body physically, but also provides the back in general with a host of physical stretches and strains that many cyclists, professional or otherwise, would do well consulting chiropractic care for ahead of any major events or journeys.
While nerves can be irritated greatly by perpetual cycling, disc movement can in fact cancel out any major problems that may occur in the lower back. In fact, it’s reported that cyclists complain of lower back pain less than the general population – indicating that there is clearly something about what they do regularly that prevents such issues from reoccurring. However, with regular cycling can come underlying disc problems, meaning that it is imperative to arrange for pre-consultation with chiropractic care well ahead of any major races or journeys.
Professional cyclists, particularly those that attend intense, high profile and lengthy skirmishes such as the Tour De France, will always ensure that they have relevant chiropractic care and support ahead of undertaking any races – and it is commonplace for a chiropractor to in fact have a place on the team. This is so that they can fine-tune and prepare their bodies for the strenuous and often straining exercise that lies ahead of them, making chiropractic support all the more essential for when it comes to getting to the goal in one piece.
There are many injuries and strains that unfortunately come as standard with cycling long journeys and strenuous races – and it’s therefore important to keep a close eye out for them, or even better, to consider approaching and consulting a chiropractor specialist that can prepare you for any long-term rides or exercise that you may be set to experience.
For chiropractic support and help ahead of any cycling, whether it be racing, or long journeys, simply contact Didcot Chiropractic Clinic today and we will be happy to arrange a pre-cycling consultation or chiropractic plan with you. Call 01235 510097 today and we will be happy to see you as and when is convenient for you!
As a chiropractor I encounter various preconceptions about what we do. These range from “putting bones back in place” to “fixing people’s backs”. These perceptions exist because of the inevitably different ways chiropractors communicate what they do and because our understanding shifts as we make more scientific progress. The latest research conducted by Heidi Haavik, in New Zealand, over the last 15 years has given us new insight into exactly what chiropractic does…and much of this may come as a surprise. Her research suggests that chiropractic improves brain function. This happens in a variety of ways:
Our brain has an internal map of where our body is in time and space. Imagine all the different muscles of the spine feeding back information to the brain. When we have a healthy spine the muscles attached to the vertebrae send information to the brain as they stretch when we move. This tells the brain the precise location of each vertebra. If any of these parts of the spine stop moving then the muscles stop telling the brain what’s going on. When the brain loses this information it goes back to the moment when it last received input and assumes that this is where the vertebra still is.
This typifies the brain’s immense capacity for adaptation which is commonly referred to as plasticity. In this case it may not be such a good thing. When the brain gradually loses its accurate picture of what is going on in the body there is a greater likelihood that our body will express symptoms. In other words our brain can learn to function poorly (what we call maladaptive plastic changes), just as it can help us to learn how to ride a bike. It is not just pain that we may experience – these maladaptive changes may result in poor co-ordination (e.g. we may bump into objects more often, or our performance may drop off in sport and exercise).
What a chiropractic adjustment does is improve the communication pathways between our brain and our body. It ‘resets’ or breaks the cycle of negative messages coming from our body.
When we lose range of motion in our joints it typically happens gradually so initially we don’t notice it. We may only become aware for example when we can no longer turn our head to look over our shoulder when we are driving or we simply put it down to getting older.
A chiropractic adjustment can help restore normal motion to areas of our spine that are no longer functioning at their optimal level.
Most patients visit us when they are in pain; it’s a great motivator for us to seek change. Pain is a late showing in any form of poor health. We may think that our back pain was caused when we bent over to pick up the shopping but common sense would make us wonder why it happened on this specific occasion and not another. The reason is that we have gradual maladaptive plastic changes in our brain over time as a consequence of our poor lifestyle choices. Thus when we lift our shopping this may simply be the final straw that “breaks the camel’s back”.
Research has shown that when we are in pain (especially if it has become chronic) then the body’s capacity to protect itself is reduced. So if we have chronic low back pain, for example, we may have ongoing inhibition of our core tummy muscles which means we are more likely to injure our low back.
Chiropractic reduces the maladaptive plastic changes that have built up and reduces our pain. Many of our patients enjoy maintenance care because it reduces the build up of poor function caused by poor lifestyle.
Many elite athletes these days use chiropractors because they appreciate that any improvement in function can give them the edge over their competitors.
Our brain creates our own “inner reality” through the senses of sight, hearing, touch, proprioception (sense of body position) and smell. This input is blended together by the brain to create a picture of what is happening in our body and the environment (multisensory integration). The more smoothly this integration occurs the better our body works.
For more information on Heidi Haavik’s research see http://heidihaavik.com/.