By Marcy Prendergast, LMT
Just like you would tune up your car and check the tires to prepare for the snowy winter months, your body could use a tune up as well - especially if you plan to hit the slopes. Everything from low impact glides down the bunny hill to high intensity mogul runs or terrain park rides put strain on your muscles and joints. Ice skating, hockey, sledding, tubing, and snowmobiling can be a doozy too! Chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, and other modalities can get your body ready to perform at its best and recover more rapidly.
Along with Fun, Comes Risk
For many of us Coloradans, nothing compares to the exhilaration of a day on the slopes. While it is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, and there are many physical benefits to staying active through ski season, there are also inherent risks (as with participation in any sport). The repetitive movements can cause strain on our muscles and joints, and the potential for falls and collisions is certainly a concern as well. All of this can lead to acute or chronic pain. This is not to dissuade you from enjoying the slopes this season! However, taking preventative measures like a chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture or dry needling treatment, or massage are a great place to start to ensure that you stay safe and healthy to enjoy your favorite winter sport all season long.
Do your Knees Hurt Reading This?
As with all sports, the condition of your spine and the surrounding muscles of your back and core are integral to your ability to perform optimally and reduce the risk of strain or injury. Our hips and knees take a lot of impact from winter sports as well. When these areas are not functioning properly, your body will compensate for any misalignments. Even the slightest misalignment can have a big impact, causing your posture and movement patterns to change. Think of one drop of water spreading it’s ripple effect across an entire pond! Even if these deviations are so minor they are not immediately noticeable to you, you may FEEL the change after a day of repetitive motion on the mountain. To prevent this, it is important to set up a pre-emptive visit (or several) to your chiropractor or massage therapist to get your body in tip-top condition before hitting the slopes - not just after you notice a problem. Depending on what condition you are in before that first ski trip of the season, it may take several treatments to get your issues resolved. It is best to get checked out a few weeks prior to your first trip. It can also be counter-productive to receive bodywork the morning of or even the day before demanding physical activity, so be sure you plan your visits accordingly! Consistency of care throughout the season is crucial as well, so if you are a powder hound who hits the slopes most weekends, be sure to check in with your provider often.
Chiropractic and Massage for Sports Injuries
While prevention is important, accidents still happen no matter how prepared we are. Regardless of your skill level or how cautious you are, you may suddenly encounter a patch of ice, rocks or branches, a steep drop, or an inexperienced skier, so falls and collisions can still happen on the slopes. These can come with immediate injuries that, even if they seem minor, if left untreated, can lead to long-term issues and chronic pain. Even a slight misalignment can create changes in your posture and gait, affecting surrounding areas. That is why it is important to seek treatment promptly to make sure a minor injury doesn’t turn into a bigger problem.
Treat Yourself like a Pro Athlete
Countless studies have shown that chiropractic care and other bodywork have many benefits, not limited to improved joint mobility, decreased joint inflammation and possible degeneration, increased energy, improved blood circulation leading to faster recovery, better quality sleep, and even increased immune system function. This makes it no surprise that chiropractors and massage therapists are included in medical staff for the winter Olympics! Elite athletes and weekend warriors alike should take advantage of these benefits.
Aside from chiropractic adjustments and massage, some of the other therapies available at Washington Park Chiropractic can help you recover and relax after an intense ski trip. Try NormaTec to speed recovery of overworked legs and hips. Cupping, K-Laser, and Graston treatments can also speed healing.
Call our wellness coordinators at 303-744-7100, email us at email@example.com, or check out our online booking to schedule your “regular maintenance” and make sure your body is functioning at its best for the rest of ski season!
Marcy Prendergast, LMT, specializes in Deep Tissue, Sports Massage, Trigger Point Therapy, Cupping, and Active and Passive Release Techniques. She enjoys working with patients to find the root of their pain and dysfunction and get them feeling and moving better.