Updated: Apr 5
By. Dr. Grove Higgins
Proper spinal alignment is essential for optimal performance in athletes. It’s the same for everyone, no matter their activity level. The spine serves as the foundation for the body, and any misalignment or dysfunction can negatively impact dexterity, strength, agility, and endurance. As a chiropractor and sports medicine specialist, I've seen firsthand the benefit of proper spinal alignment for performance.
One of the main benefits of proper spinal alignment is improved range of motion. When the spine is properly aligned, joints can move through their full range of motion without restriction. This allows you to move more efficiently, reducing the risk of injury and improving your overall performance. Proper spinal alignment also helps to prevent imbalances in the body, which can lead to compensations and, eventually, injuries.
Another benefit of proper spinal alignment is improved balance and stability. The spine is the center of the body, and any misalignment can throw off your balance and stability. This can lead to poor technique, decreased power, and increased risk of injury. By maintaining proper spinal alignment, you can improve your balance and stability, allowing you to move with greater control and precision.
"Poor posture can cause a wide range of health problems, from neck and back pain to digestive issues and breathing problems. By maintaining good posture, you can avoid many of these problems and improve your overall health and well-being." - Mayo Clinic
Proper spinal alignment also plays a key role in the nervous system. The spine houses the spinal cord, which is responsible for transmitting signals between the brain and the rest of the body. Any misalignment or dysfunction in the spine can interfere with this communication, leading to decreased coordination, slower reaction times, and decreased overall performance. By maintaining proper spinal alignment, athletes can optimize their nervous system function, improving their reaction times and overall performance.
Proper spinal alignment also plays a role in immune system function. Studies have shown that misalignments in the spine can lead to decreased immune system function, making athletes more susceptible to illness and infection. By maintaining proper spinal alignment, athletes can optimize their immune system function, reducing the risk of illness and allowing them to perform at their best. This is particularly important for athletes who train intensively or compete at a high level, as their immune systems can be compromised by the stress of training and competition.
Athletes who maintain proper spinal alignment also benefit from improved posture. Proper posture helps to reduce strain on the muscles and joints, allowing athletes to move more efficiently and reducing the risk of injury. Poor posture, on the other hand, can lead to imbalances in the body and increased strain on the muscles and joints, leading to decreased performance and increased risk of injury.
In summary, proper spinal alignment is essential for optimal performance in athletes. By improving their range of motion, balance and stability, nervous system function, and posture, athletes can move more efficiently, reduce the risk of injury, and perform at their best. As a sports medicine specialist, I highly recommend that all athletes prioritize spinal alignment as a key component of their training and performance goals.
If you want to help yourself and improve your own posture, breathing, and performance, here is a link to a very simple and quick set of drills you can do all day.
TIP: The frequency you do drills makes more changes faster. Do these drills first thing in the morning and the last thing before bed. Then, throughout the day, every time you get up to go to the restroom, do a standing drill or sitting drill. You will find it makes a big difference with little effort!
Our Favorite Products
Having tools to help you move better can help greatly. Here are some of our favorites: