Whether you are a professional bodybuilder or just enjoy weight lifting for how it makes you look and feel, your spinal health matters a great deal. Weight lifting and chiropractic care go hand in hand. When the spine and central nervous system are working in harmony, your muscle function will respond in kind.
Unfortunately, too many people today consider health care to be a reactive measure. The adage of “If it ain’t broke why fix it?” seems to be applied to many health concerns. It is only after someone is exhibiting or feeling symptoms that they see a healthcare professional.
While you would think weightlifters, who are generally more in tune with their bodies, would be different, the fact is that many do not seek care until they a just a temporary condition, right?
Bodybuilding requires lifting heavy weights while maintaining balance. Weights need to be lifted on both right and left sides equally to maintain that balance. A bodybuilder with a right arm that is twice the size of the left arm would be laughed out of any competition!
Weightlifters and athletes also know that balance is also about eating right and combining training with the proper mindset.
All weightlifters give the muscles a certain amount of time to recover and build new tissue. So why don’t more people who are into weightlifting seek chiropractic care?
It could be fear of the unknown. If they haven’t been to a chiropractor, they might worry they cannot train later.
Perhaps you’ve heard others say that bodybuilders don’t need chiropractic care because they already take care of their bodies. We are certain that bodybuilders also take care of their teeth but that never stopped anyone from going to the dentist for cleaning and check-ups!
Whatever the reason might be, we want to discuss the 5 important things that every bodybuilder should know about chiropractic care.
Thing Number 1: Chiropractic Care Connects Mind and Muscle
If you have ever found yourself doing a big set of repetitions but had your mind someplace else, chances are you ended up with an injury.
The balance needs to include the mind when working on the body. Simply adding more weight or reps will not make you the best bodybuilder out there. All professional weightlifters know they can’t just work hard, they need to work smarter.
This is where chiropractic care and weightlifting come into play. Since all muscles connect to either the joints or the spine, it only makes sense that the joints and spine need to be in proper alignment for the muscles to work in balance with one another.
Today’s world is all about speed. We want the quick fix for everything, whether it’s a pill for a headache or a microwave for heating food. However, there are some things that need time and proper care to flourish.
Bodybuilding is one of those things.
Thing Number 2: A Spinal Shift Will Make Your Work Harder, Not Smarter
When your spine is not aligned, the muscles on one side of the body will be forced to work harder than the other side. This is a sure set-up for injury or injuries to occur.
Imagine doing bench presses with one foot firmly on the platform, but the other using only your toes. This is like what happens when the spine is not in alignment. Anytime you work out on an uneven foundation, you are just asking for an injury.
Your chiropractor can offer advice about proper lifting that you can’t get anywhere else. Chiropractic for weightlifters is like ladders for house painters. Of course, you can do without it, but why would you?
Your chiropractor can notice changes in your body before you feel any pain. They can decrease the potential for injury and discuss with you the best bodybuilding routine that will get results while helping you avoid injuries and those annoying muscle knots in the shoulders.
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Thing Number 3: Minor Injuries Mean Big Problems Later
Most weight trainers believe if they feel pain after a workout then that means it was a good workout; a sign that they are working their muscles to the max!
This isn’t always true. Microtrauma injuries don’t always make themselves known because they hide behind that minor sore muscle pain which is common after a heavy workout.
Microtrauma injuries are small tears in the connective tissue and/or fibers of the muscle itself. These can cause swelling that you cannot see but that you feel.
When this kind of trauma isn’t given proper time to heal or isn’t given treatment, it can lead to major injuries later, including ruptured ligaments, complete loss of joint function, fractures, and a breach of ligaments.
Bodybuilders who regularly seek chiropractic adjustments can also benefit from talking about the pain they are experiencing even if they believe it is simply from overwork. Your chiropractor will know the difference and can prevent further injury that will require major downtime in the future.
Thing Number 4: Weightlifting + Chiropractic Care = Maximum Potential
Bodybuilding success does not come from weightlifting alone. Professional weightlifters know it is a combination of holistic approaches and the utilization of every possible resource that will bring maximum results.
World famous bodybuilders Lou Ferrigno and Arnold Schwarzenegger both tout the importance that chiropractic care had in their professional careers.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, 7-time Mr. Olympia champion and Mr. Universe champion has said “Bodybuilders and fitness people have been using chiropractic very extensively in order to stay healthy and fit. I found it was better to go to a chiropractor before you get injured. We are a perfect team- the world of fitness and the world of chiropractors.”
Other professional athletes, such as Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, and Joe Montana talk about how chiropractic care kept them pain-free and improved their performance.
Weight lifting makes the body stronger, but it also puts extra stress on the bones, muscles, and joints, causing them to adapt. This extra strain, however, can also misalign the spine and pinch the nerves.
Pinched nerves mean lower levels of muscle strength and the formation of scar tissue. You might not even be aware that of this as this condition is not always painful.
Chiropractic care for weightlifters involves making adjustments so that the spine is put back into its natural, proper position. This allows the muscles to reach their maximum potential. Taking protein supplements/powders by trusted manufacturers such as MyProtein can also help your muscles reach their max potential.
To relieve the stress that occurs from weightlifting and release the subluxations, chiropractic care is a necessity. Regular visits will prevent injuries, help injuries you already have to heal more quickly, and allow you to progress further with your training.
Thing Number 5: Chiropractic Care Can Limit Pain and Injury
Your muscles function and perform based on information sent and received via the central nervous system. Similar to a landline phone, information is sent and received from the brain to the muscles and back again via the central nervous system, which runs through the spinal column.
When trauma or injury happens to the muscles, ligaments, tendons, or any other part of the body, inflammation will occur. This sounds bad, but inflammation is often a good sign that the body has been injured, needs attention, and is working on it.
However, communication needs to function for this to happen. If you tried to call on a landline phone for help, but the cable was cut somewhere between your phone and the hospital, for example, no matter how loudly you yelled, no one is coming because no one is receiving your call.
When the joints in the spine are out of place or are not moving correctly, information cannot be sent properly. This can make you feel as if everything is OK when it isn’t or the opposite; that something hurts here when the pain is located elsewhere.
Chiropractic care for weightlifters can restore function to joints, align the spine and improve range of motion. This opens up communication once more and allows the body to do more healing on its own.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Weightlifting and Chiropractic Care
- How soon after treatment can I go back to weight training?
Answer: Most bodybuilders can go back to training the following day if there are no injuries. Speak with your doctor to be sure that this is the case for you.
- Will my chiropractor be able to adjust me? I’m a big guy!
Answer: Don’t worry! Your chiropractor knows just how to manipulate your body so that he doesn’t need to be stronger than you!
- Can’t I just crack my back myself?
Answer: Chiropractic isn’t just about “cracking backs”. While a trained doctor will make it look easy, it isn’t always just a matter of making a joint make that popping sound. Chiropractors are trained doctors, who know where to apply a specific movement to a specific joint they have determined is problematic.
- Weightlifters don’t need chiropractic care, right? My back doesn’t hurt.
Answer: As we mentioned above, you don’t have to hurt to need chiropractic care. Whether you want to improve your performance, use chiropractic adjustments as preventative care, or you want to prevent injuries, all bodybuilders and weight training enthusiasts can benefit from regular chiropractic adjustments.
- I feel fine but have difficulty sleeping after workouts. Can chiropractic adjustments help me?
Answer: Absolutely! A buildup of tension and stress, as well as tight muscles, are irritating to the central nervous system. This is why hot baths often relax children and put them to sleep, it relaxes the muscles. Chiropractic care can help weightlifters release tension, relieve stress, and should lead to a better night’s sleep.
About the Author
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. His practice has treated thousands of patients from different health problems using services designed to help give long-lasting relief.
Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe, Organic Facts, and Thrive Global. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.