Let me paint a picture of you.
You eat Paleo, you’re a CrossFit athlete and life is good. Actually, it’s great! You’ve discovered a way of living that feels so right. You are feeding your genetic blueprint with the raw materials required for outrageous health. You tell everyone you know because you are altruistic and this stuff really works!
One of the following pictures is also you.
You have reached a strength or performance plateau… or you are injured.
[Insert expletive here.]
You scour the best that the web has to offer trying to find solutions. What food am I missing? Why is this injury nagging? Why haven’t I broken a PR in months? Why do my glutes feel like horrible, mushy rice pasta? Why can’t I explode through that movement? Why is this WOD kicking my above mentioned muscular group?
Let me introduce a new concept that might just be the missing link in getting you over that plateau or injury.
It’s called force absorption and it’s what I help people restore every day in my chiropractic practice.
Force absorption is a concept from the world of chiropractic neurology and applied kinesiology.
The concept goes like this: From birth to present, we often suffer disruption to the balance in our nervous system. More specifically, the brain which should integrate both efferent signals (from brain to body) and afferent impulses (from body to brain) becomes less able to keep your body functioning optimally. This often occurs through trauma, toxins and chronic or acute mental stress. The result of this neural imbalance is a loss of the body’s ability to absorb force into the tissues that are most capable of handling these demands – mostly the muscles. Instead, forces are translated into tissues like joint capsules, ligaments, tendons, fascia, bone and cartilage (to name a few). This can often lead to injury or dysfunction.
Lindsey Valenzuela, CrossFit Games Competitor, on her experience with chiropractic care:
Let me put this into a more practical scenario.
The anterior-cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee is one of the most commonly damaged ligaments in sports. The cause of the ligament tear is the body’s inability to properly absorb the force placed upon that knee joint in that moment of athletic demand. I can hear someone out there saying “if your knee is hit in a certain way, there’s nothing you can do about it!” True. However, the majority of ACL tears are non-contact. The foot is often planted and the athlete turns and “POP”. The ligament is torn, but they were never touched. If the nervous system were in balance and coordinating signals properly, the forces would be absorbed into the appropriate tissues and the injury would likely be avoided. This scenario is true for extreme examples as well as everyday sprains and strains. Think about the last time you were doing box jumps and your ankle gave out (or felt like it might) in the landing phase. You might chalk that up to fatigue or a shift in weight or even loss of equilibrium. But using the concept of force absorption described here, maybe the problem is more accurately described as a loss of balance in the nervous system.
Now, what if you are suffering from unmet expectations as opposed to injury?
- Dr. Scott Mills adjusting a patient.
This could be a plateau in strength or stamina or even another physical goal that you are having trouble achieving. Imagine you build a house with the best material and the best contractor following the best building methods known to man. Now imagine you hire cousin Joey to do the electrical. He is family and he needs work. Whatever. Just play along. You move in and a few months later the circuit breakers are constantly tripping and the garbage disposal turns on when you flip the switch for the light in the basement. This is your unbalanced nervous system. The wiring is all there but the signals are not being properly integrated. You’re doing everything right on the diet and exercise side of things, but the neural impulses controlling and coordinating everything are not quite right. There is a reason that CrossFit athletes like Lindsey Valenzueala get adjusted and it isn’t just for non-complicated low back pain or muscle work. It’s because they know that when their nervous systems are in balance, their bodies function better.
The really encouraging part of all of this is that it is very correctable.
You’re making so many good decisions for your body. If you’re struggling, have a chiropractor check your nervous system for any imbalances. It could be just what you’re looking for!
With the proper assessment and adjustments, nervous system balance and force absorption can be restored and injuries are healed. Plateaus are destroyed. PRs are made. Smiles abound.
Find Lindsey Valenzuela on Facebook.
(Editor’s note: This piece was originally posted Jan 15, 2013 at www.balancedbites.com and can be found HERE. The giveaway has expired and has since been deleted from this repost)