August 2, 2011
Performance Care for Athletes!
In order to successfully compete, a race car must
have a specialized team of mechanics to keep it running in ultimate condition. Does it not make sense, therefore, for an athlete
to also have such a team to maintain optimal performance year round?! It’s the only way to ensure
The athlete requires a team of professionals including coaches, trainers, and health practitioners who are highly experienced in the treatment of soft tissue injuries and neuromuscular dysfunction. These are the very common problems that routinely plague athletes but are largely unrecognized by health professionals with no experience in this field!
Professional athletes have moved beyond the rudimentary weight training and running that was so common in the past. Strength training and conditioning has now morphed into highly sophisticated, sport specific training programs. This has proven to be a main factor in contributing to a new focus on performance optimization
rather than just the traditional focus on injury treatment. This revolutionary approach is known as Performance Care and has been embraced wholeheartedly by professional sports.
Performance Care is an integrated method that comprises training as well as nutritional and treatment protocols intended to:
- optimize immediate performance,
- reduce the chances of developing cumulative trauma injuries, and
- increase the potential length of an athlete’s career.
It has become normalized for athletes to play the vast majority of their careers at much less than 100% of their capabilities. This is predominantly due to the development of gradual dysfunctions of the nervous system and the musculoskeletal tissues that are secondary to the constant big and small traumas suffered by the athlete. These traumas produce subtle changes in the body that can frequently go unnoticed but that trigger all sorts of adaptations, leading to impaired performance and often resulting in injuries over time.
This is exactly why it is so necessary that athletes utilize performance care specialists to continually evaluate their technique and body mechanics to ensure the maintenance of proper form and promptly detect any unwanted adaptations they may be developing. Performance care is specifically designed to find and even foresee all possible limitations of performance for athletes in their respective sports. The athlete’s nervous system is assessed for motor inhibition (which is often incorrectly labeled as muscle weakness, although the two are very different), range of motion, and any lines of tension that would limit performance during the sport.
Each dysfunction that an athlete experiences must be addressed technically in an optimal manner. A number of specific techniques are utilized to correct these dysfunctions:
- Soft tissue techniques are applied to aid the connective tissues to redistribute tension and improve relationship with adjacent structures, thus facilitating smooth and painless motion.
- Joint manipulation techniques are applied to reestablish normal joint motion, a crucial function for peak performance.
- Electro-medical acupuncture is utilized to target nervous system dysfunction such as muscle inhibitions and areas of poor blood supply due to abnormal regulation of the arterial system.
These techniques are only performed after a very detailed and specialized biomechanical assessment by the performance care practitioner. It is important to note that because these treatments are so specialized and tailored to the individual needs of the athlete, sessions vary greatly for each individual. Some sessions can be as short as half an hour but most usually take longer to address the multiple dimensions of the problem.
I hope this shed some light on performance care and it’s importance for all athletes – professional or not. I encourage all athletes and parents of athletes to contact me to push their performance to the next level – I guarantee that performance care is
the way of the future.