Tennis is a demanding sport. The season is long, the training is grueling, and the matches can last hours even within the same tournament. It’s no wonder that many tennis players have long sought relief through chiropractic care. Like other athletes, tennis players receive a range of health benefits when they regularly work with a chiropractor. Chiropractic care helps even the healthiest of athletes get their muscles, joints, and nervous systems quickly back in shape, allowing them to perform at the highest level.
Chiropractors Can Treat Common Tennis Issues
It’s not only muscle and joint pain that regularly slow down tennis players. Chiropractors can target such problems as lateral epicondylitis, better known as tennis elbow, which is the tearing or swelling of the tissue that connects the forearm to the elbow. Other common issues associated with tennis players that chiropractors, especially those specializing in sports medicine, can help with include back and knee pain, rotator cuff damage, wrist complaints, ankle sprains, and calf and Achilles’ injuries.
While tennis player injury rates are comparatively low to other sports, the power and speed needed to play the sport today impact the bodies of tennis athletes over time. Through regular training and conditioning, as well as targeted treatment of strained spots and injuries, chiropractors keep tennis players at the top of their game physically.
Major Health Benefits of Seeing a Chiropractor
While tennis elbow is perhaps the best-known injury related to tennis, it’s not usually the most common health issue chiropractors see when they work with players. Many see injuries in a player’s lower body since it absorbs a large amount of the strong forces that occur when using a racquet. Professional tennis players must also fight constant shoulder blade tightness, often accompanied by headaches and muscle pain — all of which can be relieved through chiropractic care that helps joints move more effectively and ease muscle strain.
Here are just some of the ways chiropractic treatment helps tennis players.
Improved Range of Motion
Training is year-round for many athletes, including tennis players. Such a rigorous schedule means athletes put a lot of pressure on their bodies every day. This leads to everything from joint pain and stiffness to spinal misalignment, all of which can limit a player’s range of motion.
Chiropractors help tennis players with flexibility and range of motion issues in multiple ways, but primarily through targeted manipulations and spinal adjustments that restore range of motion by realigning impacted joints and bones. Other techniques that assist with a range of motion include cold laser therapy, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation.
Natural Pain Reduction
Back pain, especially lower back pain, is common in tennis players. Chiropractors can work with even the most sensitive spines through movement and alignment techniques that can relieve pressure. Both short-term back injury pain and long-term nagging back pain have been shown to be reduced tremendously by chiropractic spinal alignment.
This approach to pain reduction has another positive consequence for tennis players. Athletes may become used to treating their pain with drugs, cortisone shots, or other forms of short-term relief. Chiropractic treatment provides an alternative to medication-based pain relief. Such an approach also eliminates the chances of drug dependency or side effects that come with using prescription medicine. In this sense, the cause of the pain is treated instead of only the pain itself.
Overuse Injury Treatment
Tennis elbow, and other similar injuries, are the result of repetitive, forceful motion. Along with the wrist and elbow, knees and shoulders are especially vulnerable to overuse injuries for tennis players.
Many sports chiropractors are specially trained in overuse injuries and frequently work closely with physical therapists to treat the injury with everything from strength exercise to stretching impacted tendons and muscles. When muscles are strengthened, there’s less of a chance for a tennis player to experience the same overuse injury in the future.
Tennis requires lightning-fast reflexes with hand-eye coordination. Such coordination is regulated by your central nervous system, 90% of which travels throughout the spine and then moves to spinal bones. Spinal alignment and other movements typically lead to improved nerve flow, which can lead to better coordination. It can also help players even while they’re on the court.
A dynamic warm-up is particularly effective and involves 10 specialized movements before a tennis player heads to the court for the main warm-up. Rolling, which uses a foam roller, also reduces muscle tension before and after matches. There has even been a study that showed that certain athletes experienced a large increase in their grip strength following spinal manipulation.
Reduced Time in Recovery
When tennis players experience an injury, they may seek quick treatment through surgery. While that approach is sometimes required, surgery is often unnecessary for tennis injuries and comes with long recovery times. Depending on the injury, it’s also sometimes risky.
There are many tennis injuries that can be treated quickly and efficiently through chiropractic care. With fast recovery, tennis athletes can get back to their game fast. Non-invasive care can help muscles recover and relax. One study found that after spinal manipulation, 25% of participants experienced a fall in muscle activity, an important part of recovery. At some point, every professional tennis player experiences muscle soreness and fatigue since there is typically not a lot of downtime before matches.
After a game or following training, chiropractors can use massage or other soft tissue techniques to improve blood flow, make tissues more relaxed and decrease lactic acid. Cold laser therapy and ultrasound also target highly inflamed areas of the body. Therefore, some tennis players say they feel relief after just a few sessions with a chiropractor.
Chiropractic work doesn’t just benefit the body. It also benefits the minds of athletes who are under massive stress to perform strongly whenever they play. Many chiropractic patients say that they experience improved sleep and mood during their chiropractic care program. Sports massage offered by many chiropractors also improves moods and promotes relaxation.
Investing in Your Health
If you play tennis on a competitive level, you must invest in your health. This sport is incredibly demanding on your joints, muscles, and ligaments. To help your body perform at an optimal level, it’s important to treat it well. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to keeping your body healthy. Exercises, diet, and recovery are all part of the routine that many athletes follow. To ensure that you can perform at the top of your tennis game, consider visiting your local chiropractor.