Exam Room – Assessment Yields Achievement
Our most recent articles highlighted what the best players in the world do for their recovery and how they warm-up properly both before playing the golf course and before the gym. Since it is now winter in Dallas and golf days can be few and far between, we will introduce and explain a big part of the off-season for our golfers – the assessment we put them through here at ChiroSport.
Our assessment is a crucial piece of the off-season for our professional athletes. The assessment lays the blueprint and foundation for the off-season plan; it determines any imbalances, asymmetries and weaknesses in the body. Correcting these imbalances and asymmetries is crucial is part the off-season workout plan, in addition to adding strength, power and speed. We need to correct any body imbalances to reduce injuries and improve results once winter ends.
Working out during the off-season to get stronger or hit the ball further without a plan is setting yourself up for failure, while leaving you at risk for injury. Without an assessment, you are guessing on which exercises to do, which can lead to some positive, but usually mainly negative results. Without a clear blueprint for the off season, there is no reasoning and no planning behind your workout schedule. You may even be doing something detrimental to your body that is setting you up for an injury down the road. We call this the shotgun approach, where there is no clear plan of action, though you might do something right on accident, it would usually be much more efficient to be more precise.
For the average player, as well as our professional players, getting to understand your body will help you play better golf. By identifying your weaknesses and tendencies you can not only improve your swing mechanics but make your body more efficient. Our assessment will teach you about your body mechanics so we can prepare you for summer golf with a clear blueprint in the gym for this winter season.
In the clinic, we use assessments to determine your diagnosis and to determine the cause of your diagnosis, which we will then use to determine your treatment plan. Back pain is rarely, if ever, caused by one singular issue. Therefore, treating back pain without a clear diagnosis, or knowing the root cause of your back pain will not only be ineffective, but will prolong your recovery. We talk about “Dr. Google” all the time to our patients, when they think they found a miracle cure on the internet. Just because one treatment helped someone else’s back pain, does not mean it will help yours. A full assessment will allow us to make and follow a treatment plan, combined with a workout regime to help make you pain free as quickly and easily as we can.
In the gym, we use assessments to determine asymmetries in range of motion or strength. Asymmetries are the 2nd most common risk factor for an injury – second only to having a previous injury in the same area. The golf swing is an ipsilateral movement (using one side of the body) and a repetitive motion (using the same muscles). If you do not balance these movements and muscles, you are asymmetric, and placing yourself at high risk for injury.
Our medical assessment is different from our gym assessment. Our medical assessment is used to determine your diagnosis, the cause of your diagnosis, and helps us determine an appropriate treatment plan. This treatment plan is very specific and unique to every individual and every injury. Unlike a traditional Chiropractic office, where a common treatment plan is 3x a week for 6 months, we do not follow a “cookie cutter” treatment plan. If you are seeing a professional who recommends this treatment, I would seek a second opinion. Every unique case needs a unique treatment plan, and our professionals at ChiroSport will create that plan tailored to each individual after their assessment is completed.
Our medical assessment determines your diagnosis, but more importantly the cause of your diagnosis. Many times, the source of your pain or injury, is different than the cause. Think about this analogy. Your knee is a hinge joint, similar to the hinges on a door frame. If the door frame is off, over time, the hinges will wear differently. Now, if your knee is the hinge, your hips and ankles are the door frame and if the hips are imbalanced and out of alignment, or the ankle is not moving properly, the knee will wear out overtime. Does getting a knee replacement fix this issue? You’re just replacing the hinges, but you still have a door frame that is out of alignment. Remember our hinge analogy. The hinges are the source, the door frame is the cause. Let’s take this common treatment for example. If you rest your knee, but do not fix the frame. Will the knee get better? Yes. But will it come back when you go back to activity. Because you did not fix the cause, only helped the source. This is why medical assessments are important when you have an injury, especially one that does not seem to have a cause. To determine the cause vs the source, and to determine a specific plan treatment plan to fix it. In this case, fixing your hips and ankles will relieve the stress on your knee joint.
Our fitness assessment is based on movement, and strength. By assessing movement, we can determine asymmetries and imbalances in strength. In the golf swing, there are 3 main power sources: legs, core and upper body. Determining the strengths of each of these can help you determine an imbalance and fix the weak link which is robbing you of distance. If you are upper body strong, but lack leg strength, you may be misled into thinking your upper body is the weaker area as you have more injuries or pain from overcompensating. Will strengthening the upper body fix this issue? Or would it potentially make it worse? Improving your leg strength can not only decrease the stress placed on and the risk of injury to your upper body, but also improve your distance on the golf course by actually fixing the weaker lower body rather than strengthening the already strong, but overcompensating and injured, upper body. This is why we can’t stress enough how important our assessment is.
Determining asymmetries or imbalances in your body can help you understand your tendencies and improve your swing mechanics as well as your body. For example, if you lack thoracic mobility or have a tight back during the backswing, or downswing, your tendency might be to lose posture, or to stand up. This will cause inconsistencies in your ball striking and resulting in both fat or thin shots. Gaining more mobility throughout your thoracic can help to reduce these mistakes on the golf course.
Another example of imbalances leading to injuries that we see regularly in the clinic is lower back pain. If you do not have adequate hip mobility, or lack thoracic mobility, other areas of your body will have to compensate in order to get you some shoulder turn and rotation. The area that most commonly compensates for this is the lower back. The lower back is not designed for twisting, it is designed as an area to be stable and resist movement. But, if it has to compensate for decreased hip or upper back mobility, it can add some rotation at the risk of easily becoming injured.
We see many other examples of patients trying to fix the pain, not the root cause of the injury, every day. Going through our assessment will teach you about your body, and in turn your golf swing, so that we can help you fix the root issues of your injuries. Fixing the cause, and not just the symptom will allow you to become and stay pain free throughout the golf season this year!