The 2016 6 Nations is in full-swing with the second round of matches now complete. Every year the intensity of the rugby in the championships goes up a notch and collisions from Cardiff to Rome could be heard ringing around the continent.
Ok, perhaps not quite this loudly but what’s apparent to us is each year rugby becomes tougher and the hits are bigger. This is just true on the international stage and in domestic competitions but right across the board through age-group and club rugby. The impact this has on the body, particularly a body that isn’t fully developed, is huge and significant.
When it comes to chiropractic and rugby, we’re looking at two things; avoiding injury and improving performance.
Due to the incredibly violent forces and impacts rugby player’s spines are routinely exposed to (not dissimilar to a car accident) it is crucial that all players are regularly checked for spinal dysfunction, especially kids with growing and developing spines. When we see kids injured in rugby, it’s often adult injuries their recovering from.
Neck and cervical spine stress is prevalent in rugby player whether it’s from tackling, scrummaging or contesting the breakdown. Spinal dysfunction and corresponding nerve irritation (subluxation) reduces muscular function (key for strength, flexibility, endurance), balance, coordination, spatial awareness, decision making and agility… all of which are important for a player to perform at their best and to avoid injury.
A proper functioning spine, which can be achieved through regular chiropractic treatment, also allows the central nervous system to aid in efficient injury recovery. Not only this but treatment and specific exercises can also help improve flexibility and therefore reduce the risk of injury.
Be a better player
As well as recovering from or reducing the risk of injury, chiro also helps rugby players significantly improve performance. When we asked Dr Bryan (himself no stranger to injury) for his thoughts, he told us this:
“My mind flicks back to Harry Rowland (past captain and regular 1st XV for Roslyn Park RC, London), who said something to me on a number occasions about the mentality, or perhaps a prevailing belief, within the sport of rugby, especially at the higher levels, where most guys believe that carrying injuries, problems and knocks is just part of the sport, something you live with and push through. So much so that the running joke in most dressing rooms is that no one is ever 100%.
“And Harry jokes that a lot of guys, himself included at times, have often carried so many concurrent injuries that they are often functioning at less than 50% throughout much of the season – obviously a prevailing belief with a huge impact on peak performance, not to mention longevity in the sport.
“It’s probably something most rugby players can relate to, and something worth considering when it comes to being in top condition on the pitch. It’s an obvious downside to the classic rugby machismo that characterises such a rugged and hard hitting sport.”
Chiropractic can work wonders for rugby players, just listen to what Chris Cracknell, former Bath Rugby and England Rugby 7s star, has to say.