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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Solana Beach Health Center: Sports Injury Prevention and Rehab

Aug 31, 2011 07:32AM ● By Lee Walker

What do distinguished athletes like Jerry Rice, a Hall of Fame retired wide receiver and three-time Super Bowl champion, and Lance Armstrong, a former professional road racing cyclist and seven-time Tour de France winner, have in common? To withstand the rigors and intensity of each of their sports, these champions have both used the services of a chiropractic doctor skilled in chiropractic sports sciences and rehabilitation.

As more athletes discover that chiropractic care goes beyond rehabilitation benefits to further enhance performance, they are coming to rely on it as a tool to support the healthy structure and functioning of their skeletal and muscular system. A 2002 study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics noted that 31 percent of National Football League teams include chiropractors on their staff.

Doctor of Chiropractic Steve Paredes, owner of Solana Beach Health Center, has extensive experience working with golf and tennis players that suffer from repetitive stress injuries. “Chiropractic care is known for focusing on postural adjustments to minimize abnormal stresses and strains that affect the function of the nervous system and act on joints and spinal tissues,” says Paredes. “However, when biomechanical analysis, exercises and stretches in yoga therapy, and ergonomic education are added as preventive protocols, athletes recover faster and often avert future injury.”

Cause and Effects

The spinal cord operates like a switchboard for the body, transferring electrical impulses via a network of nerves. It works properly as long as there is no interference between the brain and tissue cells. But when nerve endings swell due to misaligned vertebrae, injury is more likely. Research reported in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine and The Physician and Sportsmedicine indicates that chiropractic sports science helps find and correct the underlying causes, and thus helps prevent and heal injuries.

To do this, Paredes relies upon a comprehensive sports rehabilitation approach that combines postural, gait and biomechanical analysis to detect structure imbalances and weaknesses as well as sites of injury and potential injury. A biomechanical analysis includes an examination of the feet and knees; joint mobility tests; a comparison of leg lengths; gait analysis; centers of gravity; and neutral, non-weight-bearing plaster castings for creating orthotics. Compiled in a detailed report, the results are used to customize a rehabilitation program to restore balance, strength and flexibility.

For sports injuries, Paredes prefers a broad approach that includes yoga therapy, the application of yoga practices specific to the management of the existing condition. Encompassing a regimen of yoga postures and breath work, it re-educates the muscles, is preventive in nature and helps restore normal range of motion.

Customized orthotics can also be important aids to recovery and rehabilitation. Created by using gait analysis and neutral, non-weight-bearing plaster castings, custom-made spinal pelvic stabilizers steady the spine and pelvis by balancing the feet. “For runners, this is very important, because the feet perform better when all their muscles, arches and bones are in their ideal stable positions,” advises Paredes.

Strengthening muscles around body mechanisms that are most frequently used, such as the shoulders, hips and knees, is necessary not only for rehabilitating repetitive stress injuries, but also to avoid future damage. “When repetitive stress injuries heal properly with the use of strengthening exercise and yoga therapy, range of motion is restored and future flare-ups can be avoided,” explains Paredes, who generally assigns exercise homework to patients. “I tell them that following their flexibility exercise plan to restore normal range of motion is more important than the work we do in my office,” he notes.

Paredes recently added Class IV laser therapy to his practice. This natural solution, cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, stimulates healing on a cellular level, reduces pain and inflammation and restores circulation. “It’s wonderful to be able to offer immediate relief and speed up the healing process,” enthuses Paredes.

Location: 222 N. Acacia Ave., Solana Beach 92075. Call 858-794-9454 or visit