Upper Cervical Care for the Athlete
Below you will find an easy to read transcript of Dr. Larry Arbeitman’s monthly podcast interview. You can click the video to listen to the podcast or simply read the easy to follow transcript below. Enjoy!
RC: Hello everyone. This is Liz Harvey coming to you from our studios in New York City where we are dedicated to bringing you top-quality advice from many of the leading expert professionals across the U.S. In today’s episode, we are speaking with chiropractor Dr. Larry Arbeitman. Dr. Arbeitman earned a bachelor of science degree in kinesiological science from the University of Maryland at College Park and graduated magna cum laude from Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, Missouri.
Dr. Arbeitman is the founder of Upper Cervical Chiropractic of Monmouth located in Marlboro, New Jersey and has overseen more than 150,000 patient visits in nearly 12 years. He has become well respected within the profession and most specifically, the Upper Cervical Specialty. He routinely trains, teaches and lectures nationwide to colleagues, students, and to the general public. He is currently an active board member for the QSM3 Upper Cervical Method.
Today, he will highlight several of his key points from his book, The Gift of Hope: The Path To Healing Through Upper Cervical Care.
Dr. Arbeitman is widely considered to be one of the top chiropractors in the country. He is also a contributing member of our national network of industry professionals.
Today we’re going to talk about a very important topic:
Chiropractic for the Athlete
RC: Hello Dr. Arbeitman. How are you today?
Dr. Larry Arbeitman: Hi, Liz. Excited to be here with everybody sharing information on this important topic.
RC: Well, thanks for joining me and thanks for being here.
What are the most important reasons athletes should see a chiropractor?
Dr. Larry Arbeitman: Well, we can break it down to two reasons. The first would be helping them through an injury that they may have experienced on the field of play. Then the second, which I think I see more often, is actually performance based. When the difference between first place and second place in certain sports is down to a tenth of a second or at the elite level, everything from speed to agility to reaction time to power to explosiveness, these are things that chiropractic care can help with. These athletes will take any edge they can get.
I’ll tell you, we take care of central New Jersey here. It’s big horse country. I take care of several horse trainers of thoroughbreds who race at a very high level. Even those animals are getting chiropractic care because of the difference between first and second place is beau coup bucks. The injury prevention is huge. The performance side of it is even huge. This is why all of our Olympic athletes are professional athletes. Our collegiate athletes have access to chiropractic care. Every NFL team has a chiropractor on staff. One of my good friends is a US wrestling chiropractor. I have had the opportunity to work with NFL players, Division I athletes, national champions, ironmen and ironwomen and they will do whatever it takes to make sure they stay on the field and they perform at the highest level and get the edge over their competition.
What type of chiropractic adjustments are most commonly performed on athletes?
Dr. Larry Arbeitman: That’s the beautiful thing about chiropractic. Chiropractic is such a broad term. It’s kind of like saying law or medicine or dentistry. Then within chiropractic, there are so many different approaches. In our office, upper cervical care has always, always, always helped athletes achieve a great level of balance in their body, biomechanical balance not only between the individual joint segments, but the relationship between the head, the neck, the pelvis, the shoulder girdle and everything. For a golfer, for them to have ease of motion through their back swing and fore swing, for a quarterback to be able to get his body into the correct position mechanically, for a pitcher. These are things that upper cervical care has been able to help athletes with. That’s the structural part.
Then the neurological part is even bigger because as we correct the mechanics, it’s a neuro-mechanical intervention. The nervous system is going to function as well as the structure around it. As you keep the structure well, the nervous system, the nerves, the timing, the coordination, the explosiveness, the power, all of those things are going to work that much better. NASCAR drivers, think about the timing, their reaction time that they need to have. When there’s less pressure in the nervous system and when the subluxation is corrected, we see all of these things improve.
We do this through upper cervical care, which is a very gentle adjustment to the upper neck that focuses on achieving balance in the body, the entire body, the pelvis, the spine, the neck, and all the way up to the head.
How does chiropractic care help athletes who have suffered a sports accident or injury?
Dr. Larry Arbeitman: I would say in our practice, with the upper cervical specialty, the number one sports injury that we see is post-concussion syndrome, head injuries. It’s become such a big topic now. The NFL just did a cadaver study on, my numbers may be a little off, but I think it was 111 ex-NFL player brains. 99%, 110 of the 111 brains had evidence of CTE. Now, CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy was the topic of that movie with Will Smith, Concussion. We know that head injuries have become such a big deal not just in football, but in girl’s soccer and gymnastics, wrestling, hockey.
We’ve seen a lot of these athletes. The medical profession, God bless them. There is really not a medical solution for concussion, other than rest the patient and treat the symptoms. When they have a head injury, you cannot injure your head without injuring your neck. It is just absolutely impossible. They are connected. When there is a biomechanical misalignment or subluxation of the first bone in the neck, we have documented MRI studies to show that it interferes with the flow of cerebral spinal fluid to and from the brain.
If that fluid sits in there, if it doesn’t drain properly, that is the cleaning mechanism of the brain. It lays down proteins and those proteins can start to affect the brain tissue. That is a proposed mechanism for CTE and concussions. We look at an ex-NFL athlete like Jim McMahon, who was interviewed on ESPN. He is suffering with bad migraines, depression, early onset dementia. He felt like he had an ice pick behind his eyes. It was not until he got under upper cervical care that those feelings and those symptoms started to diminish. They have pre- and post-MRI studies on Jim McMahon showing that after his upper cervical care, the flow of cerebral spinal fluid was restored.
I feel that every athlete, every contact athlete should be getting their upper neck checked now, while they are playing sports, rather than waiting until there is an injury. Once that injury happens, upper cervical care is a huge part of the recovery process. A young man in my practice named Tyler, who is probably about ten years old suffered two concussions and when he first came into the practice, he was literally out of school, wearing sunglasses because he couldn’t even take the light in the office. I just saw Tyler this week. He has been back to hockey and baseball now for months. It was very shortly after he started care that the symptoms started to lift and he was able to return to school.
It’s almost like we have a secret that a lot of athletes and a lot of coaches and a lot of trainers unfortunately don’t know about yet.
That leads me to my next question for healthy athletes. Are there chiropractic techniques that help prevent injuries?
Dr. Larry Arbeitman: Yeah. I think most chiropractic techniques are going to help the athlete. I know from working with ironmen that for them there’s a lot of repetition, whether it be the banging of the running or the pedal stroke or the swim stroke. They can sense when their right leg isn’t getting around as much and if there’s compensation. They can feel that compensation with every stride of their run. I do believe that through the upper cervical work, they are getting the body into a more balanced position and when I say balanced I mean the weight differential from the left side of the body to the right side of the body on center. If the bottom of the body is going to the left, the top of the body is going right to compensate.
Get the body into a balanced position. I’ve always said, when you’re exercising, it’s great for your heart and your lungs, but if you’re doing it on a crooked framework, it’s terrible for your joint and nerves. I have consulted with many high performing athletes, yoga instructors, trainers. They’ve got the exercise piece right. They are getting proper sleep. They are taking all their supplements. Their diet is clean, but yet they’re suffering. One of the reasons why they may be suffering is because they have been doing all that good stuff on a crooked framework. We take their X-rays and we see there is a lot of decay and degeneration.
If we’re going to pound our bodies, most of us chiropractors, we’re former athletes. That’s how we became chiropractors because we had to learn about this thing the hard way. I know that it’s much, much better to get the body in balance before there is a problem than after there is a problem.
How can athletes improve their performance with regular chiropractic care?
Dr. Larry Arbeitman: I think it all goes back to the nervous system. Chiropractic is applied neurology basically. It’s one thing to be a neurologist and to understand how the nervous system works. It’s another thing to have a tool to actually impact the performance of the nervous system. I don’t think there’s a safer, more gentle, more effective tool than the chiropractic adjustment at optimizing neurological function.
Every single ability that an athlete has to perform goes back to the central nervous system. Power, strength, balance, coordination, reaction time, self-awareness, proprioception, knowing where the body is in space, all of those things can be positively affected with a chiropractic adjustment.
RC: Well, thank you so much, Dr. Arbeitman. We know you’re extremely busy, so I just want to thank you for your time and help today.
Dr. Larry Arbeitman: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thanks for allowing me to share with our community.
RC: For our listeners across the country, if you are interested in speaking with the doctor, please visit www.getwellnj.com or call (732) 617-9355 to schedule an appointment.
Consultations with Dr. Arbeitman are always complimentary. He has never charged anyone to sit down and have a consultation in order to discuss their health needs and whether or not upper cervical care may be right for them.
On behalf of our team, we want to thank you for listening and we look forward to bringing you more top quality content from our country’s leading experts.