Sports

Overview

In any sport, technique is the blending of power and touch that requires smoothly coordinated motor skills. We practice movements until technique overcomes hesitation and confidence overcomes uncertainty, to the point where muscle memory provides skill and accomplishment.

A very important ingredient to successful training and performance is a stable structure, which is determined by the integrity of the joints, and the ligaments within them.

Ligaments not only stabilize joints but they also regulate the nerve impulses to the muscles so that, during movement, the proper sequence of muscles turning on or off at the appropriate moment ensures smooth and efficient transfer of power. For instance, when a person bends their arm, the biceps must contract at a rate and strength that is equal to the relaxation of the triceps; for this to happen, something must regulate them. The ligaments within the elbow joint gather input from the speed and direction of the bones of the upper and lower arm, and then regulate the firing rate and strength of muscular contraction or relaxation to ensure smoothly coordinated movement. When any of the ligaments are sprained, the body instinctively alters movements to avoid overloading the injured ligaments; this instinct comes from nerves within the ligaments themselves. As a result, coordination is reduced and proficiency is diminished.

Training can overcome a lot of the problems but there comes a point where the repetitive motion eventually catches up with the player. Bending, lifting, and twisting are known movements that can cause or aggravate sacroiliac joint (SIJ) injuries. These movements are essential parts of golf, tennis, baseball, football, track and field, yoga, and pretty much all sports. When the athlete twists his or her spine at full speed, the ligaments within the spine and sacroiliac joints absorb the power at the end of the motion and help the body decelerate, while maintaining muscular control during follow-through. Although the disc is involved, it is constructed to withstand twisting. On the other hand, the sacroiliac joint is much more vulnerable to the forces encountered in twisting, especially when bending and lifting are involved at the same time. In golf, the SIJ ligaments may be aggravated by the severe twisting during the swing or the bending during the putt.

Over the years, repetitive motion that comes with extreme training or longevity in a sport may cause micro tears in the ligaments which can eventually trigger avoidance reactions during that particular movement, which may be expressed as a yip, with or without tightness and pain. This may be why yips are present in older and more accomplished golfers and other athletes.

The sacroiliac joint is unique in several ways. It is the center of motion, where the upper body joins the lower body. It is also the center of shock absorption. Unlike other joints, the sacroiliac joint holds two bones that are going in opposite directions (link to Lateral View of Nutation). The sacrum, as part of the upper body, rotates forward, while the ilium, as part of the lower body, rotates backward. This arrangement places the SIJ at a mechanical disadvantage to forces occurring during shock absorption. This is why there is such a vast array of ligaments; but even they can be exposed to forces that can overcome their ability to hold the joint completely stable. Even micro tears can create small muscular reactions that attempt to stabilize the joint. Unfortunately, because ligaments have poor blood supply, they heal very slowly, if at all. Fortunately, the Serola Belt acts like an external ligament and helps support the SIJ ligaments against excess force, both after injury and as a preventive. As a result, the player experiences greater stability, greater coordination, more effective training, and more efficient performance, in almost all sports and activities.

Unlike a lumbar belt or weight lifting belt which is worn high around the waist over the abdominal muscles, the Serola belt is worn low around the hips to support the ligaments of the SIJ. As such, a lumbar belt restricts motion, especially at the ends of the swing, interfering with power flow and follow through, whereas the Serola Belt, correctly placed on the pelvis, allows free movement throughout the full range of motion. Because of this key difference in placement and function, the Serola Belt does not cause muscle atrophy or weakness like a lumbar belt or weight lifting belt. This is similar to the way a knee brace supports the ligaments of the knee without causing weakness of the leg muscles. For this reason, the Serola Belt can be worn as much as needed, even 24/7, without causing muscle atrophy or weakness. In contrast, numerous studies have shown that long-term continuous wear of a lumbar belt or weight lifting belt is not recommended as the abdominal muscles gradually weaken over time.

The videos below demonstrates how the Serola Sacroiliac Belt helps stabilize a golfer during the swing. It is important to note that, although this video demonstrates a golf swing, the biomechanical principles shown can be applied to almost any sport or activity.

Types of Pain Relief

Sport Pain Relief
How does Serola Belt help or prevent sports injuries?

Every joint is held together by ligaments. There is no question that spraining ligaments in the knee, wrist, or other joints will cause some pain and disability. Once the ligaments sprain (tear), it makes sense to put a brace on the joint to keep it within normal range of motion, so the torn ligaments don’t continually become reinjured. Pretty much all sports, including golf, tennis, baseball, football, track and field, and even yoga commonly stress the sacroiliac joint, often to the point where micro sprains occur to the ligaments. It is unusual for a person to play sports without some injury to the sacroiliac ligaments, if only minor.

Weight lifters know that, in order to build muscle, they have to exercise to the point of breaking down the muscle fibers to a minor degree. Then, as the muscle heals, it grows and strengthens; ligaments work the same way. Although ligaments are more able to resist greater forces than muscles, they have a poorer blood supply so it takes a longer rest period for ligaments to heal. The danger of returning to the stressful activity before the tissue heals, whether its muscles or ligaments, is that the tissue will break down. Instead of growth, the tissue will undergo degeneration. Over time, cumulative trauma, even minor, can build up and result in a significant injury. Wearing the Serola Belt during strenuous activities helps limit the stress on the sacroiliac ligaments and help prevent a major injury from developing – it is as simple as that.

Sports Injury FAQs

What does the belt help with when playing sports?

The Serola Sacroiliac Belt keeps the joint within normal range of motion, therefore preventing injury to the Sacroiliac Joint during play.  Depending on the sport that is being played, other benefits can occur, including increased strength, improved stability, decreased fatigue and reduced pain to existing injuries.

What is the importance of Core Power Transfer?
In sports and other physical activities, power comes from a stable foundation. Force transfers from the ground, up the legs to the pelvis, through the sacroiliac joint to the sacrum, and then upward through the spine to the arms. Each joint functions as a link in this kinetic chain. Smooth and efficient power transfer depends on the integrity of each link. When one link is compromised, final output power is reduced. In addition to reduced muscular strength and endurance, timing and coordination are impaired. Because the sacroiliac joint is the center of the body's shock absorber system, it is the key joint involved in power transference. When we consider that the sacroiliac joint is supported by vast network of ligaments and muscles, it is reasonable to assume that a sprain of the sacroiliac ligaments will cause considerable muscular reaction, even at low levels of stress. The Serola Sacroiliac Belt is designed to normalize the function of the SI joint, and thereby normalize power transfer through one's core.
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