Meriel Davis, chiropractor at Back 2 Balance in Brighton and Hove, has a very special interest in the field of sports chiropractic and treating athletes. In this blog episode she describes her experiences on holiday meeting and consequently helping, an Olympic windsurfing coach.


I was lucky enough to have a short break visiting a friend who lives in the Dominican Republic earlier on this year. Naturally I took all my kite/surf stuff with me. I lodged in her apartment and I made the most of the country whilst she joined me half the time the other half of the time she was working (marketing director for a kite-surfing company). Anyway she has been living there for a few months and befriended many of the other ex-pats….one of which was an ex-Olympic windsurfer for the USA and who is now an Olympic windsurfing coach. He was BIG into health and was probably one of the biggest advocates of chiropractic I’d ever met. As it happens two of his best friends are two of the most well known chiropractors in the USA. And I’d easily say he new more about chiropractic philosophy than I did. He regularly utilized chiropractic and by the end of my stay there I was trading my chiropractic adjustments for his kite tuition (being an Olympic windsurfer he’s a dab hand at kite-surfing).

Obviously being a waterman involves a few impact traumas. You can go quite fast with a kite and when you hit the water (face-plant) it can essentially give you whiplash. Needless to say his neck needed some work after all the years of water action and with the amount of traveling he did he didn’t get much chance to commit to having his neck seen to regularly. But after the treatment I gave him he could feel the difference straight away. More mobility and increased strength not just in his neck but also his arms. Treatment involved adjusting the spine thereby improving movement, stability, and reducing nerve interference as well as me mechanically breaking down superficial scar tissue around his neck and shoulders.

The term ‘whiplash’ is a bit of a misnomer as it insinuates a whipping type motion of the neck when faced with sudden acceleration or deceleration. Actually what happens is more of a shunting effect. Let me paint you a picture. If you are completely stationary, but then your torso (ie shoulders and rib cage) are suddenly pushed forward…your neck has to catch up. And it does so by the vertebrae in the neck shunting forward in relation to the one above. Before the skull catches up. This massively overstretches the ligaments, irritates the nerves and causes eccentric muscle contraction (where muscles contract for stability rather than movement). This is the same but in reverse if the impact is from the opposite direction.

The result of this …. pain, tension, headaches, stiff shoulders etc. This is common in water sports enthusiasts due to this acceleration/deceleration mechanism. A fantastic way to restore good neck function, break down muscle spasm and tissues adhesion….well, Chiropractic of course! This is why the vast majority of sports professional utilize chiropractic…including the one I met on holiday 🙂