One of the best kept secrets is that athletes visit chiropractors! In fact, athletes have benefitted from Chiropractic care for many years. Athletes of all types, from weekend warriors to world-class champs utilize Chiropractic because it is a drug-free way to achieve better health and performance. Just as chiropractic can benefit athletes, it can benefit you in terms of better health and performance.
Chiropractic adjustments help ensure that the body functions as efficiently as possible, which can maximize healing and recovery from all types of injuries. “I would estimate that in excess of 90% of all world-class athletes use Chiropractic care to prevent injuries and to increase their potential.” says Sean Atkins, PhD Exercise Physiologist.
The list of athletes using Chiropractic care is long. 31 percent of NFL teams use chiropractors in an official capacity, and a full 77 percent of the trainers have referred to a chiropractor for evaluation or treatment. A survey of certified NFL trainers revealed that 100 percent of them agree that players will use chiropractic care without referral from the team medical staff.
Proper nerve supply is essential for optimal body functioning
The nervous system controls every activity in the body by sending and receiving nerve messages. It is protected by vertebrae, the bones of the spine. When the spine is in its best structural position, the nerves are protected and optimal communication exists between the central nervous system and the rest of the body. The vertebrae of the spine are susceptible to certain stresses and forces, which can cause them to lose their proper position. These minor misalignments of the spine, which are known as vertebral subluxations, cause nerve interference and weaken the entire structure of the spine. Athletic training can often jar and misalign the spinal column because the spine is at the center of the body. Impact to the legs, feet, head, shoulders and torso often radiates to the spine.
Doctors of Chiropractic detect and correct vertebral subluxations by physically adjusting the spine. This restores the spine and nervous system to a more optimal level of function, which maximizes the body’s performance and healing potential.
Anyone who engages in athletics can benefit from regular Chiropractic checkups to ensure that their spine is balanced and free from structural stress and subluxations. When the spinal column is brought into balance and alignment, the body’s nervous system and body biomechanics (posture) are maximized.
Thomas Harris, MD says in The sports Medicine Guide, “Changes in the optimal spinal position produce spinal pathologies and loss of function. Spinal pathologies destroy joint reflexes, arc fibers, and cause nerve impedance.” According to Harris, “Postural strength and coordination are essential for injury prevention and sports performance.”
U.S. News and world Report notes that in an average year 25 million people visit a doctor for injuries they suffer as a result of athletics. In professional sports, injury is the number one reason for early retirement. Overall, 67 billion dollars is spent each year for the treatment of athletic injuries.
There are essentially two categories that athletic injuries fall into: the acute or traumatic category, which is an injury that is the result of a sudden impact or unseen force; and the repetitive overuse category which is injury from such activities as repetitively swinging a racket or a golf club. In fact, virtually every workout results in micro injuries as the body is torn down and then rebuilt through rest and recovery.
As a society, we have been conditioned to believe that symptoms are bad and the key to health and recovery is their removal. However, symptoms are actually part of the body’s healing and repair process. They are the body’s best efforts to heal itself. “By treating symptoms, you are suppressing the body’s natural response and inhibiting the healing process. Instead of treating symptoms, doctors should stimulate the body’s defenses to allow for completion of the healing process,” according to Dr. Stephen Cummings.
Chiropractic helps the body heal itself
Chiropractic’s focus on the nervous system and postural biomechanics allows the body to function properly and toheal itself. The healing process always occurs from within the body, but research has shown that Chiropractic has an amazing potential to assist the body in the recovery process.
Doctors of Chiropractic focus on the entire structure of the body rather than just the obviously injured part. For this reason, they can often detect and help to prevent an injury that might normally be overlooked or ignored.
Athletes stand behind Chiropractic care
These statements from major athletes are quite revealing:
“You obviously cannot compete at your fullest if you are not in alignment and your body cannot heal itself properly if your spine is not in alignment,” says Dan O’Brien, Olympic Decathlete.
“Chiropractic has really helped me to keep my body in line to help my body recover,” says Chris Carter of the Minnesota Vikings.
“Chiropractic has helped keep me injury free – that is half the trick to staying in competition,” says Lee Labrada, Mr. Universe.
“The best way to use Chiropractic is not only after injuries, but before they occur,” according to Arnold Schwarzsenegger, seven times Mr. Olympia.
Athletes have also discovered that Chiropractic care allows them to achieve an optimal level of performance when training and competing in their respective sporting event. A proper biomechanical structure allows athletes to achieve and maintain their optimal level of performance safely and naturally. There is a growing body of research and case studies which clearly show the relationship between Chiropractic care and athletic performance.
A Canadian research team included Chiropractic care in the rehabilitation program of sixteen injured female long distance runners. Not only did these runners recover quickly, seven of them actually scored “personal best” performances while under Chiropractic care.
The extent of chiropractic’s “winning edge” was tested on fifty athletes who were divided into a control group and a group which added Chiropractic care to its usual training procedure. After six weeks, the group under Chiropractic care scored significantly better on standard tests of athletic ability. When tested on their reaction time, the control group demonstrated less than one percent improvement, while the chiropractic group achieved reaction times more than eighteen percent faster than their initial scores.
A landmark research effort from the New Zealand School of Chiropractic and the University of Auckland, has evaluated the effects Chiropractic adjustments may have on reaction times. Two groups were tested to study variations in reaction times, one group received spinal adjustments, while the other group received only a short period of rest, acted as a control group for comparison.
There was a marked improvement for the group that received an adjustment over the group that did nothing but rest. The group that got only a rest period did show an average decrease in reaction time: 58 milliseconds, an 8% faster reaction time. The group that received Chiropractic adjustment showed a decrease in reaction time of 97 milliseconds, representing a 14.8% faster reaction time.
The ability to react more quickly to any of the demands life can impose provides added performance enhancement benefits for athletes who rely on optimum reaction reflexes to perform at their maximum competitive capacity. Field based practice experiences indicate that Chiropractic care appears to both enhance an athletes ability to perform and to recover from injuries when they occur. By extension, any person playing any position in the game of life can have their performance and reaction time enhanced by Chiropractic, and gain the winner’s edge.