While long heralded as champions of neck and back pain, many elite athletes are now utilizing chiropractic as a vital component to enhance their training and performance. How does chiropractic care benefit athletes? As experts in the field of human biomechanics, doctors of chiropractic are trained to evaluate an athlete’s posture and movements to detect and prevent structural problems that can impact performance. They may also help prevent injuries often caused by improper biomechanics or muscle imbalances within the spine which can plague athletes.
In an article published in Pathways to Family Wellness, nationally known author and speaker in the field of health education and research Keith Wassung explains, “A proper biomechanical structure allows athletes to achieve and maintain their optimal level of performance—safely and naturally.”
Athletes, perhaps more than others, understand the importance of caring for their health and ensuring their body is functioning at a high level. In their never-ending quest for improvement, more athletes continue to turn to chiropractic for help.
Exercise Physiologist Sean Atkins, PhD, estimates “in excess of 90% of all world-class athletes use chiropractic care to prevent injuries and to increase their performance potential.” Heightened media attention to the benefits athletes are experiencing, has led to more research on the topic and multiple studies have corroborated what the athletes already knew – chiropractic works!
In a Canadian study, chiropractic was added to the rehabilitation program for 16 long distance runners. The runners recovered quickly. Additionally, seven of the runners achieved “personal best” or personal record-breaking performances during the time they were under chiropractic care.
In a separate study published in The Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation, 50 athletes were divided into two groups. Baseline tests were performed on all of the athletes. The control group then continued training as usual. Meanwhile, the other group was provided with an additional chiropractic care component to their normal training routine. When the athletes were tested six weeks later, there was a significant difference. The control group showed less than 1% improvement in reaction time. The group that had chiropractic care displayed reaction times that were more than 18% faster than initial their initial scores.
Another study, conducted by the New Zealand School of Chiropractic and the University of Auckland, assessed reaction times with and without chiropractic care. The control group received a short period of rest while the other group received spinal manipulation. The control group exhibited 8% faster reaction times after their rest period. In contrast, the group that had received chiropractic adjustments exhibited a 14.8% faster reaction time.
Together, these studies offer empirical evidence to back up what many athletes have experienced for years – chiropractic care is an effective tool for improving overall reaction time, among other benefits. Promoting a heightened ability for the body to react quickly, chiropractic care enhances athletic performances for those who depend on optimum reflexes to compete at their highest level.
Whether you are training for your first 5K or an Olympic event, chiropractic can benefit your athletic performance and help keep you injury free. Keeping your body working properly will help reduce risk of injuries and help you perform your regular tasks, both in the gym and out, with greater confidence and ease. If you have not already, consider adding chiropractic care to your training regimen. Find a doctor near you here.
SOURCE: Chiropractic and Athletes. Issue #07, Chiropractic for Life. Keith Wassung. September 1, 2005. http://icpa4kids.org/Wellness-Articles/chiropractic-and-athletes/All-Pages.html