The performance of the body during athletics is more dependent on the spine than any other skeletal structure. The spine serves as a pillar for the body and also supplies the nervous control for the many muscles of the trunk, arms and legs. All athletes, from the weekend warrior to Olympians, want the best possible performance from their body, and to avoid injury. A structurally and mechanically balanced body has a greatly reduced risk of injury. Even the slightest biomechanical issue (pronated foot, misaligned spinal bone (or subluxation), imbalance in the muscles of the rotator cuff, etc, etc, etc) will eventually lead to reduced performance, breakdown, and injury. Athletes often wonder why they get injured, and some never do find the actual cause leading to repeat injury and chronic pain. Various sports require various demands, and some sports are more likely to cause injuries to certain parts of the body. Baseball pitchers commonly injure a shoulder and thoracic spine (especially T5-6); weightlifters have increased risk of spinal arthritis and disc degeneration; basketball players have increased risk of ankle and knee injuries; football players have increased risk of spinal injuries; the neck and low back are the primary areas of injury for golfers; and the list goes on. It is important for athletes to not only treat injuries properly, but to take a proactive approach in evaluating and preparing those areas of the body that will likely carry the most stress.
Chiropractic and Sports Injuries
Chiropractic gives a balanced approach to healing quickly from sports injuries; improving flexibility, rest and stamina; preventing injury; and increasing the body’s ability to perform. One excellent study pertaining to performance compared 2 groups of athletes in training. Each group was measured for increases in agility, perception, power, speed of reaction and speed of movement after 6 weeks.
Only one group received chiropractic care. The non-chiropractic group improved their performance by an average of 4.5% while the chiropractic group improved an average of 10.5%. Another study found that athletes that received chiropractic care had on average one more hour of sleep per night than athletes who were given sham or fake chiropractic adjustments. This is important to athletes because improved rest shortens recovery time and improves stamina. Professional athletes know the benefits of chiropractic and it is no wonder the list of endorsements steadily grows. Take it from Tiger Woods, Evander Holyfield, Emmitt Smith, Joe Montana, Lance Armstrong, Olympic gold medalist and world’s greatest athlete, Dan O’Brien, and Arnold Schwarzenegger -“I’m a strong believer in chiropractic … with chiropractic you will be 100%. It’s just fantastic.”
Straub WF, Spino MP, Life University Study, Today’s Chiropractic, Jan/ Feb 2001.
Lauro A, Mouch B, Chiropractic effects on athletic ability. Journal of Chiropractic Research. 1991;6:84-87.
Tall RL, DeVault W. Spinal injury in sport: epidemiologic considerations. Clin Sports Med 1993;12(3):441-448.
Spencer CW, Jackson DW. Back injuries in athletes. Sports Neurology. Rockfield: Aspen Publishers 1989:159-177.