In competitive sports, the difference between winning and losing is sometimes measured in microseconds. Athletes need every little bit of strength, speed and flexibility they can muster.
That’s why, when injuries happen, many turn to chiropractic care rather than more invasive options for pain relief. Prescription drugs dull reaction times and carry the risk of addiction, while surgery might leave an athlete benched for months. A certified chiropractic sports physician, on the other hand, is able to relieve pain without drugs or surgery—all while keeping the body balanced, flexible and at optimal performance.
The common injuries suffered in many sports can knock the spine out of alignment, causing stress on its pain-sensitive joints, muscles, nerves, discs and ligaments. In study after study, chiropractic care outperforms other medical options at reducing pain and restoring normal function.
Chiropractic provides proven pain relief from a wide range of common sports injuries, from tennis elbow to groin pain in soccer players to recurrent shoulder instability in hockey players. It also helps with:
- Headaches from head and neck injuries
- Back and shoulder pain
- Ankle and knee injuries
But it’s not just injured athletes who visit chiropractors. In fact, an estimated 90% of all world-class athletes routinely use chiropractic care to prevent injuries and boost their performance. All NFL teams employ on-staff chiropractors. So do 72 percent of PGA golfers and the majority of NBA, MLB and NHL teams.
“Chiropractic just makes you feel so much better,” says New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. “When I walk out of the clinic, I feel like I’m about three inches taller and everything’s in place. And as long as I see the chiropractor, I feel like I’m one step ahead of the game.”
Pain relief aside, here are some of the athletic benefits a certified chiropractic sports physician can offer:
Improved performance. A misaligned spine can interfere with the functions of all other systems, causing athletic performance to suffer. Regular adjustments keep the spine working smoothly, which in turn boosts the body’s overall performance. In one study, athletes showed a 6.12 percent performance increase after receiving chiropractic treatment. Another study found a 30 percent improvement in eye-hand coordination after 12 weeks of chiropractic care. Examples of athletes who can benefit include:
- Football players: Chiropractors give 16,320 to 27,200 adjustments to NFL players over the course of a football season.
- Baseball players: Regular chiropractic care helps MLB players significantly improve muscle strength and long jump distance.
- Basketball players: For those in the NBA, routine chiropractic treatment helps boost speed, flexibility, range of motion, balance and strength.
More effective training. Many athletes also find that chiropractic care helps them train more effectively. In one study, 100 percent of runners with joint problems were able to maintain—and in many cases increase—their training mileage. More than three-quarters of athletic trainers refer their players to a chiropractor, while all of them report that some of their clients seek chiropractic treatment on their own.
Fewer injuries. Alignment issues cause unnecessary stress on the body and can often lead to injury. A certified chiropractic sports physician keeps the musculoskeletal system humming along smoothly so the body is less prone to injury. For example, chiropractors help golfers correct postural imbalances in their swing that could lead to injury.
Reduced recovery times. By relieving the irritation between misaligned vertebrae, chiropractic treatment helps minimize the healing time required from injuries. One research team found chiropractic care helped a group of injured long-distance runners recover quickly. Sports chiropractors use several techniques to promote rapid healing, including:
- Massage and stretching, combined with range-of-motion movement
- Stainless steel tools used to break down scar tissue
- Functional dry needling to release deep muscle tension
- Electrical muscle stimulation to release tension near the surface
Chiropractic care helps athletes at all levels achieve optimal performance. That’s why so many athletes—from professional sports teams to high school players—regularly see a chiropractor to stay in top shape.