Use of Chiropractic Among Professional Athletes

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Chiropractic care is an important tool in the arsenal of any professional athlete. It has been shown to help reduce injuries, speed healing time and improve performance.

A number of professional American sports teams have a chiropractor on staff, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, PBA, Nascar and more. Professional golfers routinely use a chiropractor during tournaments, as golf can produce a great amount of stress on the vertebrae due to twisting. Well-known professional athletes such as Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Joe Montana and many others have reported how they have benefited from chiropractic treatment.

A study conducted in 1991 by researchers Anthony Lauro and Brian Mouch, which was published in The Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation, found that athletes under chiropractic treatment were able to improve their performance an average of 10.6% over six weeks and 16.7% over a period of 12 weeks. The researchers noted that, as the study was only 12 weeks in duration, and athletic performance continued to improve during that time, it is possible that further enhancement may be possible with longer chiropractic treatment, though at what point improvement would level off is still unknown.

Another study reported in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research in 1997, which evaluated the performance of baseball players, found a marked increase in athletic performance, including an increase in capillary counts, after 14 weeks in the group that was receiving upper cervical chiropractic adjustments. In regard to the effect of chiropractic care on these athletes, the researchers concluded that, "it is evident that changes were measurable in regard to physical strength, tests of athletic ability such as the long jump, and microcirculation."

Athletes under chiropractic care have faster reaction time, better coordination and achieve more accurate and precise fine movements, all of which contribute to better performance.

There are a large number of high-impact sports that exert a lot of stress on the spine. It is quite easy for the vertebrae to become misaligned during a football tackle, during competitive wrestling or in a Nascar race that involves excessive g-force. When this happens, it can disrupt nerve transmissions from the nerves in the spinal cord, resulting in limited range of motion, slower reaction time, headaches, inflammation and slower recovery from injuries.

Chiropractic adjustments reduce irritation to the roots of the nerve in the spinal column, which allows for greater range of motion and joint flexibility. In addition, joint pain is alleviated and blood circulation is increased, which supplies the body's muscles and organs with oxygen.