Athletic Performance

Chiropractic Care Improves Athletic Performance

Numerous elite athletes, including Barry Bonds, Usain Bolt, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Ronda Rousey, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods have credited chiropractic care with helping them on their path to excellence.  These athletes have experienced firsthand the benefits of getting adjusted.  Many professional sports leagues and teams, and indeed the Olympic Games, have incorporated chiropractic care because of the competitive edge it gives to athletes.  (Side note:  Dr. A's friend Dr. Celeste Gabai, MS, DC, ATC, CCSP, CCEP  is currently a Sports Medicine Provider for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and has been serving in this capacity for nearly ten years, including on-site at Olympic events! Yes, that's more letters than Dr. A has!)

Women Running Up Bleachers.jpg Why might athletes turn to Chiropractic for a competitive advantage?  Many research studies have shown that chiropractic adjustment can improve reaction time, strength, and coordination, as follows.

First, an RCT (randomized clinical trial) by Smith et al in JMPT in 2006, participants were asked to click a target with a cursor on a computer screen, before and after an adjustment, and their speed and accuracy were recorded.  Participants who received an adjustment had a significant increase in reaction time, hitting the target faster while control participants who did not receive an adjustment had only nominal change in reaction time.  Click here to view the abstract.  This simple example of improvement of hand-eye coordination suggests the value of Chiropractic care for naturally enhancing performance in many sports that require quick reflexes, such as baseball, tennis, hockey, and foosball.  =)    

Consistent with this, a recent RCT on special forces military personnel demonstrated that a "single session of CMT [chiropractic adjustment] was shown to have an immediate effect of reducing the time required for asymptomatic SOF qualified personnel to complete a complex whole-body motor response task" (click here for abstract).  Improving the body's ability to perform expediently, in a coordinated manner, could carry broad implications for optimal human performance in any arena.

Chiropractic adjustment has also been shown to improve grip strength in national level Judo athletes (click here for abstract), a finding that is supported by systematic review and meta-analysis (click here for abstract).  Similarly, young female athletes demonstrated improved vertical jump height after adjustment in a pilot trial (click here for abstract).  These athletes had stronger muscle contraction, improved performance, and greater strength gains, with chiropractic care.  

Chiropractic care has also been shown to increase proprioception, which is the literal communication between the brain and muscles.  Click here, here and here for abstracts.  Improvements in proprioceptive awareness can improve a person's sense of balance, as was shown in this recent study on elders (click here).  Additionally, a recent paper by Hubscher et al, entitled Neuromuscular Training for Sports Injury Prevention:  A Systematic Review, shows evidence that proprioceptive/neuromuscular training reduces the incidence of certain types of sports injuries among adolescent and young athletes.  Click here for the abstract for this paper.    

These research articles clearly show that chiropractic care helps keep an athlete at the top of his/her game by helping to correct the issues that result from wear-and-tear (or accidents), and by helping to maximize the brain-body connection for optimal performance.  If that sounds right for you, or for your athlete, then it's time to schedule a chiropractic assessment to determine whether we can help you improve performance.