Chiropractors have been used in nearly every professional sport there is: boxing, baseball, rugby, basketball, football, soccer, figure skating, Olympic sports, etc. Evander Holyfield, Lance Armstrong, Jerry Rice, and many others have publicly come out in support of chiropractic sports science. Click here for a few pro's quotes on chiropractic care. According to the Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapy in 2002, 77% of NFL trainers have referred their players to chiropractors, while 31% of NFL teams have their own in-house chiropractor on staff. Why?
At first glance it seems obvious--chiropractic can help a professional just like it helps us. Chiropractic adjustments help an injured player get better faster, and reduce pain without reflex-dulling drugs.
However, there is much more to it than getting injured players functioning again. According to a study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation in 1991, 50 athletes were tested for agility, balance, kinesthetic perception, power and reaction time. It turns out that the group undergoing chiropractic care had an overall 30% improvement over the group not under chiropractic care. In another study (Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, 1997), a group of athletes undergoing chiropractic care experienced a significant improvement in capillary count over others not receiving care. Though this research raises questions, and it needs further research, if true this may be a phenomenal boost to athletic performance.
How does it work? Our bodies, muscles, cells, organs and tissues are all directed and controlled by our nervous system. When the spine is even slightly misaligned due to stress, injury, or abuse of chemicals, obstruction to the athlete's nerve impulses occurs. If the brain cannot talk to the body with its usual speed and clarity, athletic performance nosedives. When you restore the alignment of the spine, you release all the blocked nerve impulses. Whenever all the systems are functioning on an optimal athletic level, the athlete has more agility and greater recruitment of muscle fibers.
I encourage all athletes to undergo regular chiropractic checkups. It should be the cornerstone of any fitness regimen. For thoughts on what chiropractic does for some of the top athletes in the US, click here.
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