Athletic performance can be improved through regular chiropractic care
One factor that is relatively constant among top athletes is their constant desire to improve their athletic performance. If this performance is compromised in any way, the impact can be dramatic.
This is what Steven W. Whitelaw, DC, CCSP, has seen firsthand in his past 20 years as a chiropractor for the Arkansas Razorbacks. In fact, he remembers one memorable experience in particular.
“We were just about to play our first game in a college world championship,” Whitelaw said. “When I left the locker room to go to my seat, I saw our starter mug. He was past the warming-up cage and very frustrated and upset. I asked him what was going on as he was usually very calm and collected before he left started. “
The pitcher soon found that his wrist was sore, and the pain was so severe that it affected his ability to throw accurately over the plate. Whitelaw did a quick assessment, adjusting the athlete’s wrist and elbow, and having him throw a couple of pitches.
Immediately, the player returned to his normal pre-game self and pitched seven innings to help the team achieve a victory. “He found me afterwards and thanked me,” says Whitelaw. “Without the adjustment, he would have had a terrible night.”
While this is just one example of how chiropractic can benefit athletes, Whitelaw says he and his team at Millennium Chiropractic Sports Medicine and Rehab in Fayetteville, Ark. These include Bobby R. Pritchett, DC, CCSP and David M. Sence, DC, CCSP – have identified seven specific ways chiropractic can improve athletic performance.
1. Better hand-eye coordination
While hand-eye coordination is helpful for everyday activities like using utensils to feed and folding laundry, it is absolutely essential for athletes who want to master their sports of choice. Research has shown that chiropractic can improve this level of coordination, especially when there is neck pain, by changing the way the cerebellum interacts with the motor cortex.
2. Improved response time
Studies have also shown that chiropractic has a positive effect on reaction time and helps athletes respond more quickly to the actions of their opponents. For example, a study published in Trials magazine included 120 military personnel with special operations, people with extremely physical roles. After just one session, those who received chiropractic were able to complete a complex whole-body motor response task in less time.
3. Faster recovery from concussions
Concussions and their subsequent neck pain are a big problem for athletes. The Brain Injury Research Institute estimates that up to 3.8 million recovery-related concussions occur each year in the United States alone. Whitelaw and his team have found that chiropractic care helps reduce player recovery time from this type of injury.
4. Reduced healing time related to other sports injuries
Chiropractic is helpful in reducing the healing time for other sports injuries. For example, a survey in the National Football League found that chiropractors are widely used to help these professional players cure lower back pain and a variety of other musculoskeletal problems, some of which are related to “stingers” and “burners” standing and gaming-related headaches.
5. Reduced need for medication
Research shows that athletes use pain medication and oral antibiotics more often than the rest of the population. In addition, many of these drugs have a negative effect on the athletic performance of these players. Therefore, treating the root cause of the original problem with regular chiropractic care will reduce the need for these types of medication, which ultimately improves performance.
6. Increased muscle function
Muscle function is important in athletics as it enables increased strength. According to a study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, manipulating the spine reduces muscle inhibition by 7.5 percent, an action that by default increases muscle function.
7. Decreased joint stiffness and pain
Whitelaw and his team also find that chiropractic care can reduce joint stiffness and pain, resulting in increased mobility, and thus increased athletic function and proprioception. It’s also very effective.
“After my second season of football, the assistant coach and I took a look back at the past four years that we missed in training and games due to lower back pain in training and games,” said Whitelaw. “That number fell nearly 90 percent after regular chiropractic care began both during the week and on game day.”