Chiropractic is becoming such a vital member of sports teams that there is a chiropractor for every professional team you can name. Most professional golfers have a personal chiropractor. Most (if not all) Division I college teams utilize chiropractic as part of their athletic care.
There is obviously a reason that chiropractic has become so prevalent in the sports and athletic population. That reason is most likely that chiropractic and spinal manipulation, through research, has shown to be significantly effective for low back and neck pain as well as being safe and cost-effective.
Before we get further into the question, “Why are chiropractors so good to have on your team?”, let’s get clear on what chiropractic is.
What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is not a treatment. Chiropractic is a profession. Chiropractic treatments include spinal manipulative therapy, exercise/rehab, muscle work, proprioceptive training, acupuncture, low level laser, non-surgical spinal decompression, sports preparation/recovery, therapeutic modalities, attention to biomechanics, balance training, posture training, etc.
When you consider Doctors of Chiropractic in that light, well, now it is probably making more and more sense. In addition, the profession has become much more evidence-based with amazing research that continues to get published monthly. As a result, chiropractors are now integrating into the medical field and becoming a part of medical teams across the globe, doing their part to help get patients out of pain and back into their lives quickly, cost-effectively, non-pharmacologically, and non-invasively.
What’s the Difference?
Now that you have some background on chiropractic in general, let us start discussing how chiropractors make such a difference when it comes to athletics.
- Preparation – The first way that comes to mind is through a pre-workout routine. It’s common for a change chiropractor to lead athletes through certain warm-up routines like pregame stretching, taping, and overall preparation.
- Biomechanics – If you are moving better, you are expending less energy to accomplish your motion to accomplish your intended goal. When a joint, any joint, is unbalanced, it will wear unevenly and can potentially shorten an athlete’s career. Joint imbalances can be caused in several different ways but commonly from unevenly strengthened or weakened musculature surrounding the joint. Trained chiropractors can spot imbalances and help to make sure your overall biomechanics are en point.
- Pain Killer – Chiropractic manipulative therapy has been shown to have an analgesic effect when administered. What that means is that an adjustment from a chiropractor has an effect similar to Ibuprofen or Tylenol. This can help bring the pain level from a sore muscle back down to a more manageable rating and allow the athlete to get back into the game or back into practice quickly and without a lot of fuss.
- Increased Range of Motion – Range of motion is a BIG DEAL when it comes to sports. Being a former shot put and discus thrower, I cannot begin to describe the importance of being able to do a complete wind up in the discus ring, to perform a perfect throw, and then have a follow through that keeps you in the room. That is all about a good range of motion and a good range of motion comes from reducing joint and muscle stiffness.
- Post Event Cool Down – Again, through increasing muscular function and stretching, chiropractors are able to help the athlete recover from their activity quicker and more completely so that the athlete can better prepare for the next event. Think about neck pain, back pain, or joint pain after a sporting event. What about things like headaches and shoulder pain? THAT’s what we do!
- Avoiding Medication – Chiropractic can help the advanced athletes stay off of pain pills. There is abundant research showing chiropractic is equal to, or better than, many pain pharmaceuticals. Why on Earth would we not use something that is proven safe, conservative, and effective instead of using medication that is proven addictive many times, less effective, and can carry significant adverse effects?
While there are countless other reasons athletes need to be incorporating regular chiropractic care into their maintenance and preparations, this quick list covers the most important of them.
What is your opinion? What reasons did we miss? Email Us and let us know. We may just edit the article to reflect your thoughts while, of course, giving you credit!
If you’re an athlete, get the edge. Get on board with Chiropractic.