Sports chiropractic care can help athletes improve their level of strength, just one of the many benefits of sports chiropractic
Chiropractic offers patients of all kinds a number of benefits. For instance, in addition to helping reduce back and neck pain, research has also found that chiropractic is beneficial for those who struggle with headaches and digestive issues, while also improving immune function.
That said, sports chiropractic also offers a host of benefits specifically for patients who are athletic in nature. Here are the top five to consider:
Faster injury recovery
Ask any injured athlete their number one treatment goal and the answer is likely to get back to their sport of choice as quickly as possible. Sports chiropractic can be a valuable part of this process.
As an example, in May 2019, the International Journal of Clinical Medicine Research published a systematic review of randomized controlled trials which noted that several studies have linked chiropractic care with speedier healing from ankle sprain injuries.
Additionally, a 2016 case study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine found that chiropractic helped one 14-year-old male hockey player with post-concussion symptoms. Though the patient reported still experiencing head pain, dizziness, blurry vision, and balance issues 13 days after sustaining the initial injury, after five chiropractic treatment sessions, the player’s neurocognitive testing scores were improved and he was able to play hockey once again.
Of course, the best injury is one that is avoided. While no modality offers athletes complete protection from becoming hurt while in training or play, chiropractors specializing in sports medicine play an important role in helping their more active patients avoid injury.
If the musculoskeletal system is out of alignment, due to overtraining for instance, it can create tension in one area of the body. And if this tension is able to persist, a sprain, strain, or other similar injury can result.
Spinal misalignment can also impact a player’s range of motion. In this instance, he or she may make accommodations for this limitation that ultimately increase injury risk. Correct the misalignment via sports chiropractic care and range of motion increases, subsequently decreasing injury risk at the same time.
Research has also found that chiropractic care can help athletes improve their level of strength.
The European Journal of Applied Physiology published one such study involving elite Taekwondo athletes. In this case, 11 participants received just one session of care via spinal manipulation or passive movement control and results showed that the group receiving chiropractic experienced increased muscle strength when compared to the control.
Another study, this one conducted on active duty U.S. military personnel — a group that is arguably very physically active — found that the primary outcome after engaging in four weeks of sports chiropractic care was an improvement in peak isometric strength.
Enhanced sports performance
Something that most athletes have in common is a drive to always reach new heights within their sport of choice. Sports chiropractic care can help them achieve this goal by enhancing their performance.
One way this enhanced performance is accomplished is by improving athlete’s symmetry. For instance, a 2018 study published in BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine took 40 asymptomatic athletes and randomly placed them in one of two groups. The first group received spinal manipulative therapy and the second received sham treatments.
Upon conclusion of the study, “statistically significant differences” were found between the two groups in regard to static symmetry, with the treatment group showing immediate effects.
Admittedly, research is somewhat lacking in this area, with one systematic review concluding that, although four out of seven studies analyzed connected chiropractic with greater sports performance, more quality research needs to be conducted to learn more about its impact.
“All athletes can benefit from performance flexibility” according to the United States Sports Academy, primarily because being more flexible offers greater injury protection and improved sports performance. While the academy recommends that athletes engage in seven different stretching techniques (ballistic, dynamic, active, passive, static, isometric, and PNF), chiropractic can help improve flexibility as well.
Case in point: one study looked at hip extension ability for 17 male athletes between the ages of 17 and 20-years-old who engaged in distance running. After receiving high-velocity, low-amplitude manipulations targeted to the sacroiliac joints, the treatment group experienced “significantly greater hip extension ability” than the control.
Sharing these five benefits with athletic patients can help them better understand the value that sports chiropractic care has to offer. Not only can it potentially help them by improving their strength and flexibility, but it also aids in injury recovery and prevention. Together, this improves their ability to perform, both in practice and in play.