Written by Dr. William Walsh, DC
Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Jerry Rice, and Tiger Woods. These are just a few of the most dominating athletes in their respective sports. What they also have in common is that they all are patients and BIG proponents of chiropractic care.
While elite athletes utilize chiropractic care, is it right for amateurs or kids in sports? The simple answer is a resounding “yes!”. Chiropractic and sports have similar goals that go hand in hand, and if your child or teenage athlete aspires to be like one of the greats, they could benefit a great deal from chiropractic.
Young athletes and high school sports stars ideally aim to improve muscle function, increase body control and coordination (known as proprioception), minimize injuries, and decrease recovery time. Chiropractic aids in all of these areas.
1. Muscular Function
Athletes want to be stronger, run faster, jump higher, and have more endurance. The musculoskeletal system is a major factor in all of these areas. To achieve maximal muscular improvement, the muscles must go through their optimal range of motion, and to do so, your body must be properly aligned and balanced.
If you go through a workout and your muscles can only achieve 80% of their full range, you are not optimally working those muscles. On the other hand, if a muscle is going beyond its optimal range, there is a greater chance of injury. Hitting that sweet spot right at optimal range is what gets results.
2. Body Control & Coordination (Proprioception)
It’s safe to say that body control and coordination are necessary in sports. Little sensors called proprioceptors play a major role in control and coordination. A proprioceptor is a sensory receptor that responds to position and movement. These allow us to control our limbs and body without looking at them. Proprioceptors are the reason a baseball player can “keep their on the ball” while perfectly swinging the bat to make contact, or how a football player can watch the ball and make an over the shoulder catch.
Oh, and where are the proprioceptors found? In the inner ear, muscles, and joints! Therefore, it’s a no-brainer that getting regular chiropractic adjustments that keep your muscles balanced and your joints properly aligned will help with coordination.
3. Minimized Injuries
Injuries are one of athletes’ worst nightmares. Injuries mean recovery time, recovery time means time away from practice and training, and athletes know that can hurt their game. But does chiropractic really decrease injuries?
A study was done in 2010 that separated two groups of Australian football players. Each group received medical and sports science management but one group also received chiropractic treatments. The researchers concluded that the group with sports chiropractic intervention had overall greater prevention of lower limb injuries and “a significant reduction in primary lower limb muscle strains and weeks missed due to non-contact knee injuries.” It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a balanced muscle going through its proper motion is less likely to strain, a joint in proper alignment is less likely to sprain, and that both balanced muscle patterns and properly aligned joints will decrease injury recovery time.
4. Decreased Recovery Time
In that same study we just referenced, not only did the Australian football players experience less injuries, but they also saw a “reduction of missed weeks” from action. Chiropractors use a number of different techniques and tools to accelerate healing of the body. One of my personal favorites is the K-Laser. Studies have shown that the K-Laser can increase cellular function and tissue repair. This powerful tool can increase the healing effects on tears, bruises, sprains, and strains. The K-Laser will get you back on the field faster and is really an athlete’s best friend.
This topic hits me close to home because when I was a high school athlete, I was riddled with injuries that professionals were having a very hard time correcting. Chiropractic care is ultimately what helped me (and inspired me to become a chiropractor!), but it even took a while to find the right chiropractor for me. A facility like Monmouth Pain & Rehabilitation, with multiple services and practitioners all under one roof, would have been just what I needed at the time.
To make an appointment for a free consult ($245 value) for you or your child athlete in Shrewsbury or Wall Township, feel free to call 732-345-1377 or fill out the form on this page. There could be a lot to gain from regular adjustments!