World-class professional and Olympic athletes seek chiropractic care as a drug-free way to achieve optimal health and physical performance – For instance, in 2000, the Australian Olympic Swim team hired chiropractor George Dragasevich to attend to the team. Chiropractic and sports performance go together like a bat and ball!
But you don’t need to be a professional athlete to benefit from chiropractic care. In fact, chiropractic care can help enhance the enjoyment and effectiveness of your physical activity, regardless of what level of activity you participate in.
How Chiropractic Can Help
1. Optimised Performance
Chiropractic treatment improves the motion of the spine, thus improving the function of the nervous system it protects. Proper spinal motion leads to better sensori-motor integration (allowing the brain to take in and appropriately respond to sensory input), thus boosting the body’s overall performance. In a study by The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, athletes demonstrated a 6.12 percent performance increase after treatment. Another study (Lauro A. Mouch B. Chiropractic: The Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation. 1991; 6:84-87) showed a 30 percent improvement in hand-to-eye coordination after only 12 weeks of chiropractic care.
In another study, 18 Brazilian judo athletes were divided into two groups. Half received chiropractic adjustments, while other half did not. Researchers measured the athletes’ grip strength before and after a short trial of chiropractic treatment. After three treatment sessions, the athletes in the chiropractic group had an improvement in grip strength of 10% on the left side and 16% on the right side, while untreated athletes did not.
2. Injury Prevention
The best way to deal with injuries is to prevent them! Chiropractic, by helping maintain proper motion, balance and coordination of the musculoskeletal system, can help to prevent injuries related to poor function. A simple example of this would be a tendency to tear a hamstring muscle that is tighter than it should be due to nerve irritation coming from the lumbar spine.
A recent study (Hoskins and Pollard) examined two groups of semi-elite Australian Rules football players. All players continued to receive their usual medical care, but half of the group also received chiropractic care. When chiropractic care was added to conventional care, there was a significant reduction in lower limb strain injuries, time missed from knee injuries, and lower back pain. The players receiving chiropractic treatment also reported feeling a general improvement in health.
3. Pain Reduction
Research has shown that chiropractic care can have a significant impact on pain, even in healthy young adults. Reducing pain associated with injuries allows athletes to return to more normal movement patterns. This, in turn, leads to faster and more complete recovery, with less chance of the relapses associated with poor movement patterns.
4. Healing & Recovery
Misalignments of the spine can hamper the healing process. Much of the pain felt after an injury comes from the body trying to protect itself through muscle guarding and inflammation. These intelligent responses are part of the body’s protective mechanisms. They are designed, in the short-term, to prevent re-injury. Sometimes these mechanisms persist, and when they do, they prevent your return to normal activity that is associated with healing. Chiropractic care, by helping to restore normal function, can help speed up the recovery process.
5. Non-Invasive/Drug Free
Invasive treatments such as drugs and surgery are perfect for serious, life-threatening, or non-responsive (to conservative measures) injuries. If you receive a compound fracture of your arm from a bad fall, your best friend is modern medicine.
Outside of this type of scenario, the chiropractic approach is a great fit to help you get well and get active again. With a focus on restoring proper function through care of the spine and nervous system, in addition to postural, exercise and dietary advice, chiropractic care can help many people get back to being their best. When you are functioning at your very best, you are more able to enjoy whatever level of activity you are into – whether that’s advanced snow-skiing, or just going for a walk with your dog.
At Canberra Spine Centre, we help many people get back to being their best, and thus enjoy the best of the great outdoors that Canberra has to offer!
10 Bonus Tips!
If you are an athlete, either high level or weekend warrior, Canberra Spine Centre offers the following advice:
- Consult your chiropractor or doctor before starting a new exercise program
- Warm up gently before stretching – and always stretch after working out/playing
- Take it slow, particularly if you are at the beginning of a training session, especially so in cold weather
- Exercise regularly. On-Off type exercise is a common way to injure yourself.
- Rest when your body needs it, particularly as you get older. Over-training does not allow enough recuperation time.
- Change up your game — cross-train to avoid overworking individual areas
- Pay attention to your form to avoid injuries like ‘tennis elbow’. Practice the posture as part of the movement.
- Listen to feedback from your body – don’t ignore the signals that are trying to tell you something.
- Get good nutrition daily taking a multivitamin or mineral supplement if nutritional support is needed
- Stay hydrated – water is an athlete’s friend – everything works better when hydrated.
See Us at Canberra Spine Centre
If you are an athlete, a couch-potato looking to be a bit more fit, or somewhere in between, take control of your health by talking to your chiropractor at Canberra Spine Centre. We provide holistic advice and treatment for a variety of health issues including those related to sport and exercise.