ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE & CHIROPRACTIC
By Keith Wassung
I first became aware of Chiropractic in 1986 when I was able to utilize it to help in recovering from a very serious health condition. Not only did I recover completely, but shortly after I resumed serious weight training, my lifting progressed to new levels. I actually retired from competition to concentrate on sharing the message of Chiropractic with the general public. I would also like to encourage those who might be looking for a new career direction to consider Chiropractic. Experts predict that as the baby boomers mature--the wellness industry will top one trillion dollars in the next ten years. I can promise you that Chiropractic will be a big part of that.
The following article is an excerpt from my article entitled "The Winning Edge: Athletic Performance and Chiropractic"
Athletes have been benefiting from Chiropractic care for many years; however it has only been recently been receiving attention from the media. Athletes of all types, from the weekend warrior to the world-class athlete, utilize Chiropractic because it is a drug-free way to better health and performance. Chiropractic adjustments help ensure that the human body functions as efficiently as possible to maximize healing and recovery from all types of injuries.
"I would estimate that in excess of 90% of all world class athletes use Chiropractic care to prevent injuries and increase their performance potential"
Sean Atkins, Ph D Exercise Physiologist
The science of Chiropractic is founded on the premise that a proper nerve supply is essential to controlling and regulating the functioning of the human body. The nervous system controls every activity in the body by sending and receiving nerve messages and is protected by the bones of the spine called verterbrae. When the spine is in its optimal structural position, the nerves are protected and optimal communication exists between the central nervous system and the rest of the body. The verterba of the spine are susceptible to certain stresses and forces which can cause them to lose their proper position. These minor misalignments of the spine which are known as "vertebral subluxations" cause nerve interference and weaken the entire structure of the spine. Athletic training can often jar and misalign the spinal column, because the spine is at the center of the body. Impact to the legs, feet, head, shoulders and torso often radiates to the spine.
Doctors of Chiropractic detect and correct verterbal subluxations by physically adjusting the spine. This restores the spine and nervous system to a more optimal level of function, which maximizes the body's performance and healing potential. Anyone who engages in athletics can benefit from regular Chiropractic checkups to ensure that their spine is balanced and free from structural stress and subluxations. When the spinal column is brought into balance and alignment, the body's nervous system and body biomechanics
( posture) are maximized.
POSTURE = PERFORMANCE
"Changes in the optimal spinal position produces spinal pathologies and loss of function. Spinal pathologies destroy joint reflexes, arc fibers and cause nerve impedence" 1
"Postural strength and coordination are essential for injury prevention and sports performance"
Thomas Harris, MD The Sports Medicine Guide
"Posture affects and moderates evey physiological function, from breathing to nervous system function, and despite the considerable evidence that posture affects physiology and function, the significant influence of posutre on health is not addressed by most physicians" 2
Journal of Pain Management
In an average year, 25 million people visit a doctor for injuries that they suffer as a result of athletics. In professional sports, injury is the number one reason for early retirement. Overall, 67 billion dollars is spent each year for the treatment of athletic injuries 3
U.S. News and World Report
There are essentially two categories that athletic injuries fall into: acute traumatic, which is usually the result of a sudden impact or unseen force; and repetitive overuse such as swinging a racket or a golf club. In fact, virtually every workout results in micro-injuries as the body is torn down and then rebuilt through rest and recovery. As a society we have been conditioned to believe that symptoms are bad and that the key to health and recovery is their removal. But symptoms are actually part of the body's healing and repair process.
"Many treatments, compounds and medications claim to speed the rate of healing. I have not read a single scientific article that demonstrates that healing time can be increased artificially. You cannot beat nature. All doctors can do is to be very careful that they do not slow down the natural healing process." 4
William Southmayd, MD
Chiropractic's focus on the nervous system and postural biomechanics allow the body to function properly and to heal itself. The healing process always occurs from within the body, but research has shown that Chiropractic has an amazing potential to assist the body in the recovery process.
"The quality of healing is directly proportional to the functional capability of the nervous system to send and receive nerve messages" 5
Journal of Neurological Science
Standard medical procedures may be necessary when an athlete is injured. Traditional medical professionals specialize in the management and care of fractures, dislocations, lacerations and damaged tendons and ligaments. However, many athletes leave the hospital with as much spinal stress (subluxations) as they were suffering from when they entered.
Doctors of Chiropractic focus on the entire structure of the body rather than just the obviously injured part. For this reason, they can often detect and help to prevent an injury that might nomally be overlooked or ignored.
"You obviously cannot compete at your fullest if you are not in alignment and your body cannot heal itself properly if your spine is in alignment."
Dan O'Brien, Olympic Decathlete
"Chiropractic has really helped me to keep my body in line to help my body recover"
Chris Carter, Minnesota Vikings
"Chiropractic has helped keep me injury free--that is half the trick to staying in competition"
Lee Labrada, Mr. Universe
"The best way to use Chiropractic is not only after injuries, but before they occur"
Because Doctors of Chiropractic are experts in the field of human biomechanics, they are very aware of proper posture and movement.. By observing an athlete in action, a Chiropractor can often detect and prevent a structural problem that can lead to injury or poor performance. Athletic injures are often caused by improper biomechanics or muscle imbalances within the spine.
"Chiropractic has helped thousands of athletes, professional and amateur, overcome an injury without resorting to surgery" 6
Athletes have also discovered that Chiropractic care allows them to achieve an optimal level of performance when training and competing in their respective sporting event. A proper biomechanical structure allows athletes to achieve and maintain their optimal level of performance-safely and naturally. There is a growing body of research and case studies which clearly show the relationship between Chiropractic care and athletic performance.
A Canadian research team which included Chiropractic care in the rehabilitation program of sixteen injured female long distance runners. Not only did these runners recover quickly, seven of them actually scored "personal best" performances while under Chiropractic care. 7
The extent of Chiropractic's "winning edge" was tested on fifty athletes who were divided into a control group and a group which added Chiropractic care to their usual training procedures. After six weeks, the group under Chiropractic care scored significantly better on standard tests of athletic ability. When tested on their reaction time, the control group demonstrated less than one percent improvement, while the Chiropractic group achieved reaction times more than eighteen percent faster than their initial scores. 8
"Athletes are always looking for ways to improve their performances on the field; Chiropractic is one of the best ways to accomplish this"
Dr. Nick Athens, Team DC San Francisco 49ers
"I definitely try to get on a basis where I use Chiropractic at least twice a week. I would say definitely say that is helps me to perform at a higher level"
Emmit Smith, Dallas Cowboys
"My shooting has improved because of Chiropractic. I feel more balanced and have more coord ination and control. Since I have been under Chiropractic care, I have improved by leaps and bounds"
Gerald Wilkins, New York Knicks
"Chiropractic is essential for running. If I could put a percentage value on it, I would say that I compete 8-10% better from regular Chiropractic care"
Dan O'Brien, Decathlete
"Chiropractic helps athletes win without pain and aids in enhancing performance naturally"
Tonya Knight, Professional Boydbuilder
REFERENCES]1. Wyke, B (1987) Backache Diary
2. Lennon, J. ( 1994, Jan.) American Journal of Pain Management
3. U.S News and World Report, (1989, July 31)
4. Southmayd, W. MD Sporthealth, p.35
5. Edwards, J. PhD ( 1994, Aug) "Nerve dysfunction and tissue healing" Journal of Neurological Science" p. 146
6. Edelson, E. Sports Medicine, p. 68
7. Grimston, SK, Engsberg JR, Shaw L & Vetanze NW, (1990) "Muscular rehabilitation prescribed in coordination with prior Chiropractic therapy as a treatment for sacroiliacsubluxations in female distance runners" Chiropractic Sports Medicine p.2-8
8. Lauro, A.& Mouch B. (1991) "Chiropractic Effects of Athletic Ability" "The Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation" pp. 84-87
Interesting...I googled you the other day keith. It was after reading a couple of your early posts that I could tell you were a professional writer of some kind. Several books and countless articles on a pretty broad range of health and spiritual topics to your credit...Nice work.