“I would estimate that at least 90% of world class athletes use chiropractic on a regular basis to prevent injuries and to improve their performance.” Sean Atkin, PhD exercise physiologist.
Professional athletes need to consistently push their bodies to full potential to compete. Their bodies must be in peak physical condition to be able to withstand the demands of training and competing at the highest level.
The Olympics are only weeks away, and chiropractic will be well represented in London both as part of the official medical team for all athletes and by chiropractors working with specific teams or athletes. Many athletes both from Australia and internationally have been incorporating chiropractic care into their preparation for the London Olympics.
There are numerous other professional sports people who will not be competing in London but recognise and advocate the value chiropractic care brings to their ongoing performance. World champion boxer Evander Holyfield would not enter the ring without an adjustment. (he usually gets adjusted three times a week) Tiger Woods believes that chiropractic is “as important to my training as practising my swing.” Dan O’Brien, winner of Olympic Gold in the decathlon believes “if it were not for chiropractic, I would not have won the gold medal.”
Now, more than ever, successful sporting teams have chiropractors as consultants, or on their full time staff. Numerous professional tennis players such as Lleyton Hewitt and Pat Rafter have personal chiropractors travelling with them or have a network of chiropractors they see while touring. Many AFL players now get adjusted on a regular basis, sometimes even during the game.
Athletes choose to get adjusted because they understand the benefits has on optimising performance and maintaining health. Firstly, a body that is physically out of alignment will not be able to cope with the high demands of professional sport. This altered biomechanics can affect movement of joints, muscles and ligaments.
Secondly, a misaligned or unbalanced spine can create interference to the function of the nervous system. As the nervous system is the master control system of the body, misalignments can affect any number of different parts of the body. For athletes, disruption to their nervous system can compromise not only their general health, but their coordination and power during training and competition as well as ability to recover afterwards. Misalignments can also contribute to acute and chronic injuries and prevent speedy recovery after injury.
A study by Lauro and Mouch showed that just two weeks of chiropractic care may be able to improve athletic performance by as much as 16.7%. In 2005, Pollard and Hoskins researched hamstring and lower limb injuries in AFL footballers, demonstrating that chiropractic care reduced injury time and games missed due to injury.
Just as chiropractic is a vital part of a professional athlete’s training and maintenance, it is just as important for us weekend warriors who choose to keep our bodies fit and healthy with regular physical exercise. By keeping our bodies aligned and balanced with a fully functioning nervous system, we maintain good biomechanics, prevent injuries and maximise our own performance in the future. Just like regular exercise and eating a healthy diet, regular chiropractic is an essential part of keeping our bodies functioning at full potential. We can perform at our peak in all areas of our lives, every day over our entire lifetime.
“You obviously can’t compete at your fullest if you’re not in alignment. And your body can’t heal if your back is not in alignment. It was the holistic idea that I liked about chiropractic and that is what track and field is about. Every track and field athlete that I have ever met has seen a chiropractor at one time or another. In track and field, it is absolutely essential. Chiropractic care is one of the things I think that no one has denied or refuted.” Dan O’Brien – Decathlon Gold Medalist