What Gives Athletes the Competitive Edge?

Happy Monday post Super Bowl 53! Keeping the spirit of sports alive, we wanted to touch on how athletes get that competitive edge.

If you have followed any major sports over the last couple decades, chances are you’ve seen or heard of athletes using chiropractic as part of their routine. There have been primetime pieces during the olympics, public endorsements from big names and even NBA and NFL players getting adjusted during the game on live TV. This may raise the question, why do so many high level athletes utilize chiropractic?

Sean Atkins, Ph.D. exercise physiologists estimates that “at least 90% of world class athletes use chiropractic care on a regular basis to prevent injuries and improve their performance.” This may come as a surprise to someone who associates chiropractors with the treatment of neck and back pain. While chiropractors do address alignment of the spine, it may not be for the reasons that you think. Spinal movement and alignment is important because the spine is designed to house and protect the nervous system. The nervous system is responsible for regulating every function in the body down to a cellular level, including the coordination and control of our movement. The speed at which our nervous system can take in information from our environment, transmit it to the brain for processing, make a decision based on that information and execute the appropriate motor pattern in response to the situation is vital for athletes competing at a high level. Misalignments in the spine can interfere with the transmission of information over out nerves, altering the signal and there fore the function. Essentially, one needs a a nervous system functioning interference free in order to perform at their best.

Athletes visit chiropractors because doctors of chiropractic are the only professionals trained to analyze the spine for misalignments contributing to nerve interference and correct that misalignment, restoring proper nerve communication and function of all target tissues of that nerve. Proper posture contributes significantly to maintaining normal spinal alignment and neurologic function, a relationship many chiropractors address. Thomas Harris, MD states that “ posture affects and moderates every physiological function, from breathing to nervous system function, and despite the considerable evidence that posture affects physiology and function, the significant influence of posture on health is not addressed by most physicians.”

A properly functioning nervous system provides not only injury prevention, but the quality of healing is directly proportional to the functional capacity of the nervous system to send and receive nerve messages. Rather that focusing on only the site on injury, pain or symptoms, which are usually the body’s best efforts at healing itself, chiropractors focus on the body as a whole, often making them able to detect and and help prevent an injury that may normally be overlooked or ignored.

Clinical research testing done with athletes has shown those using chiropractic care show significant improvements in reaction times, athletic performance, injury prevention and recovery. As research continues, we can certainly appreciate the following personal testimonials showing how valuable chiropractic care has been for them in their career.

“The game of life requires the edge that chiropractic care provides. ” -Jerry Rice (Pro Football Hall of Fame)

“Performing at my best is important to me and should be to everyone. Getting adjusted regularly, along with practicing other good health habits are all part of my goals to win in life and on the field.” -Aaron Rodgers (2x League MVP, Superbowl XLV MVP)

“I’ve been asked that question over a hundred times. Do you believe in chiropractic? Let me answer it this way. I’ve seen over 30 of my teammates, including All-Pro quarterback Joe Montana go to the chiropractor. Because of chiropractic, I have never missed a game in 8 years. What does that tell you about my feelings about chiropractic?” -Roger Craig (3x Superbowl Champion)

“As long as I see the chiropractor, I feel like I am one step ahead of the game” -Tom Brady (6x Superbowl Champion, 4x Superbowl MVP)

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