By: Dr. Jon Stucky, Doctor of Chiropractic and Human Touch Wellness Council Member
There is a growing presence of Doctors of Chiropractic in all types and levels of sports: Olympics, NFL, NHL, college athletics, professional rodeo, professional strongman competitions and action sports to name a few. Many would conclude it is because the organization or the athlete can afford it and it is a luxury. That assumption may be true, but the athlete and organization would tell you that having a Doctor of Chiropractic on the health care team is a necessity for performance and enhancing recovery. The best approach is utilizing chiropractic care as a pre-performance and training enhancement. The effort that athletes make to strengthen and enhance repetition in a sport - to provide muscle and nervous system memory of skills needed to function at a championship level - may take a toll on their muscle, tendons, ligaments and ultimately their nervous system in enabling and directing recovery.
Chiropractors evaluate the spinal segments for position and movement, and the impact to the nervous system. The nervous system can alter and inhibit subtle to obvious brain-body communication that will affect the body’s ultimate capacity and function. Chiropractors in the sports world will often assess the extremities (shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, ankles, etc.) for proper alignment and movement within the parameters of each joint’s particular movement. The ability and skill set of Doctors of Chiropractic is unique and they attribute to the functional improvement of an athlete’s performance.
Athletes immediately gravitate towards chiropractors to receive care during training and competitions. High level athletes are separated by tenths, hundreds or thousands of a second or by minute movements that save energy and time, that with altered brain-body mechanics, can be the subtle difference in winning. This competitive edge is why most athletes seek chiropractic care. The nervous system interference is evaluated, body efficiency is elevated, energy is enhanced and muscle strength and coordination is improved. The athlete is able to feel that he/she can perform their skill with precise movement.
I have worked with a range from youth to professional athletes in many sports, and know that the nervous system is the regulating organ system that houses the communication of coordination and control of all that we do. The nervous system is well organized, ready to train, learn and perform at a high level, it just needs no interference due to injury, which is why chiropractic care in high-impact sports is an ideal way to regulate and optimize performance.