Did you know that most major sports leagues, including the MLB and NFL, employ their own chiropractors? Professional athletes and their doctors and coaches have recognized the benefits of chiropractic care for decades. The good news is you don’t have to be a pro to get pro-level chiropractic care tailored to an athlete’s needs. At Vanguard Spine & Sport, many of our clients are athletes who count on our services to keep them in the game. Here are some of the benefits they’ve noticed:
Reduced Pain and Need for Medication
Lower back, neck, and joint pain can be part of the package for long-time athletes, but you don’t have to live with these conditions or resort to addictive drugs. Studies have shown that athletes who receive chiropractic care experience less pain and are less likely to be prescribed opiates and other drugs. According to studies cited by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “participants who received spinal manipulation, personal instruction, and exercises had less pain after 12 weeks and used less medication a year later than participants who received only personal instruction and exercises.”
The American College of Physicians recently updated its guidelines about first-line treatments for lower back pain. They now recommend alternative medicine techniques, including chiropractic care as a first treatment instead of opioid pain medications or muscle relaxants. This reflects what sports leagues have known for years. Chiropractic care is more likely to result in reduced back pain than medication or surgery. Avoiding drugs and invasive treatments is essential for athletes as surgery leads to long down-times, and medications can have side effects that impact performance.
Increased Range of Motion and Better Balance
Most people aren’t shocked to hear that chiropractic care is great for pain, but many don’t know that it significantly improves range of motion. Athletes put a lot of strain on their spines, and this can lead to misalignments that limit mobility. Keeping the spine aligned allows for more flexibility. More flexibility improves athletic performance and can reduce the risk of injury. You may have heard that professional football players sometimes take ballet lessons because ballet improves range of motion. Flexibility is important in every sport, and in sports like football that encourage a muscular build, flexibility can be a challenge.
A sports chiropractor can help you retain your flexibility while you build muscle bulk. He can also use exercises and stretches to help keep your body balanced. It’s not unusual for athletes to have one half of their body that’s stronger, resulting in imbalances that affect coordination and performance. Your chiropractor can help you correct and compensate for these imbalances.
Spatial awareness is an important trait for all athletes, and while it can be improved with practice, some of it is biological. The central nervous system contains specialized nerve endings called proprioceptors that help us sense where our bodies are relative to other objects in space. This sense is called proprioception, and a healthy spine is key to keeping it sharp. Subluxations in the spine impact your central nervous system. Correcting these misalignments frees it to function optimally and can help you feel more balanced and coordinated.
A balanced body and better flexibility also contribute to good coordination. Chiropractic care can address all these issues so you can perform at your best.
Faster Recovery Time
After being pushed to the limits in a hard practice or match, an athlete’s body must go through a recovery period. During this time, muscles rebuild, and repair and the body heals from the strain. Many factors, including sleep, diet, and stress, can affect recovery. Over the past decade, pro athletes have realized the importance of complete recovery to reduce the risk of injury and boost performance. Recovery enhancing treatments include compression garments, cryotherapy, and water therapy.
Pro sports teams also use chiropractic care to help athletes recover faster. Studies have shown that athletes who receive chiropractic adjustments after being active heal faster and perform better in their next practice or game. This is because spinal manipulation decreases inflammation, improves pulmonary function, and reduces stress. These benefits help decrease recovery time, which means an athlete is more likely to be fully recovered and less prone to injury when they hit the field again.
Our providers at Vanguard provide massage and cryotherapy in addition to spinal manipulation. Many athletes find that a combination of treatments helps them recover fast after intense training sessions.
Studies comparing athletes who receive regular chiropractic care with those who don’t have shown that those receiving adjustments are able to improve their performance faster and to a higher degree than those who don’t. All of the above benefits of chiropractic care contribute to this outcome. More flexibility, better pulmonary function, faster recovery, and less pain naturally lead to better athletic performance.
Optimal nervous system function is at the root of all of these outcomes. Your body depends on your nervous system both for basic functioning and the high-level functioning required of athletes. A healthy nervous system allows for better performance and better healing.
Better neurological function can also lead to fewer disruptions in training due to illness or injury. Chiropractic care has been proven to strengthen the immune system. People who receive regular adjustments report fewer colds and other viral infections than those who don’t. Athletes who get adjustments and who utilize chiropractic care for recovery are less likely to become injured. Less downtime equals more training and better performance.
Chiropractic Care for Athletes in Houston
Are you an athlete looking to up your game? Vanguard Spine & Sport provides sports injury services, including spinal manipulation, cryotherapy, and kinesiotherapy, at our two convenient locations. We also help healthy athletes meet their health and performance goals. Come in today to get the pro-athlete-level treatment you deserve.