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Chiropractic and Sports

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Chiropractic and Sports

May 31, 2023

Personal Story

Like many boys, my first word was “ball,” and for the next twenty years, I spent my free time throwing them. I spent countless hours pitching with my dad, in games, and even throwing balls alone against the wall. Given this love for baseball, you can imagine my despair when a whiplash injury caused a painful neck that affected the nerves going down my arm. As a result, my pitching was severely inhibited. Luckily, my parents knew to take me to a Chiropractor. He was able to correct my neck alignment and remove the subluxation which improved my pain and my pitching arm. Although I did not accomplish my childhood dreams of becoming a professional baseball player, thanks to continued chiropractic care, I still play in an adult baseball league. Even more importantly, I feel very blessed that I can provide that same kind of care and service to my patients, especially aspiring young athletes. 

diagram of sports athletes
Image outlining Subluxation

What is Chiropractic Care

Before we go into how chiropractic can help athletes recover from injury and overall performance, I want to explain the foundations of chiropractic philosophy. Chiropractors are healthcare specialists that detect and remove vertebral misalignment, known as subluxations, to allow improved communication from the brain to every cell, tissue, and organ in the body.

Subluxations can happen in three main ways. The first is physical stress: falls, posture, and repetitive motions. The second is emotional stress: tight shoulders, neck, and headaches. Then finally, chemical stress: chemicals and toxins that you put into your body.

For athletes, we usually only think about the physical causes of issues and how to prevent and correct those. Although this is important, it misses the complete list of possibilities. I often explain to patients that if they are sensitive to dairy, that chemical stress of consuming it can be equivalent to the physical stress of falling. If you fell constantly, you would understand why you feel sore. However, with chemical stressors, that connection may not be as evident. Chiropractic aims to look at all the aspects of human performance and the athlete.

Chiropractic care is like working-out and other health-based activities, it takes repetition. Because your body is constantly moving and experiencing these stressors, it takes time to get all the bones to hold the correction. 

Image of Bill Parcells with quote the best ability is availability

Chiropractic and Sports Related Injury

Although the quote “the best ability is availability” has now become overused, there is some truth to it. Overall health is crucial for athletic success, especially for aspiring young athletes.

Chiropractic has demonstrated the ability to help athletes at all levels recover quicker and with improved outcomes. Most sources estimate that 10-15% of athletes will experience low back pain at some point in their lives1 with some studies showing a lifetime prevalence of 85-88.5% (2,3).

Lower back pain is one of the most treated complaints by chiropractors. Manipulations reduce pain intensity and disability, with the effectiveness increasing over three and six-month follow-ups (4). In summary, if you fall into that percentage that suffers from lower back pain, chiropractic care is for you.

Beyond working on back pain, chiropractic care helps with muscle strains and joint sprains. By combining spinal adjustments and soft tissue techniques, we increase joint mobility, help improve muscle flexibility, and improve neuromuscular coordination (5). Chiropractors are trained to adjust more than just the spine!

Our main goal is to work with athletes before they are hurt and help them prevent injuries. Nevertheless, injuries inevitably happen. That is why it is critical to understand how chiropractic can help speed up recovery and help you “become available again.”

3 images that show trainers massaging professional athletes

Chiropractors in Professional Sports

As the benefits of chiropractic care become more widely known, many professional athletes have started to look to chiropractic to achieve that competitive edge. It is now common to see chiropractic being utilized in both high-contact sports like football, and non-contact sports like golf.

All 32 teams of the NFL employ their own chiropractor as an integral part of their healthcare staff. All-time greats like Jerry Rice are quoted as saying “chiropractic care was key to keeping me in the game” and current stars like Aaron Rodgers (whose father was a chiropractor) attribute it to helping him perform at his best. Tiger Woods has stated, “I’ve been going to a chiropractor for as long as I can remember. It is as important to my training as the practice of my swing.” Even the basketball GOAT himself, Michael Jordan, has seen the benefits of chiropractic care, “since I’ve been in chiropractic, I’ve improved by leaps and bounds both mentally and physically.” These are just a few of many examples of athletes who have been beneficiaries of the advantages of chiropractic.

Chiropractic's proven track record to help increase range of motion, decrease healing time, and improve overall function makes it a great tool for not just professionals, but the aspiring young athlete, the parent wanting to play with their kids without pain, or the everyday person just trying to be the best version of themselves. 

Research Study Reaction

Chiropractors Enhancing Sport Performance

Chiropractic care can help with more than just healing from a present problem. In a recent study, chiropractic combined with training showed an 18% improvement in reaction time compared to the control group that only used training which saw less than a 1% improvement (6).

In a similar study, participants were split into two groups. The chiropractic group showed an increase in muscle strength and a decrease resting blood pressure when compared to the group that did not receive care (7) They also saw a decrease in pulse rate after activity (7) which can be really for your cardio heavy sports like soccer.

One more study demonstrated how chiropractic can help in the performance of middle-distance runners. The runners who got chiropractic adjustments had significantly greater hip extension ability compared to the control group (8).

There are numerous research studies that have proven the benefits that chiropractic can have on the human body, and specifically the body and performance of an athlete. We encourage any athlete trying to improve their skills, range of motion, muscles strength and reaction time to experience the difference for themselves. 

a person playing baseball & volleyball with ad for Sport Specific Team Training

What we offer at Sycamore Chiropractic

I have helped a variety of athletes get back to their peak performance or improve their current levels. We have worked with baseball players whose hips were limiting their ability to pitch, dancers whose back pain limited their ability to perform, wrestlers who suffered shoulder dislocations and required better stability, and even basketball players with continual ankle issues, just to name a few.

Beyond helping athletes that come in with different issues or desires to improve performance. We are starting a new program partnering with local sport teams that are interested in having us come cover sport-specific issues with their youth. This will range from specific stretches and exercises to working on proper form to limit wear and tear. I have also worked with individual baseball pitchers, utilizing slow motion video recording, to pinpoint ways on how to improve and help with arm health.

If you or someone you know is an athlete looking to experience the advantage of chiropractic, call us at 513-773-1214 to schedule an appointment today. If you are a coach or part of a sports organization and are interested in utilizing our sport specific program, please message me at

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