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Have you ever wondered what it takes for an athlete to be healthy? Diet and exercise are undeniable. One piece of the puzzle often missing is lifestyle factors. And that’s where chiropractic care comes in. Some of you may be surprised to learn that chiropractic care can enhance your athletic performance. It is true, hands-on manipulation can undoubtedly help alleviate back and neck pain. But that is just a small fraction of what I can do for you and your body!


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Understanding the Neuromusculoskeletal System

To understand how chiropractic care benefits the body, we look to the neuromusculoskeletal system. The neuromusculoskeletal system makes up the body’s structure of muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and associated nerves and tissues that allow us to move, speak, etc.  ‘Neuro’ refers to our nervous system that coordinates the ways in which our bodies move and operate. The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, and hundreds of billions of nerves responsible for transmitting information from the brain to the rest of the body and back again in an endless cycle. Our nervous systems allow us to move, sense, and act in both conscious and unconscious ways. This is a vital aspect of athletic performance.

Before we get into specific benefits, let’s take a look at common injuries.  From highly trained athletes to weekend warriors, no one is without risk of injury.

Man receiving Chiropractic care

Dr. Katas Popp treating a patient

Chiropractic provides proven pain relief from a wide range of common sports injuries, including:

  • Patellofemoral Syndrome
  • Shoulder Injury
  • Hip Flexor Strain
  • ACL Tear or Strain
  • Concussion
  • Groin Pull
  • Shin Splints
  • Sciatica
  • Hamstring Strain
  • Tennis or Golf Elbow

Additionally, many sports can knock the spine out of alignment, causing stress on its pain-sensitive joints, muscles, nerves, discs, and ligaments.  Routine chiropractic adjustments can address specific concerns that impact many athletes.  Most athletes do not realize heavy training can adversely impact the immune system while increasing inflammation and oxidative stress.   Top 10 Most Common Sports Injuries

Three specific obstacles can affect your game, which chiropractors can address: chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and immunity.

Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation plays a vital role in the body’s response to injury and infection. It is the immune system’s way of signaling the body to heal and repair
damaged tissue and defend itself against viruses and bacteria.

Without inflammation, the healing process would not be possible. Wounds would fester, and infections could become deadly. While inflammation is a normal response to injury, chronic inflammation can be harmful. Chronic inflammation can sabotage your workout in many ways, including muscle loss. Specific chiropractic manipulations can normalize inflammation. Chronic inflammation can stall performance, reduce the amount of time you get to exercise, and create disability.

Free Radicals & Oxidative Stress

Free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven number of electrons which allows them to react with other molecules easily. They can be beneficial or harmful. Heavy exercise can increase your risk for free radicals. The body is equipped to control a certain number of free radicals in the body. However, when free radicals overwhelm your body’s natural antioxidant defense system, a condition called oxidative stress can occur.

Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body and is a well-known precursor for disease and premature aging.  Athletes are especially vulnerable during or after exercise. An antioxidant-rich diet is essential for maintaining the balance of free radicals and antioxidants., but chiropractic care can also positively impact
oxidative stress and DNA repair.

Keeping Up Your Immunity

Intense exercise can decrease your immune system by 15 to 70 percent for hours after a heavy workout or competition. This creates an opportunity for
invaders to take over, making you more susceptible to infectious diseases.  Research shows that spinal manipulation can support a healthy immune system as a natural strategy to optimize immunity. Subluxations of the spine interfere with the normal functioning of the nervous system. Spinal adjustments support optimal immunity to minimize your risk for illness.

Strenuous Exercise

While strenuous exercise can be part of a healthy routine, it can also take a toll on the body physically. Repeated strenuous activity is experienced by many athletes and can lead to pain. Chiropractic adjustments and modalities can help relieve muscle and body pains. Regular adjustments keep the spine working smoothly, which in turn boosts the body’s overall performance, and can lead to more effective training.

Injury Prevention and Healing

Many athletes also find that chiropractic care helps them train more effectively. Not only does chiropractic care aid in the healing process, but it can help prevent future injury as well through a specialized program tailored to each individual.

Chiropractic care uses techniques to enhance the body’s innate healing process by encouraging muscle relaxation and enhancing blood circulation, in the body. With care focused on spinal manipulation, it can also heal everything from headaches to ankle pain!  By relieving the irritation between misaligned vertebrae, chiropractic treatment helps minimize the healing time needed for injury recovery.

E-stim treatment on patient

Electrical muscle stimulation

Healing Techniques

Spinal manipulations can correct subluxations causing imbalances. However, other methods are also used by chiropractors to aid the recovery process.

Several techniques to promote rapid healing, including:

  • Massage and stretching, combined with range-of-motion movement
  • Stainless steel tools used to break down scar tissue
  • Functional dry needling to release deep muscle tension
  • Electrical muscle stimulation to release tension near the surface
Maintain Peak Performance

We can create a holistic care plan to help you maintain peak performance.  Here are some tips to keep in mind:  How Chiropractic Helps Athletes

  • Eat a nutrient-dense diet that optimizes performance
  • Perform HIIT in moderation
  • Focus on recovery and repair
  • Optimize sleep
  • Take steps to manage stress
  • Minimize environmental toxins
  • Listen to your body and rest when you need it!

Any questions, please contact our office or make an appointment online to schedule an appointment.