By Dr. Jacob H. Karl, D.C.
When it comes to sports, there are three things that every athlete at any level wants: to win, to improve their performance to bring them closer to winning, and to stay away from injury. Chiropractic helps athletes do all of these things. This is why the NBA, MLB, and NFL and numerous other professional sports teams have chiropractors to help optimize player’s abilities as well as to help keep them in condition to play.
Michael Jordan was quoted in 1995 saying, “I didn’t know how much I could improve until I started seeing a chiropractor. Since I’ve been in chiropractic, I’ve improved by leaps and bounds, both mentally and physically.” Before chiropractic was a mainstay on NBA teams, the Utah Jazz had some of the lowest injury days per player than any team at only 1/3 that of the league average during the 80’s and 90’s with John Stockton and Karl Malone. This was credited from both Stockton and Malone to the famous Chiropractor/Applied Kinesiologist Craig Buhler, who was employed by the team during that time. The father of quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers, is a chiropractor. Rogers was quoted thanking the team chiropractor, Dr. Zollie, for an adjustment before his game against the Washington Redskins where he threw a Packers team record of 480 yards in one game.
So what exactly does chiropractic do for an athlete? Chiropractic is a natural health therapy. It does not rely on drugs or surgery. Chiropractic is about finding the roadblocks in the body that keep it from functioning and healing the way it was designed.
Chiropractors evaluate the spine and other joint systems of the body that are misaligned or moving improperly. These are called subluxations. Subluxations can cause dysfunction in the nervous system, impair blood flow to the muscles, organs, and other tissues. You read that right! Both the nervous system and vascular system are affected by these subluxations which cause various issues throughout the body.
Think about each of the muscles in your arms, legs, and anywhere else in your body. Each one has nerves connected to them that come from the spine. These nerves supply information from the brain on how to move and in what order to move. Then, special nerve fibers send information back to your brain on all sorts of information and sensations. If you have subluxations in the neck and upper back, this can affect muscles in your arms and upper body. If you have subluxations in your low back and hip area, this can affect the muscles in your lower body. Here are some examples of how this can affect athletes and how chiropractic benefits.
How would subluxations in the low back affect a runner? Subluxations can cause a decrease in strength and lock in any of the muscles in your leg. When a chiropractor adjusts these subluxations, those muscles can then be used to their full potential. The lock and strength return so the athlete can jump higher, run faster, and run longer. This also helps decrease the chance of being injured, since it helps increase the function of the muscles. Situations like sprained ankles and pulled hamstrings may often be avoided by getting adjusted.
When you have a chiropractor trained in Applied Kinesiology and/or Muscle Response testing, you can really zero in on the problematic muscles and their related issues. To help get the body operating at its full potential, a chiropractor with this training would specifically investigate the fascia, lymphatic system, and your nutrition.
Fascia is a thin film that surrounds all of the muscles. The lymphatic system is a series of channels located next to the vascular system that bring nutrition to muscles and help take waste products away from your muscles to be eliminated. Working on the fascia and nutrition of the body helps keep the lymphatic fluid flowing nicely, the way that it should. Various factors including trauma and toxins can cause the lymphatics to thicken up and flow slower. Think of it like this. When the lymphatics are healthy they flow like water, but when they aren’t healthy they flow like molasses. Thickened lymphatic fluid causes muscles to weaken and not lock well. AK/muscle response testing chiropractors are great at working on the fascia and improving this lymphatic flow.
Now let’s look at other types of athletes. Take for instance, a football player. You need to have great strength and function of your arm and chest muscles to throw a football hard and accurately. Subluxations to your spine in the neck and upper back area can cause these muscles to be weaker and not respond as fast as you would like. By getting adjusted, you gain full potential of your strength and reaction time. These same principals apply to a baseball player. You can throw harder and faster when your spine is properly adjusted. You can react to a ball being hit to raise your glove and catch the ball faster.
If you are an athlete or what I like to call an occupational athlete, such as a police officer, fireman, paramedic, or a teacher, etc., how do you go about getting these benefits? First, look up Chiropractors in your area and see what the website says. Does it mention nutrition and muscle work with chiropractic adjustments? Call them and ask about subluxations, muscle work, fascia, and nutrition. Ask if they practice Applied Kinesiology and/or Muscle Response testing. This is probably the easiest way to find one that would work best for you because Applied Kinesiology puts all of these pieces together.
You deserve a Chiropractic Doctor who will work with you on all of these things, so don’t just settle. Find the Doctor that is best for you. If you want to perform at your optimal potential like Michael Jordan and Aaron Rogers, call Karl Wellness Center & Chiropractic Clinic today at 734-425-8220.