Straighten Up

Chiropractic care for outdoor athletes

Thanks to warm weather and long daylight hours, we are are at the peak of our physical activity during summer. While that’s an inarguably good thing, this increased activity can cause soreness and joint restriction, which our body responds to in various ways. Chiropractic care focuses on correcting the spinal and extremity joints to restore the nervous system, which reduces pain and decreases the severity of injury. The goal is to prevent further injury, make people feel better during activity, and improve function for peak performance in athletes of all levels.

Studies show that manipulative therapy can correct restricted spinal motion—improving the actual flexibility of the spinal bone segments. When this movement is restricted, there is potential for abnormal spinal mechanics and muscle reflex, which disrupts the graceful, coordinated movement necessary for athletic activities. Furthermore, the goal of spinal manipulation therapy is to restore normal, pain-free control, allowing an athlete to perform at the highest level of his or her ability.

A study conducted in 1996 evaluated the strength change of subjects’ quadriceps muscles after a chiropractic adjustment to the L3 and L4 vertebral segment. The results showed a 4.6% increase in strength post-adjustment—a vast improvement. In athletic activity and competition, think of the number of races won and lost by a fraction of a second or a few inches.

Another study tested the effectiveness of chiropractic care on asymptomatic athletes and evaluated their agility, balance, power, proprioception (the sense of how our limbs are oriented in space), and reaction speed. After six weeks of chiropractic care and spinal manipulation therapy, the results showed a 6.12% overall improvement of the control group’s scores.

Restoring the nervous system—which is controlled by the spine—is also a critical component of chiropractic adjustment. When the nervous system is not operating at 100%, a multitude of problems can arise, one of which is called muscle inhibition. An athlete experiencing muscle inhibition may notice a lack of explosive power, loss of proprioception, and a lack of full range-of-motion in particular joints

So whether you’re a world-class athlete looking for performance improvement, or you just want to be able to enjoy the sports and activities you love, consider seeking chiropractic care. Most importantly, enjoy your active lifestyle!

Randall Lundgren grew up in Bozeman and owns Lundgren Chiropractic and Wellness.