Performance enhancing Chiropractic? Why would someone get adjusted if they aren’t in pain? It’s a question I hear a lot in my practice.
Well, let’s start with an animal – not a human – but a horse. Not just any horse, but probably one of the most successful racehorse in modern history – Black Caviar. Black Caviar is a record breaking mare and when it comes to her health and performance, no expense is spared.
So what is the secret to Black Caviar’s amazing performance? Drugs? Surgery? Nope – it’s Chiropractic! That’s right, before and after a race this very special horse receives an adjustment from her very own Chiropractor, Dr Mick Bryant. Why does a racehorse need adjusting, you might ask? Well it’s quite simple actually, and it’s the same reason why you and I need regular adjustments too…
It’s all about allowing the body (animal or human) to function as close to 100 per cent as possible. This, as it turns out is relatively simple in most cases: by removing bio-mechanical restriction and unwanted “noise” in the nervous system. This is what us Chiros call an adjustment; it’s what we learned to do in our five years at university and it’s our (not so) secret weapon…
In most cases, yes.
Some recent studies have shown that Chiropractic adjustments are not only effective in relieving certain types of pain (1) but they may improve the performance of a particular activity and reduce the chances of injury (2,3). The fact is, Chiropractors have known this for over 100 years but only now is the research being done to uncover the how and why of Chiropractic manipulation.
Two recent articles in particular highlight the potential for Chiropractic treatment to enhance physical performance and prevent injury (2,3). The first study sought to find out whether adjustments had any effect on something called “joint position sense” (2). This required the subject to reproduce a precise angle with their elbow before and after an adjustment. The results suggest that people with joint dysfunction have reduced joint position sense accuracy and by adjusting the spine we can improve this accuracy. Think of how this could impact an athlete, where the difference between first and second place comes down to tiny margins.
A great performance is crucial to a successful athlete but just as important is injury prevention; if an athlete is injured, they can’t perform in the first place! So, at the end of last year Dr Henry Pollard of Macquarie University published a landmark study looking into the effect of Chiropractic adjustments and the prevention of injuries in semi-elite AFL players (3). They compared two groups of 30 players over 24 matches. One group received Chiropractic, the other received the usual medical management. What this study showed was a significant reduction in lower limb muscle strains and weeks missed just by the addition of sports Chiropractic.
This admittedly is just the tip of the iceberg. More research like this must be done if Chiropractors are to gain the respect (and envy!) of their medical peers and the general public. What we do gain from research such as this is the knowledge that Chiropractic, in conjunction with other more traditional medical interventions, can be a simple, natural and effective way to enhance performance and prevent injury among athletes of all types – even if you weigh over 500kg, can run at over 70km/h and eat hay for breakfast!
1) Bronfort, G., et. al. Efficacy of spinal manipulation and mobilization for low back pain and neck pain: a systematic review and best evidence synthesis. 2004. The Spine Journal. 4:3, 335-356.
2) Haavik, H., Murphy, B. Sublinical neck pain and the effects of cervical manipulation on elbow joint position sense. 2011. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics. 34:2, 88-97.
3) Pollard, H., Hoskins, W. The effect of a sports chiropractic manual therapy intervention on the prevention of back pain, hamstring and lower limb injuries in semi-elite Australian Rules footballers: a randomized controlled trial. 2010. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 11:64.
Movement Studio will be temporarily closed for face-to-face appointments from 11:59PM Thursday, 27 May - 11:59PM Thursday, 3 June 2021.
Telehealth appointments are available.
If you are having trouble reaching us by phone, please try email or respond to any of your confirmation texts or emails.
Stay safe and we’ll see you soon,
The team at Movement Studio.