Dr. Alpert 7202 Tara Blvd Jonesboro, GA 30236 Tel: 770 472 8989

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Injuries In Competitive Athletes

Main | Competitive Athletes | Children and Teens | The Aging | Injury Prevention

Many professional and competitive athletes already know the value of regular chiropractic care. Increased flexibility, increased energy, increased speed, and increased performance as well as a decrease in injuries are all benefits of chiropractic care.

In fact, it's becoming rare to find a professional or amateur sports team that does not have a "team" chiropractor. Take for instance the bay area in Northern California. The San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants and the San Jose Sharks have their own team chiropractor.

Increasing Athletic Performance

Chiropractic is an excellent adjunct to any sports regimen. Through the use of highly specific and safe spinal and extremity adjustive techniques, physical therapies, therapeutic exercises and stretches, dietary and nutritional counseling and correction of biomechanical faults - athletes can experience increased performance and reduced risk of injury.

Chiropractic care can increase range of motion, flexibility, balance, coordination, joint proprioception, body symmetry, agility, reaction times, speed, and kinesthetic awareness - all essential to the serious athlete.

In a recent study a group of asymptomatic university baseball players were split into 2 group; one group received spinal manipulation while their counterparts acted as controls - receiving no care. Vertical jump, broad jump, standing broad jump, muscle strength, blood pressure, pulse rate, microcirculation (nail bed capillary counts) and stress test were evaluated in all athletes prior to the study, and 5 & 14 weeks follow up. Those receiving spinal manipulation experienced significant improvements in muscle strength and long jump distance at 14 weeks. The spinal manipulation group also experienced improvement in capillary counts at 5 and 14 weeks follow-up. Additionally, the spinal manipulation group had decreases in resting blood pressure and pulse rate following tread mill activity.

Another study conducted by Nansel, PhD., found cervical adjustments dramatically improved neck range of motion in a group of asymptomatic individuals who had differences of more than 10 degrees in lateral flexion of the head (ear to shoulder).

Just read what professionals are saying about the benefits of chiropractic care.

1. Nansel, PhD. JMPT 1989; 12(6):419-27.
2. Schwartzbauer J, DC, Schwartzbauer M, DC, Hart J, DC, Zhang J, MD, PhD. J Vert Sublux Res 1997,1(4):33-39.
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Minimizing the Risk of Injury

Chiropractic care is not only exceptional in the treatment of acute and chronic injuries but is equally successful in preventing future injuries when regular care is received. Why is chiropractic care so effective in sports? Simply, chiropractic focuses on the cause of the deficiency or injury and not just the symptoms. All sports experts agree that pain relief alone in the management of sports injuries is not enough. Only treatments like chiropractic which deal with all aspects of the athlete - sufficient warm-up, proper technique, correct biomechanics, proper conditioning, optimizing balance and coordination, optimizing reaction times, correct management of existing injuries, optimal diet and nutrition, adequate rest, positive mental attitude, etc. - will allow the athlete to excel and avoid detrimental injury. According to an article in a 1997 issue of the Backletter, "Athletes are going to breakdown if they put high physical demands on a system that has function deficits & adaptive changes. 80% of reinjuries in sport occur within one month of going back-"

A study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness demonstrates the necessity of correct spinal biomechanics. Examiners followed 52 high level soccer and rugby players for 2 years to assess the relationship between injuries and body mechanics. Using photographs along with grids they were able to document the most common body mechanic deficiencies. The following lists the top 5 deficiencies:

* scoliosis
* excessive lumbar curve
* excessive thoracic curve
* sway back
* shoulder asymmetry

At the end of the 2 years, the most common injuries were back injuries, affecting 24 of the 52 athletes. The incidence of injury was linked to the body mechanic defects associated with the site of injury. The researchers concluded that their results strongly suggest that treating biomechanical deviations would dramatically reduce the risk of high level athletic injuries.

In addition to correcting biomechanical faults, chiropractic care has been scientifically shown to stimulate and correct the functioning of joint proprioceptors. The proper firing and functioning of these joint proprioceptors are essential for eliciting subconscious spinal reflexes that alter muscle action to control posture and complex movements. This provides functional stability which is essential for the prevention of injuries in the athlete. According to Dickinson, MD, "Loss of feedback control 'from improper functioning joint proprioceptors' may be the cause of reinjury to the same joint."

1. Watson. J Sports Med & Physical Fitness 1995;35(4):289-294
2. Wiesel MD.Backletterl997;12(5):57.Herring, MD quotation.
3. Lachman, MA, MD. Soft tissue injuries in sport 2nd ed London, Blackwell Scientific Publications 1994:12-31
4. Dickinson, MD. Clinics in sports med 1985; 4(3):417-429:
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Professional Athlete Testimonials

Professional athletes and sporting teams are discovering the many benefits of regular chiropractic care. Just read what the following professional athletes have said about chiropractic care:

* According to Arnold Schwarznegger, "We are a perfect team. The world of fitness and the world of chiropractic."

* Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giant remarked, "I go to Dr. Athens (doctor of chiropractic) on a regular basis. By getting adjusted once a week, I feel I can sustain my career a lot longer. Athens adjusts 3/4 of the team. I'm happy we can have chiropractic services at the park, I don't think we would ever go without it."

* Female tennis star Martina Navratilova stated, "A chiropractor was instrumental in putting my body back together. Since then I've visited the chiropractor many times for a variety of problems and solutions. As Americans become more aware of the need for preventive medicine, alternative therapies will play a bigger role in our lives. After all, people like what works."

1. Deters, DC. (Ed). Muscle & Fitness 1995- Nov.
2. Panter. Barry Bonds: The Most Valuable Player. Today's Chiro 1997; May/June: 60-66.
3. Navratilova Martina's Column: Natural Health. Conde Nast Woman's Sports 1998; March 1998: 60-61.
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