Understanding Sports Chiropractors: Why Virtually All Professional Athletes See a Chiropractor

November 19, 2019
Categories: Sports Chiropractic Care
sports chiropractor

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Visiting a chiropractor for most athletes in America has become an essential part of maintaining their health, whether it be for a sports-related injury or to prevent one.

The majority of professional sports teams use a team chiropractor to manage and prevent injuries.

In this article, we discuss how sports chiropractors help athletes look after themselves. We will also take a look at what benefits chiropractic adjustments have on sports performance.

What Does a Sports Injury Chiropractor Do?

Chiropractors deal with injuries of the spine, neck, shoulder, knee, and ankle. A sports injury chiropractor thoroughly assesses the injury to create the best plan to help the body naturally heal itself.

They will use proper adjustment methods and non-invasive exercises to assist in the corrective process.

Chiropractors work with many injuries. They can range from hamstring sprains, ankle and knee injuries to groin pulls. These are all common sports injuries.

Chiropractors also help with many back-related injuries. These can be herniated discs, spinal fractures, neck injuries, lower back sprains and strains, and neck injuries.

Chiropractors help prevent many sports-related injuries using several different methods. These include stretching muscles, spinal realignment, and treating vertebral subluxation.

Often chiropractic facilities will be able to analyze your body and create a customized pain relief and rehabilitation plan to benefit your health.

Is Going to a Chiropractor Good for Athletes? 

Athletes understand the struggles of dealing with sprains and strains and also know how painful they can be. They should visit a chiropractor after an injury to get assessed. In addition to this, athletes can see a chiropractor to prevent further injuries.

Many injuries will impact an athlete’s everyday life. Besides managing pain every day, sports performance will decrease.

It is ideal for an athlete to see a chiropractor when experiencing pain from a sports-related injury. The injury can then be either treated or maintained before any further damage occurs.


Chiropractors will often discuss back adjustment benefits if you have a back-related injury. Back adjustments aim to arrange the spine in a proper position so that the body can heal itself.

There are many benefits to this procedure, the greatest being to assist the body to restore its natural alignment to aid in the relief from back or neck pain.

Back realignment has shown that it can help to reduce stress on the immune system. Therefore, reducing the risk of potential further injury or disease.

Another benefit is that this procedure can prevent the need for back surgery. Chiropractic care is drug-free and is a very natural method to help the body heal itself.

Other benefits include:

  • Improved mental clarity
  • Improved pulmonary function
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Increased athletic performance
  • Increased balance and physical form
  • Decreased lower limb injury


Chiropractors can also help athletes prevent injuries. Chiropractors can improve spinal bone alignment, which significantly reduces the risk of injury.

In the medical journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, the writers discuss a study carried out on a football team. It showed that through chiropractic preventative methods, there was a reduction in the hamstring and lower limb injuries throughout the whole team.

Through decreasing the risk of injury, athletes are able to perform at a higher level.

What to expect at a Sports Injury Chiropractor visit

There are many chiropractors all over the country, but how do you know which is the right one for you? The easiest place to start off is the internet. Use a search engine and type in, ‘chiropractors near me’.

The results will offer you many different chiropractic practices in the area closest to you, plus offer reviews for you to read through. Check that the chiropractor you choose can offer services for sports-related injuries.

Once you have found a chiropractor, book an appointment for the initial chiropractic assessment and evaluation. It is important that your chiropractor performs a thorough evaluation prior to performing any back adjustments.

The more the chiropractor knows about your condition, the better your body can begin to heal.

Most practices will ask you to complete a health history application. This will be either on your first visit or before you get there.

Getting to know what to expect at your chiropractor visit will help to ease any worries and to better prepare you.

The first part of the assessment will include one-to-one, which will help the chiropractor understand your current health status. A discussion will include what you aim to achieve regarding your health.

It is crucial, at this point, to discuss all your medical conditions and health issues. The chiropractor will then understand your specific needs.

The second part of the assessment is when the chiropractor locates any spinal misalignment. An evaluation of your spine and nervous system will be performed using the latest chiropractic technology.

There are three parts to this assessment. They are as follows:


You may be asked to do a thermographic assessment. This assessment shows the chiropractor heat differences on both sides of the spine. Heat differences can identify neurological disturbances on the spine.

Surface EMG

This provides a baseline measurement and monitors the changes in the electrical activity of the paraspinal muscles (the muscles that move your back). In accordance with the feedback, any misalignment of the spinal column will be distinguished.

Chiropractic examination

This is the more physical side of the assessment. You will be asked to bend backward, forward, and sideways. The chiropractor will assess the spine by the method of palpation which is the use of the hands to feel for what may be out of alignment.

After this part of the assessment, you may be asked to have an x-ray. Postural x-rays can show the structure of the spine. It will highlight any misalignment, known as vertebral subluxations. The x-ray will help the chiropractor decide the best plan for you.

They will likely take a few days to look over your results. You will then be asked to come back to discuss any areas where they feel you need to receive adjustments. They will explain what the procedure will entail, how many times you need to visit the office and any home or aftercare that you need to carry out.

Correcting the Injury Vs Temporary Relief

Many people believe that chiropractic care is only temporary relief. Although many procedures only offer temporary relief, and some chiropractic offices only offer pain relief, there are chiropractors who will focus on providing long term care.

Most athletes will be searching for a chiropractor who can take the pain away. This is all well and good, but they need to try and find the root of the injury for more extended-term care.

Once a chiropractor is fully aware of your symptoms and injuries, through carrying out a thorough assessment. They will be able to help relieve pain through spinal alignment. He/she can provide assistance to maintain the correction to help you to achieve the optimal health you desire.

This will stop you from needing to return any time in the near future and will help to boost your athletic performance to the level it was at before.

Success Rate for Athletes with Chiropractic Treatment

You might wonder if your performance will improve once you have received the adjustment. Do you have an advantage over other athletes? Several medical authors have explored the success rates for athletes after chiropractic care.

One author Leonardi (1996) indicates that “where chiropractic truly excels is in its ability to actually improve performance since it is through the full use of the nervous system that peak performance can be achieved.” He goes on to say that chiropractic treatment is the only way to have subluxation free nerve flow and that, “peak performance is possible only with chiropractic care.”

Kribler and Baron (2016) in The American Chiropractic Association Journal state that, “Experts estimate that 90 percent of all world-class athletes use chiropractic care to prevent injuries and increase their performance potential. All National Football League (NFL) teams rely on DCs in varying capacities, and 77 percent of athletic trainers have referred players to a chiropractor for evaluation or treatment.”

Many studies have shown that while athletes have been in chiropractic care, they have increased performance. Kribler and Baron (2016) also discuss a Candian research group. The group offered chiropractic care to sixteen injured female long-distance runners. This was part of a rehabilitation program they were in.

The results showed that all of the runners made a quick recovery. Nearly half of them achieved a “personal best” score while under chiropractic care, although there might be other factors to consider.

In conclusion, there are many positive reasons for an athlete to visit a chiropractor, whether it be for sports injury treatment, or to prevent an injury. Nowadays, many coaches advise their team members to seek a chiropractor to reduce the risk of injury and help them perform to their best ability.

Athletes can overlook the benefits of chiropractic care, as in the past, it was looked upon as a more holistic and alternative approach to pain management.

However, it is important to note that many studies show that chiropractic care has benefited athletes in many ways in regards to their performance, and their general physical well-being. It’s also completely natural, which is starting to become more and more preferred.

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