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Milliseconds and micrometers can make a big difference in competitive sports. That’s why, when injuries happen, many turn to chiropractic care rather than more invasive options for pain relief. Prescription drugs slow reaction times, the body’s sensitivity, and carry the risk of addiction. Surgery might leave an athlete side-lined for months and leaves permanent scarring of skin, muscle, ligaments, and interstitial tissue. A certified chiropractic sports physician, on the other hand, is able to relieve pain without drugs or surgery—all while keeping the body balanced, flexible and at optimal performance.

Common place injuries suffered by athletes of all kinds can knock the spine out of alignment, either by brute force or repetition, causing stress on its pain-sensitive joints, muscles, nerves, discs and ligaments. In study after study, chiropractic care outperforms other medical options at reducing pain and restoring normal function.

Chiropractic provides proven pain relief from a wide range of common sports injuries, from tennis or golfer’s elbow to groin pain in soccer players to recurrent shoulder instability in hockey players. It also helps with headaches from head and neck injuries, back and shoulder pain, and ankle and knee injuries.

But it’s not just injured athletes who visit chiropractors. In fact, an estimated 90% of all world-class athletes routinely use chiropractic care to prevent injuries and boost their performance. All NFL teams employ on-staff chiropractors. So do 72 percent of PGA golfers and the majority of NBA, MLB and NHL teams.

“Chiropractic just makes you feel so much better,” says New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. “When I walk out of the clinic, I feel like I’m about three inches taller and everything’s in place. And as long as I see the chiropractor, I feel like I’m one step ahead of the game.”

It’s a lot more than just pain relief, here are some of the athletic benefits a certified chiropractic sports physician can offer improved performance. A misaligned spine interferes with the functions of all other systems, causing athletic performance to suffer. Regular adjustments keep the spine working smoothly, which in turn boosts the body’s overall performance. In one study, athletes showed a 6.12 percent performance increase after receiving chiropractic treatment. Another study found a 30 percent improvement in eye-hand coordination after 12 weeks of chiropractic care. Examples of athletes who can benefit include:

Football players: Chiropractors give about 20,000 adjustments to NFL players over the course of a football season.

Baseball players: Regular chiropractic care helps MLB players significantly improve muscle strength and long jump distance.

Basketball players: NBA players under routine chiropractic treatment helps boost speed, flexibility, range of motion, balance and strength.

Golfers: PGA athletes like Tiger Woods know that correcting postural imbalances makes their swing more smooth, thereby helping to prevent injury.

More effective training. Many athletes also find that chiropractic care helps them train more effectively. In one study, 100 percent of runners with joint problems were able to maintain—and in many cases increase—their training mileage. More than three-quarters of athletic trainers refer their players to a chiropractor, while all of them report that some of their clients seek chiropractic treatment on their own.

Fewer injuries. Alignment issues cause unnecessary stress on the body and can often lead to injury. A sports chiropractic keeps the musculoskeletal system running smoothly so the body is less prone to injury. For example, chiropractors help golfers correct postural imbalances in their swing that could lead to injury.

Reduced recovery times. By relieving the irritation between misaligned vertebrae, chiropractic treatment helps minimize the healing time required from injuries. One research team found chiropractic care helped a group of injured long-distance runners recover quickly. Sports chiropractors use several techniques to promote rapid healing, including massage, stretching, and cupping.

Chiropractic care helps athletes at all levels achieve optimal performance. That’s why so many athletes—from professional sports teams to high school players—regularly see a chiropractor to stay in top shape.

Questions? Call Me, Dr. Deborah Pearson, a Chiropractor serving Alpharetta, Johns Creek and Roswell.