How Chiropractic can help your sport performance.

This week Dr Emma and Dr Demi were joined by the fabulous Practice Manager Raquelle who had just completed her first half marathon. Not many people know this but being injury free before you get to the start line is a major accomplishment as the long term training required to run a half marathon can put physical, chemical and emotional stress on the spine creating areas of subluxation, this week the topic everyone was thirsty for was how do regular Chiropractic adjustments assist in sport performance?

In order to understand how Chiropractic can help your sport performance it is important to first understand what a Subluxation is. A subluxation is a restriction within a spine/joint which means the receptors around the joint are not firing. If these receptor’s don’t fire the messages aren’t getting sent to your brain correctly so your brain loses awareness of this joint and has to compensate using other areas to achieve the same goal. Compensation over time may lead to dysfunction and injury. Chiropractor’s focus on adjusting subluxations to restore optimal function in your body. When the joint starts moving again the receptors switch on, waking up the brain allowing it to control your spine and body better. Subluxations may be caused through different lifestyle stresses/loads put on the body and by getting adjusted you are restoring proper mobility, balance and communication within your body before pain or injury arises. That’s why getting checked by your chiropractor regularly throughout your training is important.

Dr Emma and Dr Demi looked at 2 recent studies that show how the powerful Chiropractic adjustment can affect your training and the studies highlighted some pretty impressive changes. Before reading further it is important to add that these studies were done on healthy people with NO PAIN all they had were the presence of subluxations within their spine altering their brain and body’s ability to communicate clearly.

One study looked at a group of student’s ability to maximally contract their leg muscles. After their Chiropractic adjustment the test subjects got stronger (in comparison to the control group)

The study showed:

  • an increase of almost 60% in the electrical activity readings from specifically targeted muscles
  • a 16% increase in absolute force measures
  • a 45% increase in the drive from their brain to their muscle
  • a small but significant shift in the H reflex curve, which is a neurophysiological measure of spinal cord excitability.

Another interesting finding was that these changes were seen in another study that compared three weeks of strength training to three weeks of endurance training. The results were almost identical to three weeks of strength training – after just 1 adjustment!

The other study that we delved into was a study that looked at a group of 90 healthy young males who were assessed for the ability of their deep abdominal muscles to switch-on when they lifted their arms rapidly.

Within this group they found that 17 had a delayed response. The delayed response group were then asked to come back 6 months later, and it was found that their response was still delayed.  This means that this group of healthy young males may have been setting themselves up for developing low back pain, due to the abdominal muscles not firing when their arms are lifted rapidly. This causes the low back to become overloaded, in effect giving their low back mild whiplash each time they lift their arms rapidly. The subjects underwent a sacroiliac joint adjustment on the side that had reduced movement aka subluxation and the results were pretty incredible.

What they found was significant improvement (38.4%) of the activation of the deep abdominal muscles immediately after the sacroiliac joint manipulation. This means the brain body connection was restored and their spine had greater stability and support when lifting their arms rapidly – again just after 1 adjustment! These findings are important because people that lift their arms rapidly regularly and who may benefit from regular chiropractic care may include; cricketers, golfers, weight lifters, basketballers, netballers, or simply parents lifting their child and swinging them around in the air.

It should be noted that both of these studies were of a small sample size but size however we know that being able to perform in any event day to day requires proper communication between your brain and your body and the latest research shows that getting checked by your Chiropractor regularly throughout your training may be of HUGE benefit. We look forward to seeing more of this incredible research coming out of New Zealand.

If this blog has struck a chord and you would like to find out how Chiropractic can help your training or you are already under care and have some goals that you want to share with your chiropractor please don’t hesitate in getting in contact via email or 020 7350 1100.

*If you have any requests for Thirsty Thursday topics we would love to hear from you – either comment below or let us know at your next appointment.



Changes in H-reflex and V-waves following spinal manipulation. Experimental Brain Research. Vol 233, 4 , pp 1165-1173

The Effect of Sacroiliac Joint Manipulation on Feed-Forward Activation Times of the Deep Abdominal Musculature Volume 29, Issue 3, March–April 2006, Pages 196–202.