Chiropractic Care For Athletes

Chiropractic Care For Athletes

This article was provided by Dr. Troy Lofton of Lofton Chiropractic Clinic in Birmingham, AL. If you'd like to learn more, please visit


Chiropractic care is beginning to shift the thought process of many athletes from all around the world about what health really is. This is certainly the case when it comes to competitive sports. There are several reasons why you see a large amount of organizations and high-level athletes having a chiropractor on staff. One of the largest reasons for using a chiropractor is to gain that extra edge over the competition by being at the peak of your performance. The difference between winning and losing is commonly determined from an athlete being a fraction of a second faster, jumping an inch higher or further, or having a few more seconds of stamina.  If you have watched a good amount of football, basketball, baseball, hockey, volleyball, tennis, cheerleading, gymnastics, track, or golf among other sports then there is a good chance you have probably seen or heard about a chiropractor treating them. In fact, if you have the television turned on during the Olympics, you are certain to see a chiropractor working with an athlete on the sidelines. Chiropractic should be an important part of any athlete’s routine to ensure that your body is functioning at its highest potential.


There are several injuries that can occur when playing any sports. These are a few common areas in the body of an athlete that can experience pains, sprains, and/or strains:

  • Headaches
  • Neck
  • Back
  • Hip
  • Groin
  • Shoulders
  • Knees
  • Wrists
  • Elbows
  • Ankles
  • Hamstrings
  • Shins

There are many more injuries other than the ones listed above that can occur. These can often times be the symptoms of things the body will experience with certain injuries such as: concussions, ACL tears or strains, hip flexor strains, hamstring strains, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, and sciatica just to name a few.


Athletes exert much more energy than the average individual on a daily basis. Athletes push their body to the limit to perform precise repetitive actions in an attempt to set them apart from other competitors. Unfortunately, this puts more wear and tear on the body to include joints and muscles than the average individual which can lead to a faster development of arthritis. When an injury occurs, it is often due from exerting more energy into a muscle or joint than that muscle or joint can handle. Accumulating wear and tear on the body starts to take its toll when vertebrae begin to rotate and apply pressure on nerves that extend from the spinal cord. These nerves travel to different muscles and organs which control their function. An example would be to think of an ordinary garden hose. If you step on that hose the water flow is impeded and only trickles out of the end. The same applies when talking about the nervous system. Pressure on a nerve denies full communication to whichever muscle or organ is at the end of that nerve causing a decreased function. The effects of pressure being applied to a nerve would include less oxygen, less nutrients, and less communication to muscles and organs and in most cases, pain. A chiropractic adjustment is similar to taking your foot off the garden hose. Just as the hose will now allow the full amount of water to the end of the hose, the muscles and organs attached to the nerves that were impinged from vertebrae prior to the adjustment will begin to function at its full capacity thus allowing the athlete to reach his or her maximum potential and gaining that competitive advantage.


Routine chiropractic care for athletes can help prevent many injuries. If the chiropractor you are seeing works regularly with athletes, some of the common things you can expect to be introduced to other than the adjustment would include: specific stretches, soft tissue work such as Graston or trigger point therapy, Kinesio tape, muscle stimulation, cryotherapy, ultrasound therapy, and diathermy therapy to name a few.


The benefits an athlete can expect to experience while under chiropractic care will include:

  • Increased Range of Motion
  • Increased Speed and Quickness
  • Jumping Higher and Further
  • Quicker Reaction Times
  • Increased Stamina
  • Faster Healing Times
  • Less Frequent Injuries
  • Overall Better Performance


The first visit to the chiropractor should involve you signing in and filling out some paperwork. An assistant should bring you back to a room where you will meet the chiropractor and conduct a complete consultation and begin to form a full picture as to what may be going on and how to get you started in reaching your individual goals. Next should be a thorough orthopedic and neurological examination to test where your limitations are and give more indication on where issues may lie. Lastly is to take radiographic images to see the current state the musculoskeletal structure is in.

The chiropractor should go over your x-rays in detail with you to explain what is going on and what the plan is for getting you to where you need to be. If any therapy is prescribed for you such as muscle stimulation and/or cryotherapy, this is the time you will receive this. After therapy, the chiropractor should deliver a specific adjustment to the spine while explaining to you what he or she is doing and why they are doing it. After the adjustment by the chiropractor, you will be walked to the front desk and scheduled for a follow-up visit to evaluate your condition and measure the progress you have made.


Chiropractic care is a safe and natural way to achieve the personal goals you have set for yourself. If you are a competitive athlete wanting to reach your maximum potential and looking for that competitive edge over the competition, you should not wait to make an appointment with your local chiropractor. Listen to your body. The constant wear and tear that is put on the body contributes to the aches and pains you endure through training and preparation. Failure to address these symptoms may result in further problems such as more frequent minor injuries that could lead into a major injury. Add chiropractic care to your routine today and see the impact it can make on your performance tomorrow.