Chiropractic and Human performance
The title above comes from a February 15, 2019, article published by the Australian Spinal Research Foundation. The article compares several research papers showing that chiropractic can improve human performance. The implications of this research for top level athletes are profound.
Athletic performance depends upon the ability to properly coordinate movement, endurance, and strength. These functions are all controlled by the nervous system. The brain generates the intent and sends the signals to the individual muscles to perform the activity intended. It is therefore essential that the signals generated in the brain are transmitted clearly and cleanly to the intended muscles. Only then can those muscles perform the complex and exact movements for athletic performance. If the signals sent from the brain arrive clearly and without any changes, the muscles can perform at their highest abilities. Any interference with nerve signals will decrease the athlete's ability to perform at the highest competitive level.
This article points out that research showing chiropractic having a positive effect on movement has been around for over a decade. The author reports that back in 2006, some preliminary studies were able to quantitatively show that chiropractic "could indeed help lift certain areas of human performance."
Over the years, there has been a volume of reports and case studies of athletes who were either injured or struggling physically, who were returned to peak level performance, thanks to chiropractic care. The article notes that more modern scientific studies on athletes have been able to show that, because of chiropractic, "There was an increase of almost 60% in the electrical activity readings from specifically targeted muscles, a 16% increase in absolute force measures, and a 45% increase in the drive from the brain to their muscle."
As a result of the findings from the studies, the article stated, "it was now clear that chiropractic care changed the structure and function of the brain. It was also clear that it could reduce fatigue and increase drive to the muscles."
The article also noted that "…chiropractic care for the cervical spine could increase maximal bite force." Additionally, they point to studies that show chiropractic can have a much broader effect on human function, "This adds to a growing evidence bank showing many non-musculoskeletal benefits of chiropractic care – from cerebellar function and sensorimotor integration to reduced falls risk and increased ability to perform mental rotation tasks."
At the conclusion of the article, the author sums up his findings by saying, "This is slowly but surely coming together to show us the mechanisms behind why chiropractic works. We have further to go of course, but we can now see that when we adjust, we change the structure and function of the brain. We can increase some brain signals, and allow them to reach their destination sooner. We can remove distortion, which may mean less fatigue and more strength. As our understanding of the vertebral subluxation grows, so too does our knowledge of the flip-side – what happens when we remove it. Those results are proving encouraging indeed."