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Chiropractic and Improved Athletic Ability and Reaction Time

Written by Dr. Ari Cohn DC


Many athletes go to chiropractors for more than just injury treatment. Chiropractic care is intended to correct subtle and severe disturbances in a person's nervous system. For a normal person this means better reaction to the environment, and as a result improved health and less injury. For an athlete this means improved reaction time and that "edge" that may be the difference between winning and losing.

Recently, a Canadian research team included chiropractic care in their program for sixteen female long-distance runners. Not only did these runners recover from their injuries faster than the control group, a group of female runners that did not receive chiropractic care, but seven of them actually scored "personal best" performances while under chiropractic care. (1)

Another study tested reaction time of 25 athletes that had incorporated chiropractic adjustments into their training regiment. This group was compared to 25 athletes under the same training schedule who were not receiving chiropractic adjustments. After six weeks, the chiropractic group scored significantly better on 11 standard tests of athletic ability (distance perception, hand reaction, response movement test, side step test, vertical jump, broad jump, etc.). Particularly impressive changes took place in these athletes' reaction times. The control group (non-chiropractic) exhibited less that 1% improvement, while the athletes under chiropractic care achieved reaction times more than 18% faster than their initial scores. (2)

Mental processing is also a huge part of athletic performance. This is what causes an athlete to make the right decision in a split second. Studies show that chiropractic adjustments help speed up brain function for faster and more accurate reaction time. Two groups of people were shown random letters on a screen. If a letter was tilted or reversed the person was instructed to hit a button. The first group did the test and then received a chiropractic adjustment and preformed the test again. The second group did the test and received a short rest period and preformed the test again. The group that got the adjustment had an improvement in reaction time that was literally twice as fast as the group that wasn't adjusted. (3)

Chiropractic adjustments improve healing time, reaction time and coordination to name a few benefits. The speed of these processes are crucial to any competitive athlete. Chiropractic is a must for anyone who is serious about excelling in their sport. To integrate chiropractic adjustments in to your training regiment call the Princeton Chiropractic Wellness Center today.

For more research on Chiropractic and athletic ability visit the ICPA.

  • 1. Grimston SK, Engsberg JR, Shaw L, Muscular rehabilitation prescribed in coordination with prior chiropractic therapy as a treatment for sacroiliac subluxation in female distance runners. Chiropractic Sports Medicine, 1990;4:2-9.)
  • 2. Lauro A, Mouch B. Chiropractic effects on athletic ability. J Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation, 1991;6:84-87.)
  • 3. Kelly DD, Murphy BA Backhouse DP. Use of a mental rotation reaction-time paradigm to measure the effects of upper cervical adjustments on cortical processing: a pilot study. JMPT, 2000;23:246-251.)


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