Why Athletes utilize Chiropractic

The Winning Edge, Athletic Performance and Chiropractic

Athletes have been benefiting from Chiropractic care for many years; however, it has only recently been receiving attention from the media. Athletes of all types, from the weekend warrior to the world-class athlete, utilize Chiropractic because it is a drug-free way to better health and performance.

Chiropractic adjustments help ensure that the body functions as efficiently as possible, which can maximize healing and recovery from all types of injuries.

“I would estimate that at least 90% of world class athletes use Chiropractic on a regular basis to prevent injuries and to improve their performance.”

SEAN ATKINS, Ph.D. Exercise Physiologist

A research study conducted by Drs. Anthony Lauro and Brian Mouch, published in the journal of Chiropractic researchand Clinical Investigation, 1991, indicated chiropractic care might improve athletic performance by as much as 16.7% over a two week period. The report also concluded that subluxation-free athletes react faster, coordinate better, execute fine movements with improved accuracy and precision, amounting to an overall better athlete.


The following is just a partial list of athletes who use Chiropractic care:
Top professionals in every sport are under chiropractic care to increase health and performance. The following are just a few sports stars under chiropractic care.
Mindy Mylrea, World Champion – “We put a great deal of stress on our bodies, so chiropractic is very helpful.”
Bernard Horn, Men’s Champion – “My chiropractor is really phenomenal. I’ve gotten stronger and greatly increased my flexibility.”
Larry & Todd Wise, World Champions
Jose Canseco – “I’ve found that it’s a great stress reliever to get adjusted. It takes away a lot of the tightness in the muscles”
Wade Boggs – “Last year I found Dr. Newman (chiropractor), and I have been seeing him ever since. I have been pain-free and feeling terrific. I swear by it. Now, it is just maintenance and keeping in line so the nerves don’t touch.”
Greg Mathews – Credits chiropractic with helping him get off the disabled list and overcome a career-threatening slump!
Ryan Sandberg – His wife Cindy explained, “He’s had some awesome games after getting an adjustment. He was frequently adjusted before games.”
Mark McGwire
John Smolz
Chris Sabo
Robby Thompson
Kirt Manwarning
Mark Portugal
Brett Butler
Wes Parker
Don Sutton
Roberto Clemente
Rick Monday
Jeff Reardon
Dan Schayes – “I use chiropractic as my main source of healthcare.”
Gerald Wilkins – “I didn’t know how much I could improve until I started seeing a chiropractor. Since I’ve been in chiropractic, I’ve improved by leaps and bounds, both mentally and physically.”
Michael Jordan
Charles Barkley
Robert Parish
Jack Sikma
Scottie Pippin
John Stockton
Kenny Sousa
Joel Thompson
Brent Steiner
Fred Klaven
Arnold Schwarzenegger – “Bodybuilders and fitness people have been using chiropractic very extensively in order to stay healthy and fit. I found it was better to go to a chiropractor before you get injured. We are a perfect team- the world of fitness and the world of chiropractors.”
Lee Haney, Mr. Olympia (1984-91)
Clifta Coulter, Miss USA
John Defrendis, Mr. USA
Grace Lewis, World Champion Power Lifter, Record Holder
Kevin Levrone, National Champion
Rick Valente, ESPN’s “Body Shaping”
Evander Holyfield – “I have to have an adjustment before I go into the ring. I do believe in chiropractic. I found that going to a chiropractor three times a week helps my performance. The majority of boxers go to get that edge.”
Rocky Marciano, Heavyweight Champion 1956
Jack Dempsy
Tony Lopez
Michael Carbojol
Muhammad Ali
Joe Montana – “I’ve been seeing a chiropractor and he’s really been helping me out a lot. Chiropractic’s been a big part of my game.”
Joe Montana and 35 of his teammates received chiropractic care right before the 1990 Super Bowl Game.
Irving Fryar – I definitely believe that chiropractic care has attributed to my fitness. I don’t think I could maintain my level of play without chiropractic. When I go to Dr. Napoli for an adjustment I immediately feel better.”
Emmit Smith – “I go see Dr. Bill (chiropractor) when I get bent out of shape on Sundays. Playing in a football game is like being in 30-40 car accidents.”
Crawford Kerr – “Dr. Bill (chiropractor) kept me on the field many times.”
Atlanta Falcons Team
San Francisco 49ers Team
Detroit Lions Team
Denver Broncos Team
Dallas Cowboys Team
Ed “Too Tall” Jones
Charles Haley
Roger Craig
Bob Hayes
Sean Landeta
Paul Fraze
Ricky Bell
Dammone Johnson
Alex Karras
Mark May
Gary Clark
Terry Kirby
Keith Jackson
Mike Ingram
Mike Timson
Bill Fralic
Warren Moon
Dan Marino
Terance Mathis
Gary Downs
Byron Hanspard
Ruffin Hamilton
Craig Saur
Lester Archambeau
Ronnie Bradford
Tim Dwight
Bob Christian
Joe Profit
Lenny McGill
Keith Crawford
Coey Louchiey
Fred Funk, PGA Tour Professional – “I do believe chiropractic has really benefited my game. Over the last three years, I feel I have become more exposed to, and knowledgeable about, the benefits of chiropractic for me and my game. I realize how your body can get out of balance, and chiropractic care helps…..”
Barbara Bunkowsky, LPGA Tour Professional – “I have found that chiropractic keeps me flexible and pain-free so that I can perform at my highest level. The benefits of chiropractic have improved my golf swing, putting less stress and strain on my body and allowing me to be a more productive golfer. I believe it also helps prevent other associated injuries that are very common on the LPGA tour.”
Patti Rizzo
Sandra Palmer
Lynn Connelly
Beth Daniel
Jan Stephenson
Donna White
Kim Baur
Patty Sheehan
Lynn Adams
Sally Little
Amy Alcott
Mary Lou Retton
Olga Korbut
Detroit Redwings Team
Wayne Gretzky

Tiger Woods “Being a chiropractor patient has really helped me immensely.”
“…lifting weights and seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis has made me a better golfer. I’ve been going to Chiropractors for as long as I can remember. It’s as important to my training as practicing my swing.”
Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk need treatment, but still combine to win in Friday four-balls
Chiropractor Tom LaFountain, left, holds an ice pack on Tiger Woods’ back as they walk down the 11th fairway during the better-ball matches at the Presidents Cup Friday, Sept. 23, 2005, at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

Lance Armstrong: Jeff Spencer, D.C. has been working with Lance Armstrong since January of 1999, helping him to keep his body together for the harsh demands of the Tour de France. After last year’s Tour de France, Lance said that he could not have won without Jeff’s help.

Joe Montana, One of the most recognizable celebrity/athletes, holder of four Superbowl rings, three Superbowl MVP’s and Player of the Year in 1990 has just agreed to become the spoke person for Chiropractic in the State of California. Joe Montana “Chiropractic care works for me.”
Brett Hull
George Angat Jr., US Lightweight Champion – “The split second that can be added to my speed by my chiropractor could be crucial.”
Manager-Denis Doucette – “Chiropractic care gives him that little advantage, that little extra strength and quickness and allows him his best opportunity to regain his title.”
Dan O’Brien, Decathlon – “You obviously can’t compete at your fullest if you’re not in alignment. And your body can’t heal if your back is not in alignment. It was the holistic idea that I liked about chiropractic and tat is what track and field is about. Every track and field athlete that that I have ever met has seen a chiropractor at one time or another. In track and field, it is absolutely essential. Chiropractic care is one of the things I think that no one has denied or refuted.”
Joe Greene, Long Jump – “I know chiropractic helped me. It helped my performance and I feel better.”
Alberto Juantorena, 400 & 800 Meter
Bruce Jenner, Decathlon
Mac Wilkins, Discus
Dwight Stones, Hi-jump
Edwin Moses, Hurdles
Maria Maricich, Skiing
Suzy Chaffee, Skiing
Mary Decker, Track
Willie Banks, Triple Jump
Joseph Arvay, Wrestler
Nancy Ditz, Marathon
Before I had regular chiropractic care, I had only “first aid” type care a few times prior. I guess you could say I was in a slow physical decline. From childhood on, I was determined to achieve my goals and desires, however it was becoming tougher – I was doing it with less ease and good humour. When I began regular chiropractic care and maintenance, it was not due to any crisis, but rather as a realization that things couldn’t continue as they had been. I immediately felt lighter, stronger and more aware of everything that was happening around me. This included my body and it’s performance levels, even my taste buds. I grew an inch at the age of 39.

I became far more energetic, clearer of mind and in time with the intuitive component of myself. To me, this constitutes success – living life to its fullest potential. Chiropractic has meant I have greater resilience, quicker recovery from fatigue. I have a lifestyle that in any ones estimation is hectic and physically demanding and I found this no longer had any negative impact on me.

Vale Peter Brock, “Let’s be frank, preventative health care and general well being are what society needs, not more drugs or procedures that encourage people to hand responsibility for their health to others. Chiropractic care has only realised a small part of its true potential. I believe it needs to be very clear and patient with its objectives. The great temptation in this current era is for instant gratification and instant results. Compromise is acceptable but never at the loss of one’s integrity. Chiropractic and other therapies will eventually surpass those that don’t recognise the true nature of who we really are.
The ever increasing trend towards non intrusive, natural health care therapies simply presents an acceptable choice to the vast majority who had placed much of their power in the hands of those saying they have the answers.”

31 percent of NFL teams use Chiropractors in an official capacity as part of their staffs and a full 77 percent of the trainers have referred to a Chiropractor for evaluation or treatment. A survey of certified NFL trainers revealed that 100% of them agree that players will use Chiropractic without referral from the team medical staff.1

The science of Chiropractic is founded on the premise that a proper nerve supply is essential to controlling and regulating the functioning of the human body.

The central nervous system controls every activity in the body by sending and receiving nerve messages and is protected by the bones of the spine called vertebrae.

When the spine is in its optimal structural position, the nerves are protected and optimal communication exists between the central nervous system and the rest of the body.

The vertebra of the spine is susceptible to certain stresses and forces, which can cause them to lose their proper structural position.

These minor misalignments of the spine referred to as “subluxations” cause nerve interference and weaken the entire structure of the spine.

Athletic training can often jar and misalign the spinal column, because the spine is at the center of the body. Impact to the legs, feet, head, shoulders and torso often radiates to the spine.

Doctors of Chiropractic detect and correct vertebral subluxations by physically adjusting the spine. This restores the spine and nervous system to a more optimal level of function, which   maximizes the body’s performance and healing potential.

Anyone who engages in athletics can benefit from regular Chiropractic checkups to ensure that their spine is balanced and free from structural stress and subluxations. When the spinal column is brought into balance and alignment, the body's nervous system and body biomechanics (posture) are maximized.

"Changes in the optimal spinal position produce spinal pathologies and loss of function. Spinal pathologies destroy joint reflexes, arc fibers and cause nerve impedance.” 2

"Postural strength and coordination are essential for injury prevention and sports performance" 3

     Thomas Harris, MD The Sports Medicine Guide

"Posture affects and moderates every physiological function, from breathing to nervous system function, and despite the considerable evidence that posture affects physiology and function, the significant influence of posture on health is not addressed by most physicians" 4

         American Journal of Pain Management

I n an average year, 25 million people visit a doctor for injuries that they suffer as a result of athletics. In professional sports, injury is the number one reason for early retirement.

Overall, 67 billion dollars is spent each year for the treatment of athletic injuries. 5

U.S. News and World Report

There are essentially two categories that athletic injuries fall into: acute or traumatic, which is usually the result of a sudden impact or unseen force; and repetitive overuse such as swinging a racket or a golf club. In fact, virtually every workout results in micro-injuries as the body is torn down and then rebuilt through rest and recovery.

As a society, we have been conditioned to believe that symptoms are bad and that the key to health and recovery is their removal. However, symptoms are actually part of the body's healing and repair process

“Symptoms represent the body’s best efforts to heal itself. By treating symptoms, you are suppressing the body s natural response and inhibiting the healing process. Instead of treating symptoms, doctors should stimulate the body’s defenses to allow for completion of the healing process.” 6  

                                           Dr. Stephen Cummings

If you had a fire in your house, you would not cut off the alarm and then relax, thinking that the fire is gone. The same thing happens to your body when you continue to ignore or mask symptoms. This is why athletes often develop chronic injuries.

"Many treatments, compounds and medications claim to speed the rate of healing. I have not read a single scientific article that demonstrates that healing time can be increased artificially. You cannot beat nature. All doctors can do is to be very careful that they do not slow down the natural healing process." 7


William Southmayd, MD

Chiropractic's focus on the nervous system and postural biomechanics allow the body to function properly and to heal itself. The healing process always occurs from within the body, but research has shown that Chiropractic has an amazing potential to assist the body in the recovery process.

"The quality of healing is directly proportional to the functional capability of the nervous system to send and receive nerve messages" 8



Journal of Neurological Science

More sports-related non-fatal injuries are treated in hospital departments than any other type of unintentional injury. Standard medical procedures may be necessary when an athlete is

“Chiropractic has helped thousands of athletes, amateur and professional overcome an injury without resorting to surgery.”9

A Canadian research team included Chiropractic care in the rehabilitation program of sixteen injured female long distance runners. Not only did these runners recover quickly, seven of them actually scored "personal best"

10 performances while under Chiropractic care.

The extent of Chiropractic's "winning edge" was tested on fifty athletes who were divided into a control group and a group, which added Chiropractic care to their usual training procedures.

After six weeks, the group under Chiropractic care scored significantly better on standard tests of athletic ability. When tested on their reaction time, the control group demonstrated less than one percent improvement, while the Chiropractic group achieved reaction times more than eighteen percent faster than their initial scores. 11

A landmark research effort from the New Zealand School of

Chiropractic and      the

University of Auckland, has evaluated the effects chiropractic adjustments may have on reaction times. Two groups were tested to study variations in reaction times; one group received spinal adjustments, while the other group, only receiving a short period of rest, acted as a control group for comparison.

There was a marked improvement for the group that received an adjustment over the group that received nothing but rest. The group that got only a rest period did show an average decrease in reaction time: 58 milliseconds, an 8% faster reaction time. The group that received the chiropractic adjustment showed   a decrease in reaction time of 97 milliseconds, representing a 14.8% faster reaction time.12

The implications for these findings are far reaching for any activity in the game of life, and the data can objectively support anecdotal evidence of enhanced athletic performance under chiropractic care. The ability to react more quickly to any of the demands life can impose provides added performance enhancement benefits for athletes, who rely on optimum reaction reflexes to perform at their maximum competitive capacity. Field based practice experiences indicate that chiropractic care appears to both enhance an athlete s ability to perform and to recover from injuries when they occur; this study provides objective evidence that a vital component of athletic performance rapid reaction time is markedly improved through the chiropractic adjustment.

TOP ATHLETES UTILIZE CHIROPRACTIC CARE FOR BETTER PERFORMANCE“Athletes are always looking for ways to improve their performances on the field; Chiropractic is one of the best ways to accomplish this"

             Dr. Nick Athens, Team DC San Francisco 49ers

"I definitely try to get on a basis where I use Chiropractic at least twice a week. I would say definitely say that it helps me to perform at a higher level"

                       Emmit Smith, Dallas Cowboys

“My shooting has improved because of Chiropractic. If feel more balanced and have more coordination and control.  Since I have been under Chiropractic care, I have improved by leaps and bounds"

Gerald Wilkins, New York Knicks

"Chiropractic is essential for running. If I could put a percentage value on it, I would say that I compete 8-10% better from regular Chiropractic”

Dan O'Brien, Olympic Decathlete

"I have to have an adjustment before I go into the ring. I do believe in chiropractic. I found that going to a chiropractor three times a week helps   my   performance. The majority of boxers go to Chiropractors to get that extra edge.                                                                                                         Evander Holyfield, Heavyweight Boxing Champion

It is estimated that 30 million children now participate in organized sports including soccer, football, swimming, gymnastics, hockey, skating and baseball. Correspondingly, as participation increases, injuries increase. Sports injuries to young people now exceed the occurrence of infectious disease.13

More than 700,000 children under the age of 15 are taken to the hospital emergency room for treatment of sports-related injuries. In fact, children between the ages 11-15 account for 55% of all sports-related injuries that require hospitalization.14 Sports and recreational activities account for 4.3 million or 36% of all injuries to children in the United States.15                  AMERICAN FAMILY PHYSICIAN   The increase in emergency-related injuries for children includes well-known injuries such as broken arms and twisted ankles-these injuries are certainly not new. What is new; however, are the types of children s sports injuries seldom seen in past generations. They are overuse injuries caused by small, but repetitive injuries to the body s tissues, joints and spinal column resulting in chronic health conditions.

Chiropractic adjustments for children of all ages are of tremendous benefit for the treatment and prevention of injuries and to maximize performance potential.

Chiropractic s focus on the spine and nervous system is also important for children, since it is their nervous system, which controls their entire growth and development




Chiropractic is the fastest-growing and second-largest primary health care profession.

Doctors of Chiropractic receive extensive, demanding professional education on par with medical doctors (MDs) and osteopaths (DOs).

Doctors of Chiropractic are primary health care providers.

Doctors of Chiropractic are licensed in all 50 states.

Chiropractic is recognized by governmental health care programs.

The Doctor of Chiropractic is an effective source of preventative and wellness care.

The process of chiropractic adjustment is a safe, efficient procedure which is performed nearly one million times every working day in the United States.






  1. Stump, J, DC, Redwood, D, DC, JMPT, March/April 2002, Volume 25 - Number 3, The use and role of sport Chiropractors in the National Football League

  2. Wyke, B (1987) Backache Diary

  3. Harris, T. The Sports Medicine Guide

  4. Lennon, J. (1994, Jan.) American Journal of Pain Management

  5. S News and World Report, (1989, July 31)

  6. Cummings, S. Everyone s Guide to Homeopathy, Putnam Publishing, New York, 1997

  7. Southmayd, W. MD Sporthealth, 35

  8. Edwards, J. PhD (1994, Aug) "Nerve dysfunction and tissue healing" Journal of Neurological Science" p. 146

  9. Edelson, E. Sports Medicine, 68

  10. Grimston, SK, Engsberg JR, Shaw L & Vetanze NW, (1990) "Muscular rehabilitation Prescribed in coordination with prior Chiropractic therapy as a treatment for sacroiliac subluxations in female distance runners" Chiropractic Sports Medicine 2-8

  11. Lauro, A. & Mouch B. (1991) "Chiropractic Effects of Athletic Ability" "The Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation" pp. 84-87

  12. Kelly DD, Murphy BA, Backhouse DP, J Manipulative Physiologic Therapeutics 2000 May; 23(4):246-51.


Use of a mental rotation reaction time to measure the effects of upper-cervical adjustments on reaction time.



  1. Christensen, K. DC, (1997, May/June). Sports Related Back Injuries in Young Athletes. The American Chiropractor

  2. Zipperer, R. MD (1996, March) Sports Sense Consumers Research Magazine

  3. Bijur, P.E. MD (1996, March) Incidence of Sports Injuries in Children and Adolescents American Family Physician, p. 1349





Relief Care Chiropractic

Dr. Patrick E. Determan