Chiropractic & Athletic Performance

The world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, multiple world champion shotputter Valerie Adams and all All Blacks great Mils Muliaina are just some of the sporting legends who swear by chiropractic care(1)(2). Mils Muliaina is even studying to be a Chiropractor(3).

Experts estimate that 90% of all world-class athletes use chiropractic care to prevent injuries and increase their performance potential (4). However, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to benefit from regular chiropractic.

When your body is out of balance, you are more likely to have an injury. Here at Chiropractic Balance Wellington & Mana, we look after all fitness levels:

  • Those who havent exercised in years
  • Weekend warriors
  • Post-injury
  • Professionals

4 ways Athletes benefit from Chiropractic Care

Enhanced Performance
At Chiropractic Balance we look at how your muscles, nerves and joints are functioning rather than just relying on where your symptoms are. Many athletes (of all levels) have areas of imbalance in their spine, joint and muscles, which can create focal areas of nerve irritation (subluxation)(5). At low levels this may not cause pain but it can still be interfering with optimal function of strength, flexibility, speed and coordination. As a result, athletic performance suffers(6).

Numerous studies support the fact that chiropractic care helps athletes achieve an optimal level of performance. A series of studies done in New Zealand shows large changes in the maximum output of the muscle group after one chiropractic adjustment(7).

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, finds that it helps improve not only his health, but his performance, “As long as I see the Chiropractor, I feel like I’m one step ahead of the game(8).”

Injury Prevention
Most sports and exercises involve significant strain on the body and can also involve physical impact eg.

  • Tackling or contact into another player
  • A ball hitting your bat or club
  • Using your body unevenly
  • Feet impacting the ground

The research seems to support this, an article in the BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders reported that Australian football players who used a regiment of chiropractic care had a fewer number of leg injuries than those who did not(9)

Injury Resolution
Chiropractors test the spine, joint, muscle and nerve function of your entire body as the site of injury might not be the only area that has been affected. It’s been shown that high-impact sports can place the same amount of strain on the body as an motor vehicle accident (10). By ensuring the injured site is more balanced and has better blood and nerve supply, injuries often heal faster and you can get back to doing what you love sooner.

A case study from a Canadian research team included chiropractic care in the rehabilitation program of 16 injured female long-distance runners. The runners recovered quickly; seven of them were able to scored “personal best” performances while under chiropractic care(6).

Decreased Pain without Medication or Invasive Treatment
Chiropractic care is an honest way to enhance your performance. As many studies have shown, chiropractic care helps athletes recover from injuries with reduced need for painkillers or invasive surgery.

A recent article reviewed the effectiveness of different modalities for short and long term low back pain. Spinal manipulation therapy (a type of chiropractic adjustment) was shown to be more effective (reducing the intensity of acute low back pain, plus restoring normal function) than other treatment options including pharmacologic options(12).

Therefore no matter if you are already injured, would like to prevent getting injured or want to perform better, Chiropractic may be able to help you!

(4)Wassung, K., n.d. The Winning Edge, Athletic Performance & Chiropractic. [ebook] Pathways to family wellness, p.1. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 April 2020].
(5) 2020. Vertebral Subluxation » New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 15 April 2020].
(6)Evans Jr, M. W., Ndetan, H., Ka Sekhon, V., Williams Jr, R., Oliver, B., Perko, M., & Singh, K. P. (2018). Adult use of complementary and integrative approaches to improve athletic performance. Altern Ther Health Med24, 30-37.
(7)Haavik H, Niazi IK, Jochumsen M, Sherwin D, Flavel S, Türker KS. (2017) Impact of spinal manipulation on cortical drive to upper and lower limb muscles. Brain Sciences. In Press
(9) articles/10.1186/1471-2474-11-64
(10)Committee on Sports-Related Concussions in Youth; Board on Children, Youth, and Families; Institute of Medicine; National Research Council; Graham R, Rivara FP, Ford MA, et al., editors. Sports-Related Concussions in Youth: Improving the Science, Changing the Culture. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2014 Feb 4. 6, Protection and Prevention Strategies. Available from:
(11)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 p.2-8
(12)Bussières, A. E., Gauthier, C. A., Fournier, G., & Descarreaux, M. (2017). Spinal manipulative therapy for low back pain-time for an update. Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien, 63(9), 669–672.

FAQs about Chiropractic & Athletic Performance

Is Chiropractic care covered by ACC?

Chiropractic Balance is a ACC accredited healthcare provider. If you have a current ACC claim, or think you may have an ACC related injury contact us for more information.

Can Chiropractic help with muscle injuries?

Yes. Muscles are attached to bones, and nerves tell muscles what to do. Often muscle injuries are actually due to a combination of bone, nerve and muscle imbalances. At your first visit, the chiropractor will let you know the cause of your muscle injury and what the best approach is to get you healing. Chiropractic care can also complement other treatments like physiotherapy.


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