Professional ball players have traditionally used chiropractic intervention to improve performance and reduce the risk of injury. Studies are prevalent showing the positive effects of chiropractic intervention in male athletes.
Now female athletes are receiving the same attention by researchers. A 2011 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported on the results of a chiropractic intervention used with professional football cheerleaders during the 2010 season. The study focused on hamstring injury prevention, a common injury among cheerleaders, gymnasts, and other female athletes.
Doctors of Chiropractic provided the study participants with a “closed-chain, eccentric hamstring exercise protocol” for the season. Hamstring injury was estimated before and after the season. The protocol consist of two specific exercises performed with an elastic band, two to five times per week. The results showed a statistically significant difference in successfully reducing hamstring injuries and related pain in the participants.1
The study is good news for female athletes across the board, including dancers, skaters, gymnasts, runners, and others who are prone to overuse and hamstring injuries. Now, traditional, best practice methods for preventing a hamstring injury – proper strength training of the hamstring muscles to ensure that they are equally balanced with the quadriceps muscles, and ample warm-up and stretching of the muscles before beginning exercise and training– can be combined with a specific intervention protocol designed to reduce hamstring injuries in females.
Chiropractors naturally advocate taking a proactive stance. Injury prevention is much preferred to injury rehabilitation. Proactive chiropractic care not only helps reduce the risk of injuries in athletes but can also help improve strength, balance, speed, agility, and flexibility.
Chiropractors are whole body practitioners and while they may provide a site-specific training program focused on a certain area of the body, generally this is only a piece of the puzzle. Chiropractors are doctors trained to look at the biomechanics of the body as a whole. Further, Certified Chiropractic Sports Physicians (CCSP) are doctors of Chiropractic with a special certification in treating sports injuries and optimizing physical fitness. They regularly provide integrated whole body training programs for the athletes they treat, using protocols to help minimize the risk of injury and enhance sports performance.
Athletes under the care of a chiropractor or a CCSP are typically less less to painful, frustrating injuries and recover more quickly when they do experience an injury. And because chiropractors are natural, hands-on healers, athletes under their care are often able to avoid surgery. Heat and ice therapy, electric stimulation, ultrasound, massage, rehabilitation exercises, and mobilizations or manipulations (adjustments) can often restore balance, alignment, and proper range of motion following an injury, without the need for more invasive treatment such as surgery.
Ultimately, prevention is the best medicine.
1. Greenstein JS, Bishop B, Edward J, Topp R. The Effects of a Closed-Chain, Eccentric Training Program on Hamstring Injuries of a Professional Football Cheerleading Team. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2011 Mar-Apr; 34 (3): 195-200.