Martial artists and fighters are always looking out for ways to improve their recovery time and performance in training, I think this form of care is useful and I personally go to a chiropractor weekly in order to keep my body in alignment and address minor issues that come up. So what are the actual benefits that come from getting chiropractic care in terms of practicing martial arts?
3 benefits of chiropractic care for martial arts:
- Alleviates pain
- Reduces risk of Injury
- Improves flexibility and range of motion
Let’s dive into these benefits of chiropractic care and understand how it helps in terms of martial arts training in terms of recovery and performance as well as look into some examples of MMA and UFC fighters seeing a chiropractor.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Martial Artists
Martial arts can be taxing both mentally and physically for martial artists and fighters. Seeking out good chiropractic care can help to reset athletes physically and address issues that come up through training.
There are a number of injuries that can happen in training, and chiropractic care can help with these injuries, however, chiropractic care really shines when it is used for speeding up recovery time and addressing minor tweaks and injuries before they have a chance to develop into something more serious.
Let’s examine the benefits chiropractic care offers martial artists.
1. Alleviates Pain
Since martial artists and combat athletes often experience chronic pain using chiropractic care to get pain relief is a key benefit. It is important to address some of the pitfalls that can happen from directly addressing pain with prescription drugs like opioids.
The opioid crisis has led to a fear of pain management among patients who experience severe pain – including athletes who do not want to fail drug tests for their sport. Also, statistically, nearly one-third of patients prescribed opiates for chronic pain will misuse them so avoiding use is generally a good idea.
Personally, as a martial artist, I have a tendency to ignore minor tweaks and injuries if left to my own devices because I enjoy training so much. In the past, I’ve taken a common but ultimately unhealthy approach to dealing with pain from training, such as taking NSAIDs like ibuprofen instead of managing pain in a healthier way.
Chiropractic care offers a way to fix minor issues and provide pain relief by putting things back where they belong for your joints and spine, which has a bleed-over effect in addressing minor muscle and tendon tweaks that can cause discomfort and sometimes pain.
In fact, the American College of Physicians recommends spinal manipulation (which is a core method of chiropractics) as one of the methods to reduce back pain without resorting to using drugs for pain relief.
This is significant for martial artists who end up with chronic back pain from practicing their sport, but anecdotally from my personal experience, I believe that these principles carry over into other areas of the body that can be treated with chiropractic care.
Chiropractic treatment can be a great natural pain relief option and can help martial artists address chronic pain issues and even address the root causes of the pain and help an athlete recover instead of just masking the discomfort.
Actually helping your body in fixing issues that are in your body through quality chiropractic care will result in better pain relief overall than simply masking the pain.
2. Reduces Risk of Injury
People may not think of chiropractic care as an integral part of overall health and injury reduction, but my experiences throughout my time training martial arts alongside researching sports medicine and chiropractic care effectiveness from sources like Orthogate indicate that injury prevention is bolstered by regular chiropractic care.
Ensuring your spine is in alignment and that your hips are properly adjusted can really boost your overall performance alongside preventing movements and imbalances that may lead to injury when you train. Keeping everything in proper alignment will keep you from putting things out of alignment enough to qualify as a real injury.
Chiropractors can locate and correct the source of a potential problem before it becomes an injury, which can be incredibly impactful over time in order to keep martial artists and fighters training and working on building their skills and performance by sidestepping injuries that would force them to take extra recovery time.
The best medicine is knowledge and prevention. One important rule of fighting is never to leave your face unprotected. You can effectively do that for your entire body – protecting it from unneeded injury through integrating chiropractic care into your recovery routine.
If you have a current nagging injury or pain, seek the knowledge of a licensed chiropractor to determine or pinpoint the origin of the discomfort so that it does not develop into a sidelining injury.
Talk to the chiropractor and try to see them on an ongoing basis to keep your recovery on point and reduce your injury risks. I personally see a chiropractor weekly as a part of my routine and pay reasonable monthly dues and feel it has paid dividends keeping me training martial arts regularly.
Exposing yourself to accumulating too many imbalances from minor tweaks from training is a bad idea. Don’t ignore minor pains and imbalances, pay attention and try to address these things before you end up with either a chronic or acute injury.
3. Improves Flexibility and Range of Motion
Stiffness, soreness, and tightness make it difficult to execute techniques and movements. Poor range of motion can keep some martial artists and fighters from generally reaching their full potential in terms of skill acquisition.
Addressing issues like stiffness and soreness can both lower injury risk and also keep a solid range of motion for martial arts. Getting regular chiropractic care can really help with these issues that can temporarily get in the way of the quality of movement.
The Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine Group state that chiropractic treatment can improve range of motion and flexibility by manipulating the spine and joints to reduce tension and muscle strain.
Reducing the strain on the muscles, joints, and spine allows you to continue to build good technical movement and physical capabilities without running into issues with range of motion. Delivering an effective strike or grappling technique is much easier if you do not have a limited range of motion from tweaks, pain, and soreness.
Does Chiropractic Help Athletic Performance in Martial Arts?
One of the significant benefits of receiving chiropractic care is enhancing the martial arts athlete’s performance in the sport.
Chiropractic treatment helps athletic performance in several ways. These include preventing injury, improving posture, and relieving pain. Alleviating pain, reducing the risk of injury, and improving flexibility and range of motion are important to enhance overall athletic performance.
A licensed chiropractor’s treatment and care factor heavily into the martial arts athlete’s performance. Pain killers, such as NSAIDs (Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen) and prescription pain medication like opiates (Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, Codeine), mask the pain but do not treat an injury.
Chiropractors can locate the source of an injury (which may be in a different area than the point of tension or pain) and manipulate the body to improve the recovery time for that injury and reduce the level of pain.
Chiropractors treat the injury and allow you to be ready to fight without the cognitive altering effects of some medications that could create or worsen an injury.
Ultimately, reducing pain, improving injury recovery time, and improving range of motion and flexibility keep a martial artist or fighter training at full physical capacity for longer, which has a profound impact on skill acquisition.
Additionally, the better you feel during practice and on the day of a fight, the better you will be able to perform when it is time to perform.
Professional fighters and martial artists need to keep an eye on recovery and performance, and chiropractors can be very effective to help further both of these goals.
Do MMA Fighters Go to Chiropractors?
One of the places athletes turn to when they have questions about injuries or recovery is the professionals in their sport. As experts in their field, we expect them to be the example of longevity and sustainability in the sport. So we ask ourselves, do the pros do anything I am not already doing?
Mixed martial artists and UFC fighters do go to chiropractors for adjustments to keep themselves in alignment, improve recovery time, and get drug-free pain relief. This maintenance helps to prevent and heal injuries, improve range of motion, and keep them in fighting shape.
The Joint Chiropractic has noted the influx of MMA and UFC fighters who receive chiropractic care for their injuries or pre-injuries. These treatments keep fighters at the top of their game, helping them earn titles without worrying about early retirement due to a severe injury.
Dr. Beau Hightower shares a compilation video on YouTube where he performs alignments and adjustments on various big-name UFC fighters. UFC athletes such as Brandon Gibson, Li Jiangling, and Duke Rufus crack, snap, and pop back into shape. See for yourself in the video below:
This method looks savage at first, almost like Dr. Hightower is snapping someone’s neck or ankle right off their body. However, the relief these fighters feel is practically instantaneous. The fighters stand straighter and immediately test their newly resolved range of motion.
Is Chiropractic Good for Sports Injuries in Martial Arts?
Chiropractor Dr. Robert Lalama asserts chiropractic medicine is crucial to overall health and the healing of injuries after engaging in a physical contact sport such as martial arts or combat sports like MMA. If recovery from intense training is not prioritized combat athletes can end up with minor injuries and chronic pain.
Chiropractic treatment is suitable for many martial arts and combat sports injuries because it alleviates pain and helps to treat injuries at the source without masking the pain with opiates or other substances that might impair an athlete’s awareness of their mind or body.
Martial artists and fighters need to be highly in tune with their bodies to maximize their ability to perfect their techniques and chiropractic care provides a great alternative way to improve recovery while addressing pain without having any deficits in mental or physical awareness, making it a great choice for these types of athletes.
For martial artists with existing injuries or chronic injuries, chiropractic care can also help to address existing compensatory movements which are common in these sports and will worsen biomechanics and show up in training, resulting in techniques and performance being subpar due to the compensations not allowing ideal mechanically sound movement.
Receiving an adjustment from your chiropractor can help you through the recovery of an injury with little to no pitfalls associated with taking pain medication and without the risk of using opiates in more extreme circumstances.
I personally find that I get a lot out of receiving chiropractic care on a regular basis, in my case, I go weekly. I find that it helps to keep minor issues from turning into major issues down the line and allows me to keep training martial arts without taking extended breaks for injuries.
I also just generally feel better and move better when I receive regular chiropractic care and believe that it is a good way to keep tabs on your body and keep it moving the way that you want it to.
For more check out 4 Benefits of Cold Therapy for Martial Arts