The foundational philosophy behind modern medicine as we have come to know it is referred to as allopathy, which is defined as the treatment of disease by methods that produce the effects opposite of symptoms. Our pharmaceutically-driven healthcare system has pierced to its core the societal perception of what it means to be healthy. We have been indoctrinated by a paradigm that strips away the control that we can and should maintain over our own bodies, all while preaching the virtues of faulty theories that, if the history of healthcare is any indication, will eventually be disproven in favor of the next generational hypothesis; the vast majority of us consequently take our health for granted, as evidenced by seven out of ten Americans taking prescription drugs but only one out of ten consistently eating quality food.
In our quest to take back control of our health, we would be wise to take a peek inside the minds of elite athletes, who embody that which health is really all about: being the best version of ourselves. They work hard to achieve and sustain peak physical and mental conditioning; when an aspect of their game is weak, they seek the necessary help to make it a strength, be it through counseling to manage stress, coaching to maximize nutritional efficiency, training to enhance athletic performance, or chiropractic care to optimize their structural integrity and functional resiliency.
Focusing on that final point, it is of note that only 10% of Americans seek chiropractic care and that, of those 10%, the vast majority go for a limited time in order to address only a specific symptom (or diagnosis), rendering the practice a more natural version of drug-therapy. By comparison, “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, who holds a PhD in Exercise Physiology, has stated.
The science of chiropractic often gets scrutinized in the medical community for its lack of studies set against specific conditions. Though such studies do exist and often produce profound results in helping people with diagnoses like hypertension and multiple sclerosis, especially in the upper cervical specialty, the historical focus of the chiropractic profession has not been on treating disease, but rather optimizing the body’s ability to heal itself. Thus, research abounds when studying the chiropractic paradigm’s effectiveness in helping athletes. For instance, one study concluded that collegiate baseball players were more effective statistically and healthier physiologically after Upper Cervical Care. Another found that chiropractic helped injured female long distance runners both recover quickly and post personal bests in subsequent races.
One of the key elements that separates an elite athlete from an average one is reaction time. In soccer, for instance, a striker breaking free into open space needs a teammate to pass the ball at the right moment so that the striker can run onto it behind the defense without being called offside and have a breakaway opportunity for a goal; reaction time, in this example, is the ability to see the streaking striker and to make the necessary pass literally within a second. Several years ago, research showed that athletes under Upper Cervical Care had a reaction time 15% faster than their peers. Extrapolate that data out into the general population and think of how it might positively affect your ability to drive or to make quick, important decisions to simply (and literally) get your head on straight.
From Arnold Schwarzenegger to Jerry Rice to Michael Jordan to John Stockton to Wayne Gretsky to Serena Williams to Usain Bolt to Aaron Rodgers (whose dad is a chiropractor), athletes have become increasingly aware of chiropractic’s effectiveness for decades.
Traumas occur throughout our lives (especially during youth) that disrupt the delicate balance between the head and the upper neck, the proper alignment of which is foundational to our structural integrity and the misalignment of which begins a head-to-toe compensatory domino effect that causes the body’s natural biomechanics (how it moves) to change. The widespread physical adaptation prompts the muscles of the body to pull against each other instead of work together, creating a destructive dynamic that makes the body more prone to injury and various symptoms of distress (pain among them). That same misalignment also compromises the brainstem, the organ responsible for routing the communication between the brain and the organs, muscles, and tissues like a cell tower in a phone network; a lack of normal function internally has a globally detrimental effect on the body.
Most people address fundamental problems with their health, such as the upper cervical misalignment and its cascade of side effects, long after they become symptomatic; this is largely because our health system has taught us to be reactive. Elite athletes, on the other hand, have been taught to be proactive.
Jerry Rice, an NFL Hall of Famer and Upper Cervical advocate, once said, “Life requires the edge that chiropractic provides.” Upper Cervical Care keeps the structural frame balanced and keeps the brainstem free of neurologic distortion to allow for top notch internal networking, resulting in optimal heart, lung, and musculoskeletal function among a great many other benefits. Athletes desire that edge because it helps them to train harder, recover faster, and perform better. Why are the rest of us not following their lead, collectively tweaking our mindsets toward health in order to become the best possible versions of ourselves?