Chiropractic for the Athlete

Nerve signal and muscle strength
Spinal nerve flow affects muscle fiber recruitment and, hence, muscle strength.  To lift a given weight, the brain sends nerve signals to the relevant muscle fibers, instructing them to contract.  However, the force of muscular contraction varies according to the strength of signal transmitted by the spinal nerves to the muscle fibers.[1]  A diminished nerve signal results in reduced muscle activation.  Reduced muscle activation translates to muscle weakness—not in the muscle itself but rather due to poor nerve-muscle communication.

How spinal misalignment affects nerve signals
Each spinal nerve branches from the spinal cord through an opening called a foramen, located between adjacent spinal vertebrae [see illustration above].  A misalignment in the vertebrae can interfere with the nerve signals transmitted through the spinal nerve to the muscle.  When nerve signals are diminished due to vertebral interference, there is reduced muscle activation, and therefore a lessening of muscle strength.

Restoring optimal nerve function
When vertebrae are in proper alignment, signals sent through the spinal nerves can transmit uninhibited to the muscle fibers, allowing the innervated muscle to contract to its full potential.  For this reason, chiropractic care is of particular benefit to athletes, or for that matter, anyone who wishes to maximize their athletic training or performance.  Specific, targeted chiropractic adjustments will correct any misalignments in the spine, permitting the muscles of the body to perform at their optimum!


[1] The extent of muscular contraction is proportionate to the level of what is called ‘motor unit recruitment.’  The greater the number of available motor units that are recruited by the nerve signal, the stronger the muscular contraction, and the more weight that can be lifted.

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