07 April 2010

Can Chiropractic help to improve cycling performance? by Christopher Pierce, DC

Christopher Pierce, DC has owned a family Chiropractic clinic, Chiropractic First in Portland, Oregon since 2001. In 2004 he was recognized as a distinguished fellow of Chiropractic Biophysics and in 2009 he was named honorary professor of the Taiwan Chiropractic Medical Academy. At The Bicycle Chiropractor, he incorporates bicycling on a trainer and real world cycling into his 3D bio-mechanical analysis of an individual.

Can Chiropractic help to improve cycling performance?

The very first bicycle was invented in China around about 2300 BC. The very first bicycle injury probably happened that very same day. Bicycling is one of the most popular recreational sports. However, it can be associated with fractures, strains and sprains, contusions and non-traumatic overuse injuries. Many injuries are preventable given proper positioning on the bike and an accurate understanding of the biomechanics of cycling. Bicycle-related spine pain has probably been underreported. The incidence of spine pain in long distance cyclists varies from 17% to 70% in various studies. Spinal muscular strains and ligamentous sprains cause the majority of bicycle-related back pain.

What do the professionals have to say about improving cycling performance with Chiropractic?

Jeff Spencer, DC served as the team Chiropractor for the Postal and Discovery Channel Professional Cycling Teams. Here is what Lance Armstrong said about him, “Jeff is part doctor, part guru, part medicine man… we believed Jeff could fix any and all of our problems… While he fixed us physically, he also fixed us mentally… If you judged the most important man on the Postal team by foot traffic in and out his door, then it was Jeff. Without him, we knew we’d never make it to Paris.”
- Lance Armstrong, Every Second Counts

What does the research have to say about Lance Armstrong’s high regard for Chiropractic?

The review of the current research suggests that Chiropractic collectively documents statistically significant improvements in respiration, range of motion, heart rate variability and autonomic function, endocrine function, cardiovascular function, immune function, muscle strength and overall athletic ability of “healthy” or specific-function “normal” individuals. These are all necessary attributes of a health bicyclist at any performance level.

Other studies have documented statistically significant increases or improvements in neurocognitive functions such as reaction-time and information processing, visual acuity, stress and reproductive hormones, healing / recovery time, and the general health following or during Chiropractic care. Optimizing these attributes can mean the difference between taking 1st and 2nd place in a bike race.

Spine in Sports 2005, Pages 113-134

The author:
Christopher Pierce, DC
The Bicycle Chiropractor
222 SE 8th Ave
Portland, OR 97214

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