Study: Chiropractic Increases Soccer Players' Kicking Speed

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A pilot study published in January 2015 in the journal Chiropractic and Manual Therapies found that lumbar spine manipulation and sacroiliac joint manipulation resulted in increased kicking speed and range of motion.
The study was conducted on 40 South African soccer players without previous injuries. Researchers Kyle Colin Deutschmann, Andrew Douglas Jones, and Charmaine Maria Korporaal of the Durban University of Technology selected subjects with similar physicality (height, weight, etc.) and clinical signs of lumbar spine or sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
The players were separated into four groups and given lumbar spine manipulation, sacroiliac joint (SI joint) manipulation, both lumbar and sacroiliac joint manipulation, and a sham laser intervention. The players did a standardized warm-up before treatment.
Immediately after receiving manipulation or sham treatment, players were measured biomechanically for changes in range of motion and kicking speed, as well as their perception of change in kicking speed.
Subjects who had received lumbar spine manipulation and SI joint manipulation had the most significant increase in range of motion from the lumbar extension, right rotation, and SI joint angular motions. All subjects who received manipulation of any kind had an increased kicking speed and they tended to perceive that their kicking speed had increased. Lumbar spine manipulation caused a significant increase in range of motion in right and left rotation, while SI joint manipulation did not cause significant increases in range of motion.

Muscle and Joint Function’s Role in Performance

Kicking, a fundamental motion in soccer, requires an intricate cooperation of muscles, joints, and ligaments. Range of motion and flexion in joints of the lumbar spine and the sacroiliac joint are vital to the instep kicking motion. Players must deliver maximum power each time they kick, which means the joints and muscles must be fully functional at all times.
When spinal joints do not function as they should, it has negative effects on the function of surrounding muscles and tissues as well as the rest of the body, making it harder for players to kick. This pilot study highlights the importance of restoring biomechanical balance to the structures of the spine through chiropractic manipulation.

Chiropractic Manipulation’s Effects on Muscle Function Studied

This study is the latest in several studies to examine how chiropractic manipulation affects muscle control and function. Another study recently discovered that chiropractic manipulation increases muscle function, reduces muscle fatigue, and increases the brain’s ability to communicate with muscles. This growing area of chiropractic research sheds light on manipulation as a treatment to improve overall physical function, particularly for athletes.
Due to the small size of the South African pilot study, the results call for more investigation into the effects of manipulation on kicking performance.

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