The Benefits of Chiropractic Care for MMA Practitioners

The popularity of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) competitions has led to an increase of training in BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and other grappling base forms of martial arts. These disciplines focus on throws, submission holds, and other techniques that can result in painful and debilitating injuries to the back and neck.

Chiropractic care is helpful in reducing the pain associated with these types of injuries as well as secondary effects that may occur from trauma to the nerves that run along the length of the spine.

Why is MMA Training Particularly Conducive to Neck and Spine Injuries?

Although MMA practice is adapted for sports competition, it is based on martial arts training, which was initially designed to stop, maim, or kill an opponent. Techniques are performed upon opponents until they submit from induced pain or inability to continue the match. These techniques include:


Although throws can produce a sufficient impact to cause back or neck trauma, they are usually just a maneuver to get the opponent into a compromised position. However, trauma from a throw can be masked by the twin surges of adrenalin and endorphin hormones from the brain that reduce pain and induce a false sense of well-being.


Choke holds are obvious sources of neck trauma, but the back can also be affected as the individual that is being choked attempts to escape from their opponent's grip.

Joint Locks

Joint locks are submission holds that place force on arms and legs that is contrary to their natural movement. The pain can be excruciating and may lead the affected participant to contort their body in an effort to reduce the pain and escape the hold.

How Can Chiropractic Care Reduce the Negative Effects of MMA Training?

A chiropractor can perform deep tissue massage on neck muscles and lower back muscles that have been stressed to the point that movement is limited by pain. These types of injuries are similar to those experienced with whiplash from auto crashes. 

Fear of intense pain may cause the individual to curtail movement, leading to increased stiffness and pain. Although it's usually best to rest for a few days when neck and back muscles are strained, too much rest increases healing time and decreases mobility in the neck and lower back.

Throws, choke holds, and locks can also result in the vertebra of the spine to become dislocated. This can cause the nerves that run from the back of the brain to the lower back to become irritated or traumatized.

Misaligned vertebra in the neck can cause neck pain, blinding headaches, blurred vision, and loss of balance and upper body strength. Pain,  numbness, and weakness can be experienced in any part of the lower body if the lumbar vertebra (lower back) are forced out of alignment.

A chiropractor can actually push the vertebra back into their proper alignment, then stretch the muscles surrounding the affected areas. This will help to prevent stiff muscles from allowing the vertebra to stay in alignment. It can also reduce pain and secondary effects of neck and back injuries.

MMA training is somewhat painful by its nature, but it doesn't need to be so traumatizing that you cannot function. If chiropractic care can't help with pain and secondary symptoms, it might be time to consider a more user-friendly activity.