Musician finger speed and reaction times.

How quickly do your fingers respond when your brain says go? How precisely are your fingers picking? Reaction times and precision are often chalked up to “muscle memory,” but in fact the muscles have no memory without your brain and it’s control. Your reaction time depends on how efficiently your brain and nervous system are working.

Researchers have now published a number of studies that have shown that chiropractic care can actually make a difference to your reaction time. Research has been conducted on the reaction times of the elderly and stepping to gain balance as well as on students and keyboard reaction times. Both studies showed significant improvements in reaction times among participants, and the faster times could mean greater productivity as well as less chance of falling when caught off balance.

Another study documented an improvement in elite soldiers and their ability to tap control screens with faster reaction times after chiropractic care.

Legendary guitarist, Tommy Emmanuel with Dr. Lou.

Legendary guitarist, Tommy Emmanuel with Dr. Lou.

So what does this mean for musicians?

Whether you are a pianist, guitarist, drummer, or bass player, your reaction times, speed, and precision may improve with chiropractic care. You need not have pain to receive the benefits of better brain body connectivity. You may not know how fast you can play until you realize how slow you have been playing. For many athletes who use chiropractic for performance optimization, they are often astounded at how much better they compete and train once they’ve received chiropractic care. In the presence of better brain body connectivity, your practice will have greater value, your speed drills will make you even faster. You may get better results out all of your effort that goes into improving your playing. This is true for amateurs and professionals alike.

Nerves are like the strings of an instrument.

If you over tighten, under tighten, twist or compress a string of a guitar, violin, or piano improperly, you will be out of tune or just sound bad. Nerves are the same. Compress, tighten or loosen them too much and they are out of tune. If your spine, arthritis, inflammation, or other causes lead to nerve irritation, the messages from your brain will be out of tune when they reach your fingers. The same is true with messages from your hands to your brain. This irritation has been shown to reduce reaction times and performance in general. You are missing out on your full potential as a musician if your nerves are painlessly being irritated and compromised. Remember, some nerve fibers don’t feel pain, they only control body parts. They can be dysfunctional without you feeling it. For this reason, diagnostic tools that measure nerve control should be used to determine dysfunction in the absence of pain. These tests are readily available at chiropractic offices concerned with quantifying nerve control problems.

Dr. Lou Jacobs is a chiropractor – acupuncturist in Portland, Maine who has been specializing in musician injuries and crew injuries for 20 years. Dr. Lou is available for telemedicine consultations for music-related injuries and health problems. Among those he has permission to mention, Dr. Lou has worked with Mumford & Sons, The Pixies, Steve Vai, Tommy Emmanuel, Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, Blackberry Smoke, Gogol Bordello, Trey Anastasio, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. PHOTOS

Dr. Lou with Steve Vai

         Dr. Lou with Steve Vai.