Treating Sports Injuries With Chiropractic Care
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How Can a Chiropractor Help After Sports Injury?
Athletes are generally in peak form and know their bodies well. So when something isn’t working right or is causing them pain, they are quick to seek treatment for it. One type of treatment that athletes at all levels are swearing by is chiropractic.
Often associated with neck and back problems, chiropractic care is suitable for a host of musculoskeletal issues. The primary goal of chiropractic care is to keep body mechanics working as they should. When all the parts of the body are performing their intended functions, there is no pain. It is only when we are injured or out of alignment that we experience pain and reduced function.
Sometimes this pain and loss of function are immediately noticeable. Other times, it can be a gradual progression, particularly if your body tries to compensate for it by working harder or bearing more weight in other areas. This compensation will work for a while, but eventually, aches and pains can develop.
Chiropractic care can relieve this pain by getting the body back into proper alignment and reducing the stress that is being placed on nearby joints and tissues. In the case of sports injuries, results can often be seen quickly since the body is usually in such good condition. Most athletes regain full range of motion and return to their normal level of performance with as little as one or two treatments.
Injuries That Benefit From Chiropractic Care
Any injury that affects the spinal column, neck or joints is a good candidate for chiropractic care. Typical sports injuries that are treated with chiropractic include the following:
- Shoulder injuries, typically strains or sprains. They most often occur in athletes who play baseball, volleyball, golf and other collision or high impact sports.
- Knee injuries. These problems often arise due to repetitive use. Chiropractors commonly see soccer and football players or runners who are experiencing knee pain.
- Low back and hip injuries. These injuries can arise from sports or from gradual wear and tear. Low back and hip pain can arise from repetitive use, commonly running or cycling, but they can also be progressive and develop over time.
Treating Sports Injuries
Many people wonder how long they’ll have to receive chiropractic care to treat a sports-related injury. Unfortunately, there is no average number of treatments to expect based on the injury incurred. It all depends on the seriousness of the injury and the athlete’s response to treatment.
There are generally three categories of chiropractic care for sports injuries:
- Acute care is for pain that has recently developed as a result of a specific injury. Most athletes will receive acute care because they can pinpoint when the injury occurred and quickly realize something is wrong. For athletes, it’s critical for the body to be operating at top form, which makes them seek out treatment immediately before the injury affects their performance or prevents them from playing their sports. Acute care treatment almost always includes icing the area and resting it, along with any chiropractic adjustments, exercises or treatments deemed necessary by the Doctor of Chiropractic.
- Ongoing care is frequently seen in athletes or “weekend warriors” who are trying to maintain peak performance, but aren’t as pressed to get back into action as athletes seeking acute care. These are often maintenance treatments that take place on a semi-regular schedule. They serve to keep the body in proper alignment and ensure that the joints don’t lock up. Ongoing care treatments include adjustments, exercises and other treatments prescribed by the chiropractor.
- New care for old injuries. This is a situation where an old injury that was never treated or wasn’t treated properly flares up years, even decades, later. The chiropractor will want a detailed history of the injury, including how it happened, care received between then and now, what (if anything) has been done to manage it and how much use the area receives now. Only after this history has been taken and an examination performed can the chiropractor develop a treatment plan. The short-term goal in these situations is to relieve the pain as quickly as possible for the patient, but the long-term goal is to correct the problem at its root cause if that can be done. Depending on the injury and its severity, treatment will follow the same patterns as acute and ongoing care: ice, rest, adjustments, exercises, and treatments.
Chiropractic Care Is More Than Pain Management
While pain is generally the driving force behind seeking chiropractic care, pain relief is not the only benefit athletes receive. Proper treatment has been shown to reduce inflammation and speed healing because of the strain removed from the injured area. Besides restoring function to muscles, nerves, joints, and ligaments, patients are able to use the injured part of their body sooner than they could if they did not receive treatment and keep the body moving.
For more information about how chiropractic care can help you recover from sport injuries, please contact our office.