Sports chiropractic (or chiropractic sports medicine) is a relatively new subspecialty in the field of chiropractic healing. As chiropractic care becomes more mainstream, more practitioners are starting to specialize in a variety of healing methods. Sports chiropractors specialize in the care of musculoskeletal injuries, including prevention. This branch of chiropractic expertise is an excellent resource for athletes. Whether you need a little advice on performance issues or treatment for a sports-related injury, any type of athlete will find that a sports chiropractor is an important part of keeping their body in peak condition.
Sports chiropractic (or chiropractic sports medicine) is a relatively new subspecialty in the field of chiropractic healing. As chiropractic care becomes more mainstream, more practitioners are starting to specialize in a variety of healing methods. Sports chiropractors specialize in the care of musculoskeletal injuries, including prevention. This branch of chiropractic expertise is an excellent resource for athletes. Whether you need a little advice on performance issues or treatment for a sport-related injury, any type of athlete will find that a sports chiropractor is an important part of keeping their body in peak condition.
Chiropractic care has been around for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until 1980 that the first chiropractor was added to the United States Olympic medical team. Since then, spinal adjustments have become an important part of many sports medical teams. Athletes from every walk of life are starting to realize the long-term benefits of chiropractic care.
Sports chiropractors take a multidisciplinary approach to treat their patients. They also have extensive knowledge of sports and sports-related injuries. This means that they’re uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat an athlete’s body without the use of drugs or invasive surgical procedures. Because chiropractic medicine is defined by its “hands-on” approach to healing and the belief in caring for the entire body, it’s becoming an increasingly popular way to stay in the game without relying on drugs or surgeries.
Sports chiropractic is a highly specialized field that typically focuses on professional or aspiring athletes. If you don’t spend a good portion of your life participating in a sport, you probably don’t require that level of specialized care. Your local chiropractic team is trained in the same type of spinal manipulation and pain relief techniques as a sports chiropractor and can perform the same techniques as a specialist. They’re also able to offer a more general approach to your overall health.
So how can Sports Chiropractic care directly benefit athletes? Here are six reasons athletes of any age should make an appointment today.
1. Chiropractic treatment leads to an improved range of motion.
One of the biggest benefits of regular chiropractic treatments is improved range of motion. Athletes put a lot of pressure on their bodies every time they train, and physically intense activities can create problems with spinal alignment and movement. An athlete can easily end up with stiffness and pain in their joints. This may cause their range of motion to be limited, thereby inhibiting their overall athletic performance. Receiving the appropriate chiropractic care can help undo the damage and prevent injuries before they occur, all while promoting movement that’s pain-free.
2. Chiropractic treatment gives athletes a shortened healing time.
Even when injuries can’t be prevented, chiropractic care can help to shorten healing time for a variety of ailments. For example, neck and head injuries can lead to headaches that originate from a patient’s neck. By adjusting an athlete’s neck, a chiropractor can provide relief from these troublesome and often debilitating headaches. Shoulder manipulation can be added to rehabilitation protocols to reduce pain and improve outcomes amongst athletes with shoulder injuries. Even ankle sprains can heal more efficiently with the help of adjustments that reduce pain, improve function, and increase motion.
3. Receiving chiropractic treatment allows for reduced pain.
Active people, even the strongest athletes, can suffer from back pain, particularly in the lower back. A chiropractor knows exactly how to work with a sensitive spine to promote proper alignment and movement. Therefore, in addition to restoring function, chiropractors can recommend treatments that will reduce all types of back pain both in the short-term and for the long run.
A growing amount of research confirms spinal manipulation as an effective form of pain relief. An April 2017 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that spinal manipulation was associated with statistically significant improvements in both pain and function with no major adverse side effects.
4. Fewer prescription drugs are needed for athletes who receive chiropractic treatment.
While aches can be, and often are, treated with pain medications, cortisone shots, and other drugs that provide short-term relief, chiropractic care gives athletes a drug-free alternative that can reduce, or even eliminate, their pain. This also means that athletes won’t be subjected to the side effects or dependencies that commonly arise from the use of prescription medication.
In fact, the widespread dependency on opioids in the United States has prompted the American College of Physicians to update their guidelines regarding low back pain—one of the most common reasons doctors prescribe opioids. The group now suggests those with low back pain using various complementary and alternative medicine techniques including spinal manipulation before resorting to prescription medication.
5. Chiropractic treatment provides a non-invasive treatment option.
Chiropractic care is non-invasive, and it can provide relief from injuries throughout the body, not just neck and back injuries. It may even serve as a viable alternative to invasive procedures such as surgeries that would keep athletes sidelined during a long recovery period. Treatment methods, such as electrical muscle stimulation, functional dry needling, the Graston Technique, and the Active Release Technique, can be used to care for athletes suffering from a variety of injuries.
6. Chiropractic treatment increases strength and range of motion
A chiropractor uses spinal adjustments to realign the bones and joints in order to restore mobility, reduce pain, and improve flexibility, strength, coordination, and balance. Chiropractic adjustments can be performed manually, or other techniques may be used to increase circulation and improve function, such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation or trigger point therapy. There are also many exercises that your chiropractor may recommend that will assist in increasing strength and flexibility. The idea with homework exercises is to maintain and build upon the gains from your chiropractic adjustments.
Ultimately, if you’re an athlete who wants to maintain your physical strength and range of motion, or if you want to recover from an injury without the use of prescriptions and invasive treatments, you may want to consider seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis. You may be surprised by how much better you feel and how much your performance improves when your body is in alignment and pain-free!