Chiropractic and sports is not a new combination. In fact, chiropractors have been helping athletes maintain their performance level for some time! Many well known athletes and sports teams use a chiropractor to deal with injuries (both acute and chronic), prevent potential injuries, and to ensure optimal performance. Chiropractic care increases the functionality of the individual. If the articulations of the body are properly functioning, there is a greater range of motion and movement of the joints, muscles, and body as a whole.
There are three categories of injuries chiropractors typically see in sports. Traumatic injuries, recurring old injuries and the injuries that result from overuse. Treatment may consist of chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue work, ultrasound, low intensity laser and nutritional supplementation. Adjunct treatments may include massage therapy, acupuncture, ice, rest and epsom salt baths. The length of treatment time depends on several variables such as the severity of injury, the age and health of the athlete, and the time it took to begin treatment.
Sports that are asymmetrical in movement, such as golf and tennis, place extra strain on the human frame. Athletes who don't develop balanced strength and flexibility are particularly vulnerable to injury. Balanced muscle strength and flexibility from side to side and front to back, along with core strength, are essential for injury prevention. When you are able to attain this with the help of resistance training, flexibility and balance exercises, you not only help prevent injury, you also improve your performance. Don't forget the importance of hydration and good nutrition! You can essentially turn-back the time clock and slow it down.
If one has structural changes such as arthritis in certain joints of the body, chiropractic can play a large role in creating and enhancing pain-free movement. The chiropractor will educate you on movements that are good and bad for your specific problem areas.
Additionally, it is necessary to examine trends within particular sports; to identify which areas of the body are most at risk, and to tailor physical activity so as to prevent injury. Athlete education is essential for injury prevention. An educated athlete knows that the sooner an injury is attended to, the quicker the recovery and the less the likelihood of it developing into a chronic problem.
Before becoming governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, served as the chairman of the Presidents Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. He felt that the world of fitness and the world of chiropractic are a perfect team. He and many other athletes including Lance Armstrong, Barry Bonds and many professional and amateur athletes and teams regularly benefit from chiropractic care.
I myself have worked as a chiropractor at many sporting events including the 1999 Pan Am Games. The approach to athletic care was truly ideal. All of the doctors (medical and chiropractic), athletic therapists, massage therapists and physiotherapists worked together in an integrative manner.
Being an athlete and enjoying the many sports this area has to offer, is one of the joys in life. Missing out on these activities due to injury, or not enjoying them due to nagging pain is a great loss. Not all problems can be cured but many can be managed. Some of the new techniques and technologies now available have advanced the ability to treat injuries. Deal with injuries intelligently and get on with the fun stuff.
Dr. Ron Green
Craigleith Wellness Centre