Sports injuries can occur for a variety of reasons, including insufficient warm-up and stretching, incorrect training, repetitive motion, or a sudden unexpected impact that puts too much force on the body.
While the traditional approach to treatment is to see your primary care doctor to get a diagnosis, an M.D. will likely recommend the Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation (R.I.C.E) method as a first course of treatment, and perhaps refer you to a physical therapist or chiropractor to help you heal and regain mobility. Your medical doctor may also prescribe pain medication.
While physical therapy focuses strictly on regaining mobility, chiropractic treatment looks beyond the injury site itself to determine how both the musculoskeletal system and nervous system can be optimized. Although many people believe chiropractic is only used for neck and back injuries, chiropractic techniques can also be effective for healing joints and muscles.
In short, chiropractors recognize that the spine, joints, and the nervous system are responsible for causing pain, so treatment focuses on a broader approach to optimal body function rather than only narrowing in on the injury location itself.
The goal of the chiropractor for athletes is to not only reduce pain and heal injury, but also cut recovery time, improve range of motion, prevent future injuries, and help the athlete perform better in the future.
How Chiropractic Therapy Can Treat Common Sports Injuries
Chiropractic treatment can help heal a variety of aches, sprains, and more, including auto accident injuries. Here’s a look at how a chiropractor will address the most common sports injuries:
Knee injuries occur most often when the athlete doesn’t warm up correctly, runs too hard, or makes too much of a twisting motion. Certain activities can damage the knee’s support ligaments.
Chiropractic therapy for knee injury will address the misalignment at the knee, hip, and ankle joints. Adjusting the spine and hips helps to move those joints into the correct alignment once again, which reduces joint stress and inflammation, and helps expedite healing.
Tendon, Muscle, and Ligament Injuries
Tendons connect the muscles to your bones. When you tear a tendon or muscle, that’s called a strain. The reason why the tear occurs is that the tendon or muscle is stretched too far. The most common muscle and tendon strains occur in hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, the back, and the groin.
Ligaments connect your bones, and when you tear a ligament, a strain or sprain occurs in the joint. It’s usually an extreme force, such as a fall, which causes a ligament tear. The locations for most common sprains are the ankles and wrists.
Chiropractors will use a number of treatments for strains and sprains, including using manipulations to restore proper alignment and a soft-tissue technique called instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM). IASTM can assess tissue quality in order to better treat areas with scar tissue, or where there’s chronic inflammation.
Other treatments used for strains are heat and cold therapy, massage to improve blood flow and reduce swelling, and electrical stimulation. Chiropractors will use electrodes to send electrical pulses to areas of the nervous system to block pain signals and most endorphin production for natural pain relief.
Shin splints are most common with start-and-stop sports like tennis, basketball, soccer, and jogging. A chiropractor will typically adjust the area that includes the foot, ankle, and calf to increase blood flow.
Dislocation occurs when the bones that form a joint separate - usually due to heavy impact in a contact sport. The shoulder is the most common area of dislocation.
A chiropractor will use a series of movements to put the shoulder joint back in its position, and work to increase ligament strength to prevent future dislocation.
Chiropractic Care Can Prevent Injury and Improve Performance
Chiropractic treatment can also help the athlete who wants to prevent injury and improve performance.
It’s common for athletes to experience pain and stiffness in their joints. Spinal manipulation and other adjustments can improve range of motion, which not only helps to prevent injury, but also aids in better performance. Spinal manipulation can also improve muscle function and strength and can help relieve lower back pain. Plus, chiropractic treatment helps athletes avoid the use of medications, which may interfere with their ability to play at their best.
Sports Injury Chiropractor for Improved Healing and Enhanced Performance
If you participate in sports, a sports chiropractor can help you recover quickly from an injury. But regular sessions can also help prevent future injuries and improve your performance. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to benefit from chiropractic care. Dr. Hunter Owen at First Wellness Family Chiropractic knows that consistent chiropractic care can help keep an athlete’s body functioning in the way it was designed.
Whether you play competitive team sports or you prefer to push yourself in individual sports activities, Dr. Owen can develop a plan to help you stay healthy, avoid injury, and provide the appropriate therapies if an injury does occur.
For more information on how chiropractic can benefit athletes, call us at (512) 361-5788, or contact us online. We look forward to meeting you!