Sports injuries and chiropractic
The benefits that sports can provide for both body and mind are significant, but unfortunately not without risk. Sport has the inevitable property of pushing the body to the limit. Running, jumping, stretching, tackling… are all very burdensome for the neck, back, shoulders, knees and ankles. According to statistics in Canada, 66% of adolescent injuries are sports-related and are a primary source of injuries in adults. Authorities estimate that about 90% of professional athletes turn to chiropractic care to maintain or improve their performance. Chiropractic care can not only help the healing process in a natural and holistic way, it can also prevent injuries before they can happen. Frequent visits stimulate faster recovery after training or competition periods and promote better performance in the future.
Sport can have a significant impact on your musculoskeletal and neurological systems. In sports you see that musculoskeletal injuries (MSK) are most common. These injuries are usually caused by a traumatic force on a joint in motion, leading to hyperflexion or hyperextension. The most common injuries are:
- Lower back pain
- Neck pain
- Strains and sprains
- Knee injuries
- Tendinopathy (tendon disorder) of the lower extremities (limbs of pelvis – foot)
- Injuries to the so-called ‘rotator cuff’ (collective name for the four muscles in the shoulder that take up a large part of the shoulder stability.
There is sufficient evidence that chiropractic care can help athletes recover from sports injuries without the need for invasive treatment (surgery) or prescribed medication, which is often the first choice of traditional doctors.
The (sports) chiropractor will first ask some questions about your health and medical history before performing a structural examination of the neck, spine, balance and posture. Limbs, tendons, ligaments and joints will also be examined. This information will be used to determine which individualised treatment will be most effective; spinal manipulation is usually opted for.
There are still some techniques that the chiropractor may use. These include the following techniques:
The Active Release technique uses massage and stretching, as well as guiding the affected joints through movement range.
- The Graston technique uses special instruments to loosen subcutaneous adhesive connective tissue.
- Functional ‘dry needling‘, focusing on deep trigger points in order to release tension in the muscles through stimulation.
- Electrical muscle stimulation involves sending light electrical pulses through electrodes that are placed on the affected area of the skin. These cause muscle contractions which stimulate the muscles. There are several forms of muscle stimulation, each with specific results.
Before starting to exercise or exercise, it may be useful to consult a chiropractor as they can provide useful and necessary information to prevent injuries. There are still a number of preventative measures you can take before starting any form of intense sport or exercise activity that could potentially lead to injuries.
- Eat healthily – Malnutrition can lead to pain, inflammation, susceptibility to injury due to a lack of necessary vitamins and minerals. An expert chiropractor can help develop a lifestyle and nutrition plan to optimize your performance.
- Wear the right equipment – Sports equipment that doesn’t fit is often the cause of unfortunate sports injuries. When in doubt, it’s a good idea to get a second opinion about the fit of your equipment.
Drink water – Hydration is the key to top performance. In addition, take into account the fact that dehydrated tissue is more susceptible to injury.
Drink milk – Drinking milk is not only healthy for your bones, but also does wonders for your joints.
Warming up – Stretching is very often overlooked, but is essential in preventing sports injuries. A good warm-up reduces the risk of muscle tears and lowers the overall stiffness after a match.
Plenty of rest – Sleep gives your body time to regenerate both mentally and physically. Enough sleep is crucial for optimal performance.
Take proven vitamin supplements – Taking a scientifically proven multivitamin or vitamin C supplement can have benefits. Avoid ‘trendy’ and untried supplements that have not been extensively researched and may have dangerous side effects.
Chiropractors are trained to assess, diagnose and treat sports injuries as part of their comprehensive training. By integrating your medical history and a physical examination, chiropractors can determine the cause of pain and dysfunction and then determine an appropriate solution. Finding a (sports injury) chiropractor should be an important part of your general sports regiment.