Chiropractic is often mistaken as a fix it for back pain and neck pain only. This is not so! Chiropractors learn about many different aspects of health during their education, including ongoing and acute care for performance and injury prevention and treatment. Many Chiropractors specialize and take an active interest in athletes and the overall pursuit of health and fitness. This small article from the ACA (American Chiropractic Association) addresses Chiropractic Care and Sports Injuries.

Do You Play Football?

Bruising tackles and bone-crushing hits are all too familiar among football players at all levels. Too frequently, the physical nature of football results in injuries, ranging from head and spine trauma, to bone fractures, and muscle and ligament damage.

“While athletes can never predict how and when injury will occur, doctors of Chiropractic can assist in treating acute and chronic injuries, as well as introducing preventive measures designed to optimize performance and reduce injury risk,” says Dr. Sol Cogan, Detroit Lions team Chiropractor and president of the Pro Football Chiropractic Society. “Prior to game time, and especially after the game, receiving Chiropractic adjustments can enhance flexibility, range of motion, structural alignment and bio-mechanics, ensuring that the athlete’s body will recover quickly and function at its highest possible level.”

Every NFL team provides the care of a doctor of Chiropractic for its players.

Repeated hits to the body commonly lead to injuries including strains, sprains, and stingers, which may result in severe aches and pains and loss of proper function. Football is one of the few sports where the injuries that occur are traumatic in nature. And they are much more acute. The hits that occur during football cause changes to the position of the spine. Most sports do not do this, and if they do it is over a longer period of time. The impact from hits put more stress on the spine than just about any other activity we could be involved in. It is so important to get regular check-ups and adjustments for anyone but is even more important for anyone especially youths involved in football to make sure they are getting properly re-aligned following football. I almost always recommend that athletes get adjusted after every game to prevent not only injuries but to restore proper function to the body. Many youth are involved in football and are at an age where their bodies are growing and maturing skeletally which makes it even more important to have their spines checked to ensure proper development.

As preventive care specialists, Chiropractors suggest football players of all ages take the following steps to properly prepare for games:

  • Dynamic warm up and stretching before practice and games
  • Wear appropriate equipment while making sure all gear fits properly
  • Maintain good nutrition to achieve necessary energy levels
  • Hydrate to prevent overheating and cramping
  • Rest the body before and after activity, using ice for any inflammation
  • Discuss all of your symptoms with coaches, trainers, and doctors

Taking a preventive approach with a training routine that includes chiropractic care helps athletes recover from injury (or collision induced trauma) by restoring optimal function and reducing the risk of reinjury, and ultimately achieving peak performance on the field.

Do You Play Soccer?

The injuries that I see in my office from playing soccer are very similar to those under the running injury section. Due to the constant running involved in soccer combined with the sudden sprinting that takes place it is important for proper muscle balance. Soccer injuries are usually lower body injuries and include calf strains, ankle sprains, hip pain, and plantar fasciitis.
Calf strains are treated with Chiropractic adjustments to maintain proper lower body function. By adjusting the lower back, the pelvis, knee and ankle I ensure that muscles, especially the calf muscles are in balance. This promotes healing. Many times rest is recommended with strains but if you don’t fix the underlying structural imbalance that caused the strain then you are more likely to re-injure the area. Proper alignment prevents re-injury.

Ankle sprains can also be treated with chiropractic adjustments. There are many bones and different joints in the ankle and foot. When you “twist” your ankle, you are actually spraining the ligaments of the foot. A sprain occurs when a ligament has been stretched too far from being rolled or twisted. Adjusting the bones of the foot restores proper alignment so the sprain can heal quicker and stronger. If the position of the bones in the foot move when the ankle gets twisted, then proper healing cannot occur. This is why many people that sprain their ankle report many repeat injuries or weakness in their ankle after a sprain. They never healed properly because they never had the underlying structure fixed.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the bottom of the foot resulting in pain in the bottom of the foot. Usually this pain will get worse with activity to the point that it usually causes the athlete to stop competing for a period of time.

Plantar fasciitis usually occurs due to a weakness in the arch of the foot. When you lose the strength of the arch the foot “drops” more each time you put weight on the foot. When the foot “drops” more, it causes an increase stress to the plantar fascia which is a large tendon on the bottom of the foot which goes from the bottom of the heal and attaches to each of the bottom of the toes. The pain can be very severe. Adjustments to the foot help to restore the proper arch leading to increased strength in the foot. Proper arch support takes the stress off of the plantar fascia and allows it to heal. Other treatments for plantar fasciitis include taping, stretching, massage therapy, and proper running techniques.

Do You Play Baseball or Softball?

I enjoy treating all types of injuries but if I had to say which are my favorite, my answer would be baseball related injuries. I often tell my patients this and it is true. I have experienced my own set of injuries from playing baseball and I have an indepth knowledge of baseball and understand the mechanism associated with throwing and batting. Baseball related injuries most often involve the shoulder and more specifically the rotator cuff. Elbow injuries, low back pain, and calf injuries-due to the sprinting from base to base and then stopping and sprinting for a ball quickly from a still position, are common as well.

I have had great success treating shoulder injuries with Chiropractic care because rotator cuff injuries are most often caused by a muscle imbalance in the shoulder, neck or back. The muscle imbalance is usually caused by a structural misalignment, subluxation, somewhere else in the neck, shoulder, or spine. Athletes are usually told that it’s a repetitive stress syndrome but it is really caused by repetitive motion that is imbalanced. Your body is actually getting injured slightly with every movement until we finally are in so much pain that we can no longer continue. That’s how we get injured. If are bodies are aligned properly and are muscles are functionally in a balanced pattern properly, then we should be able to perform repetitive motions, like throwing in baseball without injury to the area. This is how I treat rotator cuff strains and sprains in my office. Chiropractic adjustments provide the structural foundation allowing the body to function properly, which leads to muscle balance. With the adjustments I will provide a way to strengthen and stretch the area to avoid the injury from returning. I have seen many patients recover quicker and recover completely under my care. Other therapies I utilize are physiotherapy, massage therapy, and a taping therapy called kinesiotape. Kinesiotape is a tape that is applied to the injured are and provides muscle balance and usually allows the athlete to continue to compete while wearing the tape.

Do You Run?

Running injuries are one of the most common set of injuries that I treat in my office. Running is both great for our bodies and hard for our bodies. I treat runners of all types from the weekend warriors to the hardcore marathon and triathlete competitors. No matter what level you are currently running at, you have most likely experienced some type of injury. As a Chiropractor I treat the injury as well as show patients how to best prevent injuries. Running injuries are treated with Chiropractic adjustments, which help to align the body structurally as well as provide muscular balance. This is key when running due to the constant pounding stress the body is under. As you increase mileage you must maintain proper muscle balance to prevent injury. The most common running injuries are knee pain, usually IT band syndrome, also known as patella tracking disorder. Other injuries I see commonly are foot pain, numbness in the feet or toes, low back pain, shoulder pain, headaches, shin splints and sciatica. All of these injuries are effectively treated utilizing Chiropractic care.

ITB syndrome-Illiotibial band syndrome causes pain on the outside of the knee and gets worse as your mileage or speed increases. The IT band is a very strong band on the outside of your leg and attaches to the knee. If you run and you have muscle imbalance, meaning one side of your body is working harder than the other side, then the IT band on one side is going to be tighter than the other side. This tightness causes a pull on the knee. This increased stress on the knee causes the patella, knee cap, to pull to the side of the tight IT band. The patella is meant to track or glide evenly over the knee joint. When this doesn’t occur it causes inflammation, muscle strains, and pain in the knee. Treatments include chiropractic adjustments to properly align the lower body, massage to help decrease muscle tension, ice, rest, and stretching and exercises.

Do You Play Golf?

With golfers elbow, it’s where the tendons of the forearm meet your boney bit of elbow on the inside of your arm. Very close to what you’d consider your “funny bone”. The area of pain starts from the Medial Epicondyle and extends towards the forearm muscles and the effects the tendons between the two Tendonitis effectively.

Medial Epicondylitis otherwise know as Golfer’s Elbow. It seems that this is different from Tennis Elbow say, in which part of the elbow hurts.
With golfers elbow, it’s where the tendons of the forearm meet your boney bit of elbow on the inside of your arm. Very close to what you’d consider your “funny bone”. The area of pain starts from the Medial Epicondyle and extends towards the forearm muscles and the effects the tendons between the two Tendonitis effectively.

Golfers elbow is one of many symptoms that may occur from the game of golf. Golfers elbow is treated in my office with Chiropractic care which helps to align the bones of the elbow, wrist and shoulder. A complete evaluation and exam is done to determine why you are experiencing the elbow pain. Many times a muscular imbalance somewhere else in the body, and usually in the shoulder leads to an improper swing which causes more stress to the elbow, resulting in pain. Along with Chiropractic adjustments, stretches and strengthening exercise will be given to help prevent the pain and to keep it from coming back. In some cases physiotherapy is needed to decrease inflammation in the elbow and promote healing. In my office we utilize the cold laser treatment.

Other common injuries that I commonly see with golf is, rib pain, shoulder pain, and low back pain. Most of the symptoms result from the twisting stress put on the spine from a golf swing. These injuries are treated successfully at my office.