If you played sports growing up, did you ever get hurt? What did you do to resolve the pain? When an individual has a traumatic sports injury, it may involve casting, rehabilitation, the RICE protocol, and stretching. Do these therapeutic modalities include a nervous system repair? No, they do not. In this week’s blog, we are going to analyze the importance of chiropractic care for athletes and discuss what we can do to help.
What Are Some Common Sports Injuries?
Any sport that involves voluntary movement and/or impact on the body can result in injury. Some of the most common sports injuries include sprains, strains, concussion, fractures, rotator cuff tears, labral tears, meniscus tears, ACL injuries, bursitis, and tendinitis.
Rotator cuff tears, labral tears, meniscus tears, ACL injuries, and fractures may require surgical intervention if an injury is severe. Sprains, strains, bursitis, and tendinitis usually are managed with physical therapy, the RICE protocol, stretching, and bracing. Concussions are on a whole different level and need to be discussed on a separate blog.
Why is Chiropractic Care Important for Athletes?
Although different therapeutic modalities help injured athletes return to the game, is there something in their treatment plan that was missing? Whether an injury was managed by a medical doctor, physical therapist, or both, they are not treating for nerve interference.
When an athlete has a mild or severe injury, nerve interference undoubtedly will occur. Regardless of whether an injury occurs in the spine or an extremity, the nervous system is still impacted. Think of a cellphone tower. When driving through a mountain range, cellphone reception declines or is lost. When you move to higher ground, your cell service improves. Think of the nervous system the same way. If you experience a shoulder injury, the nerves associated with the shoulder travel to the cervical spine and up the spinal cord to the brain. If you experience a knee injury, the nerves associated with the knee travel to the lumbar spine and up the spinal cord to the brain.
So, why is chiropractic care important for athletes? There are two reasons. The first reason is that chiropractic removes nerve interference and enhances the nervous system so it can work at optimal levels. The second reason is that a healthy nervous system improves sport performance.
How can sport performance be enhanced with chiropractic care? Earlier in the year, we had a blog discussion on treatment plans and the importance of them. To learn more about treatment plans, look back on our previous blogs posted on our website.
When an athlete is injured, the individual starts at the bottom of the pyramid just like any other patient would. As the athlete’s health improves, the athlete moves up the pyramid until reaching the peak. Once they’re at the peak of the pyramid, they are in the maintenance phase of care.
If you recall, maintenance care begins when a patient has completed the recommended treatment plan and wants to continue being seen periodically so that the nervous system can work at optimal levels.
It’s like getting the oil changed in your car regularly. Without oil, the car won’t function properly. Think of the body as the car and the treatment as the oil. The treatment allows the body to continue to function properly and allows patient health to stay at optimal levels.
Not only do athletes want to avoid subsequent injuries, but they also want to perform at the same level that they did pre-injury, if not better. Athletes who receive adjustments regularly are loose, relaxed, and alert. Getting adjusted regularly also reduces the likelihood of repeat injuries because the nervous system is readily alert for forceful impact.
What Can We Do to Help?
Did you know that all the professional sports organizations such as NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and PGA maintain chiropractors on staff? That is because these organizations know the importance of chiropractic care and what it can do to enhance sport performance. At our facility, we happily accept and encourage athletes to be seen regularly. We see athletes at all levels of athletic performance.
Just like every new patient that walks into our doors, an athlete examination requires x-rays in the region of complaint and performance of a neurological, orthopedic examination. After the examination has been evaluated, the doctors will review examination results with the athlete. They will present a recommended treatment plan tailored to the athlete’s needs and goals so they can return to their athletic activity.
For more information or questions about treating athletes, please call us at (724) 547-3377 and checkout our website at www.drlarrywilkinsspinalcare.com for more content.
Yours In Health,
Larry E. Wilkins, DC
Brian M. Steinert, DC