A sports chiropractor is a specialist who specializes in the treatment of athletes who injure their muscles or ligaments during physical activities. Sports Chiropractic is one of the fastest growing fields in sports medicine and Chiropractors are now employed by individual, associations, sports teams, professional sports teams, colleges and universities and more. Chiropractors work with athletes to prevent injuries, manage injuries and perform specific therapeutic services such as spinal manipulation.
An athletic person may have an initial injury that is treated with a conservative treatment plan. This plan is usually maintenance therapy that involves anti-inflammatories and over the counter pain relievers to control pain and inflammation. Often the treatment will progress to conservative management until the patient is able to withstand further stress and is able to withstand a higher level of treatment. If the injured person is unable to complete their rehab before the next sporting season begins they may need to withdraw from sports indefinitely and not be allowed to participate. For this reason it is important to first seek out a sports chiropractor to evaluate your condition and to develop a rehabilitation plan to address your injury. There are several different ways to evaluate your condition and the ability to recover:
* During your first consultation with a sports chiropractor you should ask about the types of evaluations that are commonly used and which are most effective for your particular injury. An evaluation that includes x-rays, lab tests, clinical findings and a referral to a specialized orthopedic physician is common. The purpose of this evaluation is to gather as much information about your injury as possible and to help the sports chiropractor develop a treatment plan specifically tailored to your injury. This step is important and is critical to developing a treatment plan that will be effective and beneficial. You should consider seeing a sports chiropractor the first time you are experiencing discomfort or pain in any part of your body.
* The next step is to discuss treatment options with your primary care doctor. Your medical professional may recommend that you see a traditional chiropractor or he may refer you to a sports chiropractor. The goal of the sports chiropractor is to relieve pain and encourage healing by realigning your spine and soft tissues. Traditional chiropractors perform spinal manipulation to reduce pain, and some perform spinal realignment to restore range of motion.
* It is also important to discuss with your primary care doctor the benefits and risks of sports chiropractic sports therapy. As with any medical treatments, there can be the risk of injury if the chiropractic sports therapy is not performed properly. Your doctor should also be able to inform you whether or not there are other, more natural options available for pain relief and the restoration of full functions that are available to an athlete who is suffering from chronic pain.
* If you are suffering from a sports-related injury and have had some level of rehabilitation, you may want to think about whether a chiropractic sports workout would be a good option. These types of injuries are often not severe enough to require reconstructive surgery, but the lack of muscle strength can limit the amount of athletic movement possible. By strengthening the muscles and soft tissue around the injured area, athletes will increase their ability to resist injury. There are some cases where chiropractors perform exercises or stretches to encourage complete healing, and there are other methods of rehabilitation which can be recommended by your treating physician.
* An additional consideration for an athlete who is trying to manage their pain with a conservative method is to ask how a sports Chiropractic clinic might help. There are many sports chiropractors who do not utilize the use of medications or invasive procedures. This kind of conservative approach allows patients to return to sporting activities, while taking the chance that the underlying cause of their chronic pain is non-invasive and reversible. Your treating physician can recommend a practitioner who practices the art of physical therapy. These professionals can use their experience and knowledge to rehabilitate your condition, while treating the cause of your problem.
Chiropractic care does not cure, address or treat any condition. You should consult with your doctor first before making the decision to undergo any type of conservative care with a sports chiropractor. Remember to ask about the types of medications or invasive techniques which may be used, and be sure you understand the extent of their training, how they will treat your injury and what will be your final outcome after treatment. Be sure to also ask about the track record of your prospective sports chiropractor, and if they are board certified. Chiropractic care should be done with the utmost care, respect and confidentiality.