Chiropractic Treatment After a Sports Injury
Being an athlete can be tough on your body. If you compete in sports, you understand the wear that gets put on your body when you constantly engage in activities like running, jumping, or tackling. Putting your body through this can often result in a series of painful sprains, strains, and tears. If you’ve recently experienced a sports-related injury, an experienced chiropractor can help you heal faster. Plus, a quality chiropractor may also be able to help you learn how to prevent sports-related injuries in the future.
Chiropractors treat and teach methods to prevent injuries of the neck, back, shoulder, knee, and ankles. Specifically, chiropractors are experts in the manual adjustment of the spine, ensuring that a patient’s bones are lined up and balanced. A good adjustment helps relieve tension throughout the body. This release of tension allows the body to function better. This means you’re less likely to become injured during sports (or daily activities). Most chiropractic techniques are intended to reduce pain and joint inflammation by restoring full function to a patient’s joints.
What Causes Sports-Related Injuries?
The main reasons athletes obtain sports injuries include forceful impacts, repetitive motions, over-training, or failure to warm up properly. Chiropractors help athletes by relieving their pain to help them heal faster after an injury. Regular visits promote quicker recovery after games and training, as well as better balance and overall performance.
What Does a Chiropractic Visit Look Like?
When you visit our chiropractic office, we’ll start by asking you questions about your health and perform a structural exam of your body, spine, and balance. We’ll also examine your back, limbs, tendons, ligaments, and joints. Using this information, we can determine a personalized treatment plan to address any issues you may have. We’ll also focus on laying the groundwork to prevent future injuries.
The two most common techniques chiropractors use are spinal manipulation and spinal mobilization. Below, we’ll review each of these methods and how they work:
- Spinal manipulation. Your doctor will place you in different positions and perform a manual impulse to an affected joint. This releases pressure in the joint and aligns muscles and joints so they work the way they’re supposed to. In some cases, this can cause an audible crack, called cavitation, due to the release of gas that happens when the joint opens up and motion is restored.
- Spinal mobilization. This is used for patients that require a gentle approach, and is done using tools and stretches to release pressure in joints.
Chiropractors may also incorporate other treatment methods to relieve pain such as ice, heat, or electric stimulation. Be sure to discuss all of your symptoms with your doctor for him or her to consider all treatment options.
What are the Most Common Prevention Techniques
In addition to treating injuries, chiropractors can help prevent them from occurring in the first place. If you’re about to implement a new exercise regime or join a sport, you should consider visiting a chiropractor first. A chiropractor can check your muscles and spine to detect any imbalances or tension. This can reduce current issues like pain and stiffness, while reducing the likelihood of potential injuries.
In regards to sports injuries, chiropractic care is second to none. If you’ve ever had a sports injury, you know the majority are soft tissue-related accidents or body mechanics-related. Chiropractors are the go-to doctors if you are a weekend warrior quarterback or a professional athlete.
Chiropractors believe that effective treatment is not only about pain relief, but also about addressing the underlying causes of the pain. These can often include:
- Muscular imbalances
- Biomechanical deficiencies
- Improper techniques
- Improper conditioning
Common Symptoms of Sports Injuries
When the body becomes injured because of sports or training, symptoms that can occur are:
- Burning, dull pain
- Muscle pain
- Muscle spasms
Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t wise to push through the pain of an injury. Seek medical treatment if you meet any of the following conditions:
- You are experiencing severe pain, swelling, or numbness.
- You can’t put any weight on the affected area.
- You are experiencing increased pain, swelling, and instability in a previously injured area.
Common Types of Sports Injuries
Depending on what type of sport you play, your injuries will likely differ. Common sports-related injuries can include:
- Neck Injuries. Neck injuries, like whiplash, occur when the neck is quickly and forcefully pushed forward and back in a whipping motion. Athletes may want to consider approaching contact sports with more caution due to their higher risk of whiplash. In addition, damage to the spine around the neck region can cause inflammation, which results in pain and a limited range of motion.
- Pinched Nerves. Pinched nerves due to a spinal injury sustained from sporting activities can be painful. Quality chiropractors have significant experience providing adjustment of the spine to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves. This can alleviate pain and allow the body to function better. Unfortunately, many patients suffer from pain for a prolonged period instead of addressing the issue head-on with a qualified chiropractor.
- Sprains and Strains. Sprains can occur when a ligament is stretched too far or torn. Bones are connected by ligaments, so sprains and strains occur in the joints. You’ll typically find that most sprains occur in the wrists and ankles. There may be painful swelling, bruising, or experiences of temporary inability to move the joint. Strains occur when muscles or tendons are torn. A tendon connects your muscles to your bones, and if they’re pulled too far, a strain occurs. The most common strains are found in the back or hamstrings. There may be painful swelling or spasms, and you may experience a temporary inability to move the muscle.
- Knee Injuries. Knee injuries are one of the most frequent problems for athletes. Runners can experience what is known as the runner’s knee, a tenderness felt near the knee cap. You may also experience pain on the sides of your knees and tendinitis. Knees can be more severely injured with bruising to the bone or damage to cartilage and ligaments. Four major ligaments are supporting the knee, and all can be damaged during sports activity. Knee injuries often occur from a lack of warming up, running too hard or too often, and blows or twists at the knee.
- Dislocations. Contact and high-impact sports can cause dislocations, which happen when bones that form a joint become separated. If a joint becomes dislocated, the athlete will feel intense pain, and nerves may also become damaged due to the dislocation. The joint will need to be put back into place, and you may need to wear a sling until the swelling subsides, usually several weeks. Rehabilitation is often recommended if your shoulder is dislocated. This therapy can restore strength and range of motion.
- Fractures. A bone can break or fracture for several reasons, either resulting from a one-time injury or repeated stress over time. If the one-time injury is an acute fracture, it will require an emergency treatment. In contrast, a stress fracture occurs when there is repetitive impact, further worsening whenever the athlete puts weight on the bone.
Fortunately, you can effectively treat many minor sports injuries at home using the RICE method of rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
If you’re experiencing pain from a sports injury, consider seeing a chiropractor. You may want to schedule regular check-ups to prevent injuries from occurring and to keep your body performing properly. Regular chiropractic treatment can reduce the risk of injury and improve your athletic performance.