Dr. Bonnie Verhunce
Chiropractic Care and Athletics: What's the Connection?
Chiropractic physicians are experts in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of health conditions that affect the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. They also have unique insight into the factors that can help prevent injury, speed recovery and improve biomechanical efficiency. So it's not surprising that chiropractic care has become closely associated with sports medicine over the past few decades. Its non-invasive, drug-free approach has made it a natural choice for athletes recovering from sports-related injuries as well as those interested in preventing them from happening in the first place.
But in more recent years, the role of chiropractic care in the treatment of athletes has expanded considerably, to the point that many chiropractic physicians now specialize in sports medicine. In the US, an advanced certification of CCSP (Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician) is becoming more common. Its practitioners focus not only on helping their patients prevent and recover from sports-related injuries, but also on helping them to improve their overall athletic performance.
With all these goals in mind, chiropractic care is now used by many amateur and professional sports teams. All 32 NFL teams and nearly every MLB and NBA team have official team chiropractors. At the Olympic Games, chiropractic is now offered to all participants as a matter of course, and the medical staff for the games now includes 8-10 full time Doctors of Chiropractic. Why is chiropractic care being used by so many athletes?
There are many reasons for the growing popularity of chiropractic care among athletes. But it really comes down to the fact that chiropractic helps athletes reduce the risk of injury, shorten recovery times and perform at their best-without introducing new risks to competitors' health. Doctors of Chiropractic are experts in diagnosing and treating health conditions related to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. The same core skills that allow a chiropractor to evaluate spinal health and identify structural and biomechanical problems that may be causing pain and dysfunction in ordinary patients become even more valuable when working with performance-minded athletes and their trainers.
One of the areas where chiropractors can be particularly useful to athletes is in analyzing the efficiency of their movement. Running is a great example. Gait analysis-a combination of specialized techniques and technologies-is used to study an athlete's running mechanics and identify specific ways to improve them. Another great example is swing mechanics as they apply to sports like golf and tennis. 40% of tennis players suffer from "tennis elbow" at some point in their lives. This condition, when treated by medical doctors, often requires 6 to 48 months to recover from entirely. But when treated by chiropractors, recovery time is often measured in weeks. But just as important, chiropractors have the training necessary to analyze the player's swing and figure out what caused the tennis elbow in the first place, thus helping them to avoid a recurrence. There are also performance benefits associated with a technique called Kinesio Taping, which is used by some chiropractors to give physical support to muscles as they flex, allowing the muscles to work more efficiently.
So if you are an athlete-whether professional or amateur-there are many ways that a chiropractor can help you play your sport with fewer injuries, less down-time and more confidence in your own performance.
Call or visit our office to learn more! We'll be happy to discuss your goals with you and describe our holistic approach to sports medicine.
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