If you’re an athlete, it’s inevitable: you will experience some kind of injury. Whether it’s a minor sprain or something more serious like a torn ligament, the question is how you deal with it. That’s where chiropractic care comes in!
Let’s explore common sports injuries and the ways that chiropractic treatments can help:
Sprains and strains are common sports injuries involving the overstretching or tearing of ligaments and/or muscles. Many people who sprain an ankle will experience swelling, pain, bruising, and limited range of motion; heavier athletes often feel popping or snapping sensations when an ankle is sprained. Depending on the severity, a sprained ankle may require several treatment methods for a full recovery.
Chiropractic care is an effective treatment option for sports-related injuries such as sprained or strained ankles. Through physical therapies such as massage and stretching, chiropractic care helps to alleviate pain while restoring function and range of motion to the affected area. Reputable chiropractors use spinal adjustments to reduce inflammation in order to allow healing processes to occur at a faster rate. Complementary treatments like therapeutic exercises also promote quicker healing while improving joint stability and balance. With each passing session, patients generally find their pain gradually subsiding until they are able to return safely to their normal daily activities or preferred sports activities without fear of re-injury.
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is an overuse injury that affects the tendons in the elbow and forearm, causing inflammation, swelling and pain. This type of injury results from repeated, forceful motions such as those used in sports like tennis or racquetball. Chiropractic treatment can be a successful method for treating tennis elbow.
Chiropractors use a range of techniques to treat this condition, including
- manual adjustments
- ultrasound therapy
- soft tissue mobilization
Manual adjustments aim to restore normal joint movement by releasing pressure on the affected muscles and ligaments. Ultrasound therapy provides heat to reduce inflammation and stimulate healing in the tendon, while soft tissue mobilization helps break down scar tissue and promotes circulation.
Other non-surgical treatments for managing tennis elbow include:
- Use of ice or heat packs at home
- Taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen
- Using bracing devices like an elbow brace
- Participating in physical therapy exercises to strengthen muscles and improve range of motion
- Changing technique when playing sports
- Stretching muscle groups around the elbow before and after playing sports
- Regularly take breaks from strenuous activities
- Avoiding activities that cause pain, such as gripping objects too tightly or lifting heavy weights with your arm outstretched
With proper chiropractic care tailored specifically to your needs, most cases of tennis elbow can be successfully managed without surgery.
A groin pull, also known as a groin strain, is a very common sports injury affecting individuals who participate in sports that require a great deal of running or explosivity. It is usually caused by suddenly stretching the muscles and tendons located in the inner thigh. Symptoms associated with a groin pull include sharp pain in the inner thigh area when bending the hip or while raising your knee against resistance.
Chiropractic treatments for groin pulls can be very effective depending on how severe the strain is. Medicare recommends applying hot and cold compresses to reduce swelling and inflammation, which can be followed up with light stretching exercises once the pain has subsided. As well as spinal manipulation to improve the mobility of certain joints, massage therapy is often recommended to help relax tight muscles in the hip area. Additionally, trigger point therapy can be used to relieve any knots found within the strained muscle fibers of this region. Lastly, your chiropractor may prescribe home exercises or suggest wearing supportive gear such as a wrap or brace to aid recovery from this injury.
Knee injuries are among the most prevalent sports-related injuries, and can range from minor sprains to intense ligament tears. While some of these injuries may require rest or physical therapy, noninvasive options such as chiropractic care may be able to offer relief from pain and promote recovery.
Chiropractors use a variety of techniques to treat knee pain, including joint mobilizations and manipulation. This form of alternative medicine is designed to realign the bones in the knees, correct misalignment, reduce tension as well as improve flexibility and strength. It can also be used on all types of knee injuries including meniscus tears, ligament sprains/strains, arthritis pain, and patella tracking issues.
Chiropractic adjustments can help the tissues around the knee heal faster and result in improved joint movement overall.
Along with manual techniques, soft tissue therapy is also often used by chiropractors to treat an array of knee problems. Soft tissue therapies involve releasing tight connective tissue (fascia) around muscles that can lead to inflammation/swelling or discomfort/pain when it’s overly tense/restricted due to overuse or injury. Trigger point injection therapy can also be employed for cyclical pain coming from inside the muscle that originates from nerve interference such as sciatica or radiculopathy (pinched nerves).
Specially designed osteopathic exercise programs are also utilized by some chiropractors for individuals who have chronic knee pain due to osteoarthritis for example. These low-impact stretching and strengthening exercises focus on restoring mobility while easing pressure off joints affected by degenerative conditions and reinstating balance within one’s body systems better allowing them to stay healthy while improving function at their sport or activity level naturally with the adjustment protocols combined with functional strength conditioning methods in mind (reducing the risk of re-injury).
A hamstring strain is a tear or injury to any of the three muscles in the back of the thigh. These muscles are involved in activities such as running, jumping, and kicking and can be easily strained during sports or other physical activities. There are several different types of hamstring strains including acute, chronic, and delayed-onset injuries.
The symptoms of a hamstring strain can be anything from a mild ache to severe pain with swelling, redness, and bruising present in more severe cases. Treatment for this type of injury usually requires rest, icing, and gentle stretching exercises along with chiropractic adjustments to help restore range of motion. Massage therapy may also be used to reduce tissue inflammation and release tightness allowing for faster healing time.
The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the body and is prone to injury. Common shoulder injuries include rotator cuff strains, rotator cuff tears, labral tears, impingement, frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis), SLAP lesions, and dislocation.
Chiropractic treatment can help reduce pain, increase the range of motion and improve activity levels with shoulder injuries. Treatment commonly includes joint mobilization of the shoulder complex as well as surrounding areas such as the thoracic spine and ribs, active release techniques to target specific soft tissue tightness or knots, and postural correction, or taping techniques. Rehabilitative exercises prescribed by a chiropractor may also help strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint and promote proper healing.
Fractures are a common injury among athletes and can range from minor stress fractures that heal quickly with rest and limited movement, to complex fractures that require extensive surgery and extensive recovery time.
Treatment for fractures typically includes immobilization of the affected area with a brace or cast, followed by exercises to gradually regain strength and flexibility. Physical therapy, pain management, and in some cases surgery may be necessary.
Chiropractic treatment can help reduce swelling around the fracture and improve mobility in the joints surrounding the fracture, allowing for quicker healing. In these cases, chiropractors may employ light manual manipulation techniques to restore proper movement patterns of the affected joints while also providing appropriate precautions to ensure that proper healing takes place. In addition, chiropractic treatments such as electrical stimulation therapy and massage therapy may be used to reduce pain or promote tissue healing around a fractured bone or joint.
Back injuries can be particularly painful and limiting. It is important to take the appropriate steps to limit your risk of injury and to receive prompt treatment when issues arise. Common sports injuries that affect the back are strains and sprains, disc injuries, vertebral fractures, and spinal joint dysfunction.
A strain or sprain is caused by overly stretching or tearing of tendons or ligaments in the back, commonly caused by repetitive movements or an awkward fall or twist during a sports activity. Disc pathologies occur when there is a tear in the outer walls of the support structure of the spine leading to herniation or displacement of vertebral discs. Vertebral fractures occur due to a direct blow, usually from repetitive contact with a hard surface such as concrete while participating in extreme sports, while spinal joint dysfunctions result from poor posture over time compounded by muscle imbalances due to physical activity.
Chiropractic care offers both preventative solutions through posture correction exercises as well as manual treatment and therapeutic exercise approaches that can help restore healthy movement patterns and reduce pain levels associated with many common sports injury types. For more information on how chiropractic care can help manage your discomfort related to these injuries, please contact an experienced chiropractor today.
When it comes to treating sports-related injuries, chiropractic care should be part of the equation. Chiropractors are able to evaluate and assess the condition, match the patient with an appropriate treatment method, monitor progress, and help regenerate muscle tissue so that athletes can perform at an optimal level.
In addition to providing relief for acute injuries and chronic pain, chiropractic treatments can lead to better overall performance on the field or court. With a variety of therapies available, chiropractic has something for every type of athlete. Keep in mind that proper shop mechanics and frequent stretching between workouts can help avoid future injuries as well as help current ones heal faster.