Chances are you’ve heard of a chiropractor, even if you have never seen one. But if you’re an amateur or professional athlete— or simply want to avoid getting hurt during your workouts, you’ll want to read on.
Sports chiropractors aren’t simply adept at treating injuries to muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments. They’re also excellent for helping athletes prevent injuries while making the most of their bodies. The safe, full-body approach of sports chiropractors yields some benefits that may surprise you. Read on to discover 9 benefits of seeing a sports chiropractor.
What Type Of Sports Injuries Are Treated by a Chiropractor?
There are many kinds of sports injuries that a chiropractor can help with. Here are a few:
- Tennis Elbow
- Herniated Discs
- Muscle Tears
- Joint Misalignments
- Shin Splints
- Knee Injuries
- Shoulder Injuries
- Overuse Injuries
- Pulled Muscles
- Achilles Tendon Injuries
- And Many More . . .
Which Sports Can a Chiropractor Help With?
Sports chiropractors don’t generally specialize in one specific sport, although it is common for professional and collegiate sports teams to have chiropractors on staff. Since chiropractors are well-versed in the function of the body’s joints and muscles, they can help with injuries from any sport. Chiropractors can help with tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, runner’s knee, and sports hernias, to name a few.
Whether it’s an injury from running, rowing, golf, football, soccer, or lifting weights, a sports chiropractor can help. Both amateur and professional athletes seek chiropractic help for sports injuries and injury prevention.
Benefits of Seeing a Sports Chiropractor
Now that we’ve covered common sports injuries and how chiropractors help prevent
1. Sports Chiropractors Help Prevent Injuries
Anyone who has played sports for any more than a season knows that injuries are part of the game. Whether the sport is full-contact like football or no-contact like golf or running, an injury is bound to happen sooner or later.
But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do your best to try and prevent injury. This is where sports chiropractors can help. One of their biggest benefits for athletes is their full-body approach. They’re familiar with the common movements used in various sports, and how those repeated movements affect the body.
Visiting a sports chiropractor can help you prevent injury by assessing your body and spotting weakened areas you may not be aware of. Then your doctor of chiropractic can recommend ways to strengthen that area. He or she can also help to fix any other imbalances or misalignments in the back, neck, shoulders, knees, and other joints.
2. Reduce Pain Naturally
Athletic performance is more than just the movement of muscles and limbs. It also requires mental clarity and focus. But when you’re in pain, it can be difficult to focus and perform at your best. Playing through some amount of pain might be necessary, but when the pain starts to affect your athletic performance, it’s time to seek help.
Unfortunately, many physicians’ answer to painful injuries is painkillers. But, as recent years have shown us, painkillers can sometimes be worse than the injury causing the pain.
This is why chiropractic care for sports injuries is so great. It’s all about natural and effective pain reduction techniques. You don’t have to worry about painkillers clouding your mind or slowing your body down. Plus, when chiropractors treat the cause of the pain instead of the pain itself, you’ll find that you can get back in the game quickly without having to fight through a painful injury.
3. Safe and Natural Full-Body Treatments
Chiropractors specialize in the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. This, by definition, means that they are trained to look at the entire body as a whole. And in so doing, they can see things other general practitioners can’t. Chiropractors know that when one part of the body is injured or misaligned, it will undoubtedly affect other parts of the body.
In this way, seeing a sports chiropractor is kind of like seeing an athletic trainer, a physical therapist, and a chiropractor all in one. Their natural, full-body approach is considered very safe, with few serious adverse events. The most common adverse events associated with chiropractic care involve patients reporting feeling strange after a chiropractic adjustment. This is fairly normal and often doesn’t last more than 24 hours.
When you see a sports chiropractor, you can expect to get thorough, effective, and safe treatments.
4. Improve Range of Motion
Many athletes experience a limiting of their range of motion throughout their athletic careers. Sometimes this is due to an overuse injury, and sometimes it’s simply a result of changes in the body that don’t cause pain at all.
Luckily, chiropractic care can help to improve range of motion, which can help any kind of athlete perform optimally. One study showed that instrument-assisted mobilization techniques often used by chiropractors resulted in improved shoulder range of motion for baseball players. This is just one example of the benefits of conservative chiropractic treatment to increase range of motion.
5. Reduce Recovery Time
Many amateur athletes who aren’t aware of sports chiropractic care may think that their only option for some injuries is surgery. The problem with surgery is that it generally takes a significant chunk of time to recover.
But for some injuries, chiropractic care may be the better, faster option. It can be tempting to take the surgical option when you hear the success percentages and the expected recovery time, but since there are inherent risks for any surgery, conservative treatment is usually a better option.
Some chiropractic patients find that they experience relief after only a few sessions. This doesn’t mean that they can return to their sport right away, but it does mean that recovery can be faster than that of surgery.
6. Benefits Both Mind and Body
Since sports chiropractors deal mainly with the body, you may be surprised to find that many patients report improvements in mood, sleep, and outlook during the course of chiropractic care. In fact, stress reduction following chiropractic manipulation has been shown by measuring the hormone activity in patients. Positive hormones that help combat pain-related stress are released, as well as other beneficial hormones.
Another study showed a 25% decrease in muscle activity after spinal manipulation, meaning that chiropractic care can help muscles relax and recover, which is important for all athletes. Plus, sports chiropractors offer sports massage, which can help promote relaxation, help recovery, and improve mood.
7. They Specialize in Common Overuse Injuries
Many injuries athletes suffer are overuse injuries. Shoulders, knees, and elbows are all common areas susceptible to overuse injuries. Luckily, chiropractors can help with the recovery and prevention of these types of injuries.
Chiropractors and physical therapists often work together to correct the issue and then strengthen the muscles so you can prevent the injury from happening again. They’ll often assign stretches and exercises to strengthen and stretch the affected muscles and tendons, in addition to spinal adjustments, massage therapy, and other treatments.
8. They Coordinate with Other Medical Professionals
Chiropractors are happy to work with other medical professionals for the benefit of their patients. Many sports teams have chiropractors on staff, as well as physical therapists, athletic trainers, and physicians. But even if your team doesn’t have designated medical staff, your chiropractor will still work with other medical professionals.
Like other doctors, chiropractors must meet certain educational requirements. They are part of the medical community and are always happy to refer their patients to others for injuries or issues that fall outside of their treatment practices. This ensures that all their patients get the treatment they need to get back to work or play.
9. May Improve Performance
Improved athletic performance is hard to quantify as a result of one specific thing, like chiropractic treatment. However, the many benefits that sports chiropractic care provides can help athletes feel better, recover faster, and improve their mobility. They can do this without the use of surgical procedures and without dangerous or addictive drugs.
One small study showed that Judo athletes who received spinal manipulation saw a significant increase in grip strength when compared to a group receiving sham manipulations.
So while there’s only limited evidence that chiropractic care improves performance among athletes, the fact the more and more sports organizations have chiropractors on staff is indicative of their benefits.
When athletes take care to prevent injuries and keep their bodies functioning optimally, their athletic performance can improve. And if they do become injured, the conservative treatment options of a sports chiropractor can help them to a full and timely recovery.
Are Chiropractors Good for Athletes?
As you can see, many athletes benefit greatly from seeing chiropractors. In fact, chiropractic care is fast becoming the preferred conservative treatment option for many athletes, both professional and amateur.
Of course, not every sports injury is right for chiropractic treatment. Some injuries are better suited for other specialists. But many times, since athletes experience injuries to joints, muscles, and tendons, chiropractic care is extremely beneficial.
Do Professional Athletes See Chiropractors?
Many professional athletes regularly rely on chiropractic care as a way to keep them healthy and functioning at the top of their game. Jerry Rice famously extolled the benefits of chiropractic care during his Hall-of-Fame career. Michael Jordan also saw a chiropractor during his stellar career. As did Tiger Woods and tennis player Venus Williams.
Some 77% of NFL trainers are said to have referred one or more of their players to a chiropractor, typically for spinal adjustments and back pain. But you don’t have to be a famous athlete to experience the benefits of chiropractic care. You can visit a licensed chiropractor today to find out exactly how a chiropractor can help you.