Chiropractors have been long known for popping joints and cracking backs, but those are days of the past. More and more chiropractors are known as sports chiropractors, trained in a diversified background of functional movement, rehab and manual therapy skills. Below are 8 ways that a sports chiropractor can help you stay on top of your game.
- Not Just The Spine
A sports chiropractor doesn’t focus just on back injuries. Sports chiropractors are experts in injuries throughout the entire body’s musculoskeletal system and can help with sprained ankles, sore shoulders, painful wrists, hurting elbows, achy knees, and more. No matter where your injury may be, a sports chiropractor can help. Adjustments and manual therapy to joints other than the spine can have the same physiological effect – increased proprioception, decreased pain, improved range of motion and better overall function.
Active Release Technique
Ever had a shin splint, muscle tear, knee pain, shoulder pain, or back pain? Most everyone who participates in sports can relate to these kinds of injuries. So what can you do? One of the answers is Active Release Technique (ART). ART focuses on reducing scar tissue and adhesions and improving function in muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. Finding a chiropractor who is certified in ART is a step in the right direction for treating soft tissue injuries.
Functional Movement Assessment
Sports chiropractors are masters of movement. Many common injuries occur from moving incorrectly in sports or daily activities for hours, weeks, months, or even years on end. Sports chiropractors use functional assessments to get to the bottom of the movement dysfunction. When looking at whole body function, it is often the case that the site of the pain is not the source of the pain. For instance, lack of movement in the hips could be causing increased motion at the low back. This increased motion is what creates the pain, however the hips would be the source of the pain. Finding out movement dysfunctions is the quickest path to figuring out painful areas.
The best assessment can only go so far without the proper rehab. Trained in the latest functional rehabilitation techniques, sports chiropractors can get athletes back in the game more quickly, as well as get non-athletes pain-free in record time. Fixing movement isn’t just about banded stretches, lacrosse ball smashes, and mobility. Your body is a complex system of mobile segments operating on top of stable segments. Not only do we sometimes need to stabilize segments to create better movement, sometimes the mobility and stability need to be integrated and taught how to work together. No foam roller is going to fix that.
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Therapy
This tool-based therapy is used by sports chiropractors to improve range of motion and break up crosslinks in collagen, which decreases pain and increases performance. IASTM also facilitates the underlying neurological and “turns the switch on” for different movement patterns as well as muscle activation.
Return to play
Sports chiropractors are trained not only to get people better soon, but to know the sweet spot or returning to play to avoid injury. This includes proper timing or getting back in the gym, or back to half-marathon training for the weekend warrior. When it comes to programming for CrossFit, a good sports chiropractor will know what to scale, when and how to keep an athlete moving. When compared to more traditional approaches of “rest until it doesn’t hurt anymore, this can mean maintenance of strength as well as positive effects on psychology. No one wants to be out of the box and not training due to a blown disc or tweaked shoulder.
You’ve probably seen CrossFit athletes sporting this colorful tape, often emblazoned with the RockTape logo. But what does this kinesiology tape actually do exactly? Using this state-of-the-art tape, sports chiropractors can influence proper mechanics, decrease bruising and swelling, and prevent injuries for athletes. While it can be used correctly to lock in movement patterns or encourage proper form when learning or modifying movement, it can also be detrimental if taped incorrectly. Have a professional apply the tape for maximum benefit.
You have to use high-octane fuel for a high-performance sports car, just like you have to use optimal nutrition if you want your body to operate at a high level. Sports chiropractors have the knowledge to create custom meal plans for anyone looking to reach goals–athletic or not. Nutrition also differs if you want to gain mass, lose fat or increase performance. A proper meal plan will have the end result in mind and work with dietary restrictions to reduce inflammation and create an optimal environment for the body to thrive.
Dr. Anthony Gustin is a chiropractic physician and movement specialist. He earned his Doctorate in Chiropractic as well as Masters of Science in Exercise and Sports Science from The University of Western States. He currently runs a busy sports medicine based clinic in San Francisco, SF Custom Chiropractic. Dr. Gustin also operates a performance based nutrition website, PureWOD