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Why Choose a Sports Chiropractor?

Knee pain care with elite sport and spine

Why You Need a Sports Chiropractor…

If you have ever trained for an athletic event or worked hard to get back into shape (perhaps as part of a New Year’s resolution), you have probably experienced the dreaded “injury cycle.” The cycle of many exercise-related injuries frequently goes something like this: After finally admitting to yourself that the pain was more than just soreness, you go to your medical doctor and are either prescribed pain medication, told to rest until you lose all the fitness you just worked so hard to gain, or given the option of rehabilitation with a physical therapist. While physical therapy (PT) is often the first choice for many medical doctor referrals in rehabbing an exercise-related injury, many serious and recreational athletes alike have started to rely on a sports chiropractor.

Sports chiropractors are trained in many of the same areas as physical therapist, such as coordination drills and strengthening exercises, as well as improving joint function throughout the body. You may be thinking, “Timeout. I thought chiropractors only treated back and neck pain.” Just like the medical profession, there are many areas of specialty in chiropractic. Those who specialize as a sports chiropractor have undergone the traditional education on spinal joint manipulation or adjustments, as well as spending hundreds of hours in additional education learning about exercise-related injuries, extremities (arms and legs), soft tissue treatments, and functional rehabilitation techniques.

Over the past few decades, the sports chiropractor’s approach has evolved and expanded to incorporate joint mobilization and manipulation techniques, soft tissue treatments, and functional rehabilitation techniques to create a new gold standard of care in treatment for patients with exercise-related injuries. Chiropractors now represent a large portion of the United States Olympic committee’s medical staff. The Director of Sports Medicine Clinics at the US Olympic Team headquarters in Colorado Springs is a chiropractor and Palmer College of Chiropractic alumni. Read more about Dr. Bill Moreau’s role at the USOC here!

What to Expect with a Sports Chiropractor

If you choose to visit a sports chiropractor, you can expect a comprehensive evaluation and exam before treatment begins. There are several areas of interest for a sports chiropractor, including:

• An orthopedic and neurologic exam to assist in diagnosing the injury and determining if a referral to an orthopedic or neurologic specialist is necessary

• Gait analysis to see how you move when you walk or run

• An evaluation of the foot because it is the foundation of the kinetic chain

• Functional movement screens

• Joint palpation to assess the movement quality of your joints

Once the evaluation is completed and your specific needs and goals have been discussed, the sports chiropractor will create an individualized treatment plan for your road to recovery. The diagnosis and your treatment goals will assist your sports chiropractor in deciding between a variety of techniques, each designed to help you get back to the activities you enjoy.

Five types of treatment used by sports chiropractors for exercise-related injuries:

1. Joint Mobilization/Manipulation is used by sports chiropractors to restore proper motion and function to joints that are restricted, or not moving properly.

2. Graston Technique is a treatment designed to restore proper function to soft tissue by breaking up adhesions or scar tissue using small, hand-held stainless steel instruments.

3. Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) is a technique that restores proper muscle balance and joint function. Many professional and Olympic teams have begun to utilize this technique for injury rehabilitation, injury prevention and in some cases to enhance performance.

4. Myofascial Release/Active Release Technique is a combination of massage and stretching where sports chiropractors apply deep tension while they move a muscle through a range of motion from a shortened to an elongated position. Myofascial release is used primarily for adhesions deep in the muscle.

5. McKenzie Method (MDT) is a specialized technique for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of muscle and joint pain using repeated movements and postural changes.

You can schedule online or call us at 262-289-9220. We are happy to answer any questions you may have!

Dr. Shiels is the owner and doctor of chiropractic at Elite Sport & Spine in Brookfield, Wisconsin. He lives there with his wife and four children and enjoys spending time with his family, running, and camping.