Why Chiropractic Care Is Essential in Sports Physicals
Young athletes go through sports physicals before they can play, but a chiropractic professional can provide a more effective exam and preventative care.
See the Difference a Chiropractic Exam Can Make for an Athlete!
Student athletes need to complete a “sports physical” periodically during their school years. Athletes are screened for a variety of disease processes from diabetes to kidney disease to allergies and asthma and even Marfan’s syndrome.
This is very important to catch any serious health conditions early; however, the currently used mandatory preseason exams are too often more ceremonial than informative. This is because so many kids need to be examined in such brief periods of time. A cough here and a lean forward there…and it doesn’t take much for a kid to be labeled healthy.
The currently used exam looks primarily at potential “medical” conditions. Although the structural component of the athlete (his or her musculo-skeletal system, or bio-mechanics) is the true at-risk system in sports, no one looks the musculo-skeletal system in a meaningful way at these preseason exams.
After the “sports physical” athletes will usually go back to their sport without a second thought. The athlete was screened for a variety of illnesses, did not have any and was sent back out to participate in his sport. The next day at practice the athlete suffers a torn ACL. A devastating injury.
Who screened the athlete to see if he or she was prone to an ACL injury? Was a screening done to prevent low back pain, ankle sprains, and pulled muscles? These are injuries we hear about everyday but are never addressed BEFORE the injury occurs.
The healthcare crisis is not due to a lack of answers. And we don’t need more research. It’s due to a loss of logic, a lack of discipline, and too many people more concerned with the profits of healthcare at the expense of human quality of life.
We teach people to react instead of act. We teach them to basically do nothing until they’re broken. With high healthcare costs, human nature is to wait longer and hope their symptoms will miraculously disappear. The more time that goes by, the more wear and tear and degenerative changes take place in our bodies. This can create an irreversible scenario.
We also mistakenly look only at the site of the injury. Treating symptoms first is the norm, so we’ve fragmented the body into parts. In the orthopedic world, I often hear statements like “He’s the best hand guy” or “He’s the best shoulder guy.” He may be good with hands or shoulders, but all parts of the body are interconnected. Every part has some global influence over the other parts of the body. To only look at the site of injury is near-sighted and contributes greatly to long-term, increased costs.
Overall, in our current system the only goal is to eliminate symptoms. Whether we receive an injection, a bottle of ibuprofen, a small number of visits with a doctor of chiropractic care or a physical therapist, or any other palliative treatment, we’re taught that once the symptoms are gone, we should be “good to go.” This belief is so flawed. However, everything in our society pushes this reactive, symptom-only approach, from advertising and marketing that reminds us “You haven’t got time for the pain” to physicians who only know what to do when you’re broken. We have an insurance system that will pay only after we’re broken, which encourages us to react after we’re hurt instead of acting to stay healthy.
So how do we stay healthy and keep our athletes injury-free?
In chiropractic care, we realize the need for a different approach.
First we have to have an awareness that symptoms are a sign that something is broken and symptoms will subside before the broken piece is fixed. What that means is pain is the last symptom to show up and the first one to go away. We all know someone who was “perfectly healthy” and had a heart attack the next day. That person had no symptoms, no pain, but the process that caused the heart attack has been in process for many years. And that person was NOT healthy (even though he/she looked like it). Musculo-skeletal problems are the same way: the abnormal bio-mechanics that caused the back pain in the first place have been evident for months or years before the pain started.
Based on what we just discussed, we need a new way to evaluate and prevent sports injuries. We need a new way to assess bio-mechanics to prevent sports injuries, and we need a new approach to treatment to prevent sports injuries.
Tell me if you think this chiropractic exam is different from the “sports physicals” all our athletes get.
- A postural exam
- A cervical and lumbar spinal range of motion exam
- A foot exam looking for imbalances that can lead to knee and back pain
- Spinal orthopedic testing
- A sensory exam, checking your nerve endings for sensitivity to pain and light touch
- Deep tendon reflexes of the upper and lower extremity
- Muscle testing of the upper extremities, shoulder blades, lower extremities, and glutes
- A palpatory examine
- A leg length exam which includes a leg measurement
- If necessary, cervical and lumbar weight-bearing X-rays
This chiropractic exam is a little different from the old “turn your head and cough” exam!
We then sit down with the athlete and parents and go over their individualized treatment plan.
The chiropractic treatment plan will include some or all of the following services we provide:
- Spinal Manipulation
- Physical Therapy and Modalities
- Rehab and Home exercises (all programs include exercises to prevent ACL injuries and ankle sprains)
- Custom made Orthotics
- Super-Pulsed Laser
- Whole Body Standing Vibration Therapy
- Structural Integration Massage Therapy
The combination of the above techniques has helped dozens of local athletes over the years to have less pain, improve function, and excel at their specific sport. This chiropractic program is not sport specific, meaning we provide this program for athletes in all sports. The rehab program will be sport specific.
What can you expect?
Symptomatic patients – With patients who are having pain we will focus on pain and inflammation reduction first, then when pain allows we add in the appropriate exercises, injury prevention program, and return to play.
Asymptomatic patients – With patients who are not having pain and come in to prevent future injuries, we will jump right in with manipulation, massage, vibration therapy, and rehab.
So, when the season for your sport is coming up, consider a physical with a chiropractic professional. The Algonquin Chiropractic Center is your destination for seeing a qualified doctor of chiropractic in Algonquin, IL, so give us a call and we’ll help you schedule an appointment.
Young athletes do very well on this program: less pain, less downtime, less risk of injury, more training, and more participation. All together, this will make for a happier athlete—and a happier parent!