There is no question that acute or chronic joint pain or stiffness can be aggravating for the average person.
However, such pain can be even more frustrating for athletes, ranging from the elite competitors all the way down to the “weekend warriors.”
Joint pain can hinder or prevent athletes from being able to compete at peak performance levels. Worse still is the fact that pain can very quickly sideline athletes. Conventional treatment can often also mean a long, hard, rehabilitation period to get back into the game.
What are the most common sports injuries?
According to WebMD, the seven most common sports injuries are:
- Ankle sprain
- Groin pull
- Hamstring strain
- Shin splints
- ACL tear
- Kneecap overuse injury
- Tennis elbow
In most cases, the first line of treatment for such injuries is known as PRICE:
- Prevent reinjury Rest Ice Compression Elevation
If there is something obviously wrong, such as any joint that looks to be at an odd angle, severe bruising, feeling that the joint is unstable, or no improvement of symptoms within a few days, patients should seek the care of a medical professional.
How can chiropractic help athletes?
A proper biomechanical exam will help chiropractors understand the unique ways in which the individual athlete puts stress or strain on the various joints, ligaments, or tendons.
This will usually involve watching not only how the athlete walks or runs, but how they perform movements necessary for their sport, such as a tennis serve or a softball swing. Seeing how the athlete uses his or her body will provide insight into the best course of treatment. The chiropractor can then create a customized treatment plan that may include acute and maintenance care chiropractic adjustments, biomechanical retraining, stretching, and exercise to regain full mobility.
What does the research say?
A study published in the February 2014 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiologic Therapy examined the effect of chiropractic adjustment on vertical jump height among two groups of young female athletes with ankle joint issues. One group received chiropractic adjustments and the other received sham treatments once a week for three weeks.
At the end of the treatment period, the athletes who received adjustments improved their jump height by 1.07 cm, as compared to the sham group, whose jump height improved by only 0.59 cm. The researchers concluded that adjustments for ankle joint problems helped improve athletic performance.
It seems clear that instrument adjusting can not only help athletes recover from injury more quickly, but can also help keep athletes at peak performance.
Structuring athletic performance. Chiropractic Economics online. Accessed July 8, 2014
Hedlund S, Nilsson H, Lenz M, Sundberg T. Effect of chiropractic manipulation on vertical jump height in young female athletes with talocrural joint dysfunction: a singleblind randomized clinical pilot trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2014 Feb;37(2):116–23. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2013.11.004. Epub 2014 Jan 2.