The term sports medicine encompasses the treatment of athletic-related injuries to the spine, extremities and associated connective tissues (i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments and joint capsules). Over the last few years, Americans have done a 180 degree turnaround in the way they live. There are more of us engaging in athletic and physical activities in an effort to stay fit.
The advantages of physical activity are multiple: increased strength, endurance, better circulation, digestion, ability to release stress and greater resistance to disease. The disadvantages are an increased chance of injury as a consequence of improper preventative measures, such as stretching, warm-up, conditioning, technique and pushing yourself too far by overtraining.
Columbus Chiropractors: What is their role?
The important thing is to detect the injured area early and determine which of the above factors is at cause. Chiropractors are doctors who are specialists in the conservative (non-drug/non-surgical) treatment of joint sprains and strains, tendonitis, bursitis, muscle contusions or tears, and subluxation and dislocations. The chiropractor can evaluate the injury, via chiropractic, orthopedic and neurological testing as well as x-ray to determine a fracture site, cartilage tear or bone pathology. The chiropractor will then arrive at a diagnosis and coordinate proper conservative treatment and rehabilitation or if necessary, referral to the proper medical specialty for casting or surgical follow-up.
Perhaps even more importantly, the Doctor of Chiropractic, with his or her philosophy of treating the body as a whole and understanding of biomechanics can properly pinpoint and underlying nutritional or mechanical fault in the body that predisposes the body to injury in the first place.
Columbus Chiropractic Management of a Sports Injury
- The Acute Stage: The first 24-48 hours
The initial goal in the conservative management of an athletic injury is to reduce or stop swelling. This is accomplished by the liberal use of ice with compression and elevation. Research also shows, fasting or limiting the amount of food you consume for the first 1-2 days can speed up the healing time by conserving your bodies energy towards repair of tissue.
- The Healing Stage: The first 2-3 weeks
Once a reduction in the swelling has been gained, more aggressive forms of therapy can be employed. This includes a corrective care adjustment to increase local inflammation and facilitate a quicker heal; whole body vibrational therapy – which will increase body circulation and help with capsular tone around the joint and decrease intercellular swelling and inflammation. Simultaneously, the corrective adjustment and vibe plate stimulate your white blood cells.
- The Rehabilitation Stage: The next 2-3 weeks
Once the injury has attained 100% joint range of motion, the rehabilitation phase can begin. This consists of specific stretching to decrease joint stiffness, use of limited resistance to gradually increase muscle strength, chiropractic corrective care adjustment to maximize joint alignment and mobility and to minimize adhesions.
- The Reconditioning Stage:
The final phase is to maintain a continued sensible program of prevention by changing the factors at fault that caused the initial injury and by proper conditioning to prevent injuries.