A sports chiropractor is a trusted health professional specializing in athletes’ care. A sports chiropractor understands how to treat sports-related injuries and help athletes achieve peak performance. Sports chiropractors use various techniques to help patients recover from sport-related injuries and improve strength, speed, agility, mobility, and hand-eye coordination.
If you are an athlete or parent of an athlete looking for ways to improve performance and prevent injuries, a sports chiropractor may help.
Sports chiropractors are often involved in patient care for amateur and professional athletes. They may work with sports teams to provide chiropractic care to players or see patients in their own practices. Many sports chiropractors work with coaches and trainers to help prevent a sports injury from occurring in athletes.
What Does a Sports Chiropractor Do?
A spinal adjustment is the mainstay of sports chiropractic care, but through continuing education, a chiropractor can help in more ways than a traditional chiropractic adjustment. Let’s look at how a chiropractor can help with injury prevention and overall performance.
One of the fundamental techniques used by sports chiropractors is adjustments. Adjustments are gentle, specific spine manipulations that help restore normal alignment and function. After properly aligning the spine, the nervous system can function at its best. This can help improve athletic performance and prevent injuries.
A sports adjustment will also include extremity adjustments and specific manipulation anywhere that it can help a sport related injury.
It is common for parents to bring their youth athletes to a chiropractor for a physical assessment. This is often a faster process then scheduling a visit to a general practictioner. But it isn’t just a time benefit, a chiropractor can look into any spinal and mobility related issues before the start of a season.
A common treatment used by sports chiropractors is massage therapy. Massage can help reduce pain, inflammation, improve range of motion and flexibility. Massage therapy is used to treat a variety of conditions, such as:
- Elbow and knee joint pain
- Leg pain
- Shoulder pain
- Neck pain
- Elbow Tendonitis
- Sprains and strains
- Repetitive strain injuries
Some chiropractors will implement massage into the chiropractic treatment whereas, clinics such as ours, have massage therapists on hand to help with pre or post treatment massage therapy.
A sports chiropractic treatment will often include stretching exercises. We prescribe these exercises to help prevent overuse injuries and prevent a muscular imbalance. Stretching helps improve flexibility, range of motion, reduce muscle tension, and improve blood flow to the muscles.
A sports chiropractor will provide instructions on performing these exercises so clients can do them at home or in a gym.
Some common stretching exercises prescribed by sports chiropractors include:
- Hamstring stretch
- Quadriceps stretch
- Calf stretch
- Pectoral stretch
- Latissimus dorsi stretch
- Upper back stretch
While stretching exercises do great, a sports chiropractor will also include mobility work into the program. That is what we will talk about next.
Most athletes perform activities in a repeatable motion, which can create a muscle imbalance, improper posture, or tight muscles. The result of having these issues for an extended time period can be nagging or even chronic pain. Mobility exercises help to keep the body moving in many directions to balance strength throughout the body.
Some common mobility exercises prescribed by sports chiropractors include:
- Thoracic spine rotation
- Shoulder blade squeeze
- Elbow flexion and extension
- Wrist flexion and extension
- Ankle dorsiflexion and plantar
- Seated squat position
- Knee to chest
- Hip abduction
- Hip adduction
- Trunk twists
When performed correctly, mobility exercises can help improve an athlete‘s strength, power, and speed. They can also help reduce the risk of injuries.
If an athlete sustains an injury, sports chiropractors can prescribe rehabilitation exercises. These exercises help the athlete recover from the injury and prevent further injuries. The rehabilitation process will vary depending on the type and severity of the injury.
Some common rehabilitation exercises prescribed by sports chiropractors include:
- Assisted quadriceps strengthening
- Assisted hamstring strengthening
- Core stabilization exercises
- Low impact plyometric exercises
- Basic agility drills
Rehabilitation exercises are an important part of the recovery process and can help prevent future occurrences of musculoskeletal injuries.
Chiropractor Sports Nutrition
Sports chiropractors often provide nutritional counseling to their patients. Proper nutrition is essential for optimal health and sports performance. Sports chiropractors can help athletes develop a nutrition plan with healthy foods to improve exercise capacity.
Chiropractors may have completed a sports nutrition course and have experience helping athletes with their dietary needs to improve performance. They understand the link between diet and athletic performance. They can advise on how to eat for optimal health and performance.
Common dietary advice given by sports chiropractors includes:
- Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein
- Avoiding processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of caffeine
- Getting enough calories supports your training regimen, sports performance, and school activities.
- Drinking the right amount of water based on their metabolic expenditure.
- Low inflammatory food choices to reduce pain in an injured athlete.
Your Local Sports Chiropractor
If you are a parent of an athlete, in the Ventura or Oxnard areas, Dr. Logan Osland Chiropractic can help keep your child healthy and injury-free. We offer adjustments, massage therapy, stretching exercises, and sports nutrition advice to help athletes stay healthy and perform at their best. Contact us today to learn more about improving athletic performance and mitigating athletic injuries with the right preventative and treatment plan.