Training

Sports Chiropractic: More Than Neck Cracking


Written by

Jason Reynolds DC, DACBSP, EMT

There is an unavoidable stigma in the world of Chiropractic. That stigma being that once you get cracked you must always come back. Many Chiropractic Doctors believe there is the need to come in 30, 40, 50 visits or more in a years time. Many patients we talk to have been down the road of serial visits with mostly positive outcomes but there is always something that was missing from their care. Even worse, in some cases, misdiagnosis and mismanaged care that exacerbated or negatively progressed the problem. Now this appears to be coming off as the typical, throw your fellow colleague under the bus cynicism, but it is far from that. The truth of the matter is that Chiropractic works. However, the traditional rack and crack is not the end all be all, especially in the world of sports medicine and sports performance.

Correcting Chiropractic’s Problems, My Experience

The experience I had with chiropractic growing up was that of a wellness model; Lay on the table face down, turn onto the right, onto the left, face up (accompanying joint cavitations while manipulation in all those positions was performed). That sequence was ended with a minute of guided instruction on general nutrition, stretching, etc. Now for a young healthy athlete these regular check up/maintenance adjustments were sufficient while at the same time mediocre at best for someone striving to be more then just healthy. In the end, the regular maintenance visits were something I and millions of chiropractic patients worldwide subscribed to, but the idea of manipulation is missing some components of patient care. This is why Paradigm Performance encourages regular care for our athletes, but simply manipulating joints is not what a visit with a sports doc should entail. It is the foundation to a bigger approach, and yes if you want to maximize your elite potential you too will need to subscribe to the serial visit stigma.

Defining Pain, Redefining Chiropractic

I always find it disheartening when people think that chiropractic care is a one-stop symptom treatment shop. Yes, there is no doubt plenty of research proves that chiropractic care is an ideal treatment for chronic pain associated with the spine. Plenty of research shows manipulation as a vehicle for that treatment for musculoskeletal pain. However, pain is not and should not be the only thing that one sees a chiropractor for and limiting treatment to the spine is a misnomer as well. In the industry of athletics, pain is mostly associated with the soreness from training, or from acute traumatic injuries. The former will benefit from ice, rest and training variability; the latter usually needs a proper examination, imaging, and specialist referral. So, if its not “pain” that athletes need to go to the chiropractor for, what is it?

Performance enhancement! This is attained through: biomechanical correction, properly guided tissue healing, and neurologic movement pattern correction. This is the focus of the sports chiropractor in general. A common question/concern we receive is “how many visits will this treatment take.” The only honest response we can provide is an analogy to the training and nutrition the athlete/patient is committed to. We ask if the training plan that they are on is a once a month or even week plan, we ask if they eat one nutritious meal a month or even week. As you can see proper care is just as important as the training and nutrition an athlete is committed too. The frequency in care will be different from athlete to athlete and patient to patient, but the general concept of “maintenance visits” is as real as the periodization through training body weight squats to loaded squats, and glycogen restoring post workout nutrition is to the striving athlete. Serial visits are crucial when your striving for a goal, especially as it relates to sports performance. You might be thinking what does 1-3 times a week to your sports doc entail if it’s not just the typical rack and crack. Treatments will include: soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, prehab, rehab, biomechanical correction, and kinesiologic/supportive taping. Our bi-monthly articles will be exploring the research, providing case studies, and sharing knowledge about sports chiropractic care as it relates to the achievement of your performance goals.

Comments or questions please email [email protected]

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