What is sports chiropractic?

Sports chiropractic is a branch within the profession that focuses on maximised athletic performance and injury management through the application of the highest quality treatment, rehabilitation and prevention of sports injuries.

Sports chiropractors have a strong interest in pain management, soft tissue therapy and exercise rehabilitation.

They take a hands-on approach when treating their patients before transitioning them into active rehabilitation. Sports chiro’s treat biomechanical problems to do with joints, muscles and other soft tissues in the spine and the extremities (shoulders, hips, knees, elbows, etc.).

What techniques do sports chiropractors use?

A recent study by a number of prominent Australian chiropractors and researchers, set out to determine the practice characteristics of sports chiropractors from around the world. They found that 90.9% of practitioners would combine multiple different techniques when managing their patients. Those techniques include:

  • Manipulation & mobilisation

  • Soft tissue therapy (e.g. massage, stretching, dry needling, fascia release)

  • Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilisation (also known as graston therapy)

  • Kinesiology taping

  • Rehabilitation prescription

  • Ergonomic & nutritional advice

chiropractor performing soft tissue therapy

What can a sports chiropractor treat?

Sports chiro’s are trained to treat injuries and pain in any region of the musculoskeletal system. The additional education and training that a sports chiro undertakes in order to become certified covers a number of traumatic and overuse injuries involving muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments of the extremities. The study mentioned earlier found that close to 4 out of every 10 patients who consult a sports chiropractor do so for a non-spinal injury.

I’m not an athlete, can I still benefit from seeing a sports chiropractor?

Absolutely! Many of the assessment and treatment protocols can be adapted to suit anyone, no matter your age or how fit or strong you may (or may not) be.

In conclusion

Every practitioner has a slightly different style of treatment. No two physiotherapists, osteopaths or chiropractors would assess and treat you the exact same way. The same can be said about sports chiropractors, but you can be sure that you will receive:

  • A thorough movement-based biomechanical and orthopaedic assessment.

  • Hands-on treatment that addresses the injured or painful tissue.

  • Treatment of other regions of the musculoskeletal system that could likely be the root cause of your injury.

  • A combination of multiple treatment techniques that address the soft tissues and joints (not only an “adjustment”).

  • Rehabilitation prescription. Mobility drills and stretches for tight muscles, strengthening exercises for weak muscles and sport specific training and load management protocols to bring it all together.

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