Recovering From Sports Injuries

Common sports injuries involve repetitive stress on shoulders, hips and knees that break down the tissue surrounding the joints and cause pain. Chiropractors work with athletes to improve their form and technique by aligning their spine and allowing for full range of motion and proper muscle function.

What are the most common sports related injuries that you see?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Three major joints to the extremities that we see in our office that is most commonly injured and obviously treated in our office are the shoulder, the hip, and the knee. However, the majority of the time the joint is not injured from a specific trauma as you might imagine such as an impact or a twisting injury, but because of repetitive stresses that are loaded and put through that joint which most commonly come from poor posture or misalignment of the spine. We find these repetitive stresses overtime breakdown a tissue surrounding the joint and essentially lead that joint to breaking down causing pain and disfunction.

What are the most common chiropractic techniques you use to treat sports related injuries?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Once we’ve evaluated the injury through a full orthopedic examination and X-ray imaging, we focus on the alignment of the spine first. For example, if the patient is having shoulder pain or weakness, we check to see if his excessive forward head posture within the spine. If we find that poor posture, we’ll address the spine first through adjustments and a postural correction technique called Chiropractic BioPhysics or CBP. This is where we traction the spine back to normal alignment. We obviously also treat the joint that’s been affected specifically with lots of muscle work by reducing the scar tissue within the muscle.

How do you devise a physical therapy program for a recovering athlete?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Physical therapy and chiropractic work really well together. Essentially, first we try to restore full range of motion to the affected joint. Once we get the joint moving, we will then stabilize the area through lots of active exercises. Once we find that the joint is stable and moving well, we’ll then focus on strengthening the joint. That comes through some resisted and functional movement exercises. It always has to be patient specific and individualized to their injury.

What advice would you give your patients to prevent sports injuries in the first place?

Dr. Luke Stringer: I am obviously biased being a chiropractor, but I am speaking from experience. I played professional rugby for nine years, and I didn’t say that to ring my own bell. It was more when I signed my first professional rugby contract out of school, my first three years were spent on the treatment bed essentially. This was just through poor alignment of my spine and essentially lots of compensation that was going into my extremities essentially. I would say if anybody, amateur or professional, is playing sports to make the effort to go see a chiropractor before beginning a sport. Obviously, if you’re already playing just go right now. By doing so, you will make sure that your posture and the alignment of your spine is where it needs to be, not only that, that your joints that you’ll be using, shoulders for tennis players, knees for runners, will have a healthy range of motion and are stable. Obviously, a caveat to that is make sure that you are warming up effectively and just as importantly cool down or recover properly, too.

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