As a Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in pediatric care for over a decade, I have treated many sports related injuries. With the advent of "club teams" our young athletes are training harder and longer than ever before. I have personally seen the increase in overuse or fatigue injuries, as compared to the old fashioned traumatic event, as athletes play and play and play with little or no time to recover between seasons. Repetitive motion injuries such as tendonitis and patellofemoral disorders are more common today than the sprained ankle of the old days. Add to that the fact that our children are increasingly becoming participants in not only old-school sports such as football, baseball and basketball, but more and more are turning to action sports such as BMX, motocross, skateboarding and mountain biking and we have a recipe for injury the likes of which we've never seen before.
This rise in the popularity of action sports can be attributed to the X-Games, which is kicking off its 14th year of summer games this year. Summer events such as Freestyle BMX, MotoX, Skateboarding and Surfing to name a few are raising the bar on performance. These new action sports bring with them a whole new level of performance accompanied by potential for injury as the athletes push themselves and each other to go further, faster and higher than the last guy. And then there are the winter sports!
Chiropractic stands at the forefront of diagnosis and non-invasive, conservative and cost-efficient treatment for the injuries sustained in these types of sporting events. Chiropractic (from the Greek chiro meaning hand and practic meaning to practice; hence "practiced by hand") is a form of natural care for the body emphasizing the importance of structure and how it in turn dictates function.
Since 1896 chiropractors have been providing treatment for a host of neuromusculoskeletal complaints and injuries.Chiropractic is a science, art, philosophy and a system of healing that recognizes the innate healing capacities of the body and seeks, through a variety of approaches, to remove impediments to health. The identification and treatment of the "subluxation complex" is the foundation of the chiropractic physician's work. The subluxation complex is the cumulative effect of the loss of proper position or motion of a joint which can impair the transmission of nerve impulses from the spinal cord to the various organ systems of the body. "Adjustments" may be delivered to restore the proper biomechanics of the injured joint and improve nerve supply to the affected tissues.
Chiropractors are also trained in the application of physiotherapy modalities such as electrical muscle stimulation, ultrasound and traction therapy as well as the prescription of appropriate stretching or exercise therapies to assist in the rehabilitation of neuromusculoskeletal injuries. Since the vast majority of sports related injuries are of a musculoskeletal nature, it stands to reason that chiropractors are recognized as the leading experts in the diagnosis and conservative treatment of these injuries.
Over the next several months I will discuss the most common injuries associated with the diverse action sports presented in this publication. I intend to tackle a different sporting event each month and discuss what to watch for in the young athlete that could be an indication of injury. I will discuss athletic conditioning and ways to improve peak performance of the young athlete. The proper utilization of nutrition and strength training will also be a focus.
With proper nutrition and training combined with chiropractic care, the young athlete can continue to work to refine his or her skills injury free and participate in their sport(s) of choice for years to come!