When a runner injures a calf midway through the race, or a footballer pulls a hamstring as he kicks the ball in the same way he has kicked it thousands of times before, it may not be the running or the kicking that has caused the injury – but an underlying problem that is finally showing itself. Whether it is a previously undetected spine or joint problem, or years of poor posture, the resulting injury could potentially signal the end of a sporting career.
Whether you are an amateur sports enthusiast or a top-flight professional, your body is prone to the same kind of injuries. Repeated stresses can lead to a slight loss of proper movement in the bones of your spine (vertebrae) and joints, which in turn can interfere with the healthy working of the muscles and the nerves. You may have ignored the pain and carried on with your sport for too long without treatment, and now find yourself with a chronic injury. It is not surprising that chiropractors often see patients with:
- Hamstring and calf strains
- Groin and thigh sprains
- Neck pain
- Shoulder injuries
- Achilles tendon injuries
- Lower back pain
- Tennis/Golfers elbow
- Tendonitis These injuries often recur and may shorten promising sporting careers and turn enthusiastic amateurs into couch potatoes.
Problems with performance
Injury is not the only problem for sports enthusiast or professionals. Many find that they reach a threshold of ability, and cannot improve further, however hard they work and however hard training they put in. This is why so many sportspeople consult chiropractors who will work to improve both function and health. Dr Gould has a special interest in sports related injuries and is a member of the British Chiropractic Sports Council.
As well as speeding up recovery from injury, your chiropractor can enhance your performance, and help prevent future problems.
Unlike painkilling drugs, chiropractic gets behind the cause of the injury, rather than just treating the injury itself. Your chiropractor will carry out a full examination (including x-rays if necessary), and ask you questions about your sporting life, posture, medical history and lifestyle, to discover the cause of your poor performance and make a diagnosis.
Then your treatment will begin, often with gentle, specific adjustments done by hand to free stiff joints and remove spinal joint irritation. This effective drug-free treatment is generally painless, although you may feel some short-term discomfort around the injured area. Treatment will normally be followed by a rehabilitation plan to strengthen the injured area, improve your flexibility and prevent future flare-ups.
Chiropractic treatment aims to restore normal function to your joints and muscles as well as your nervous system and may increase your control, co-ordination and muscle strength.
Like most athletes who have benefited from chiropractic care, you may decide to return for regular check ups to keep your body working at its best. Regardless of your age, condition or health, chiropractic care may improve your athletic potential.