The use of chiropractic as a tool to help sports men and women overcome injuries is becoming more popular according to Dr John Theodoropoulos, an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist practising in Toronto.

He says: “newer methods used by chiropractors, such as ART (active release techniques) and acupuncture, appear to be helpful in treating the strains, tears, imbalances in muscle groups and tendon inflammation that lead to injuries in all types of athletes”.

“Everyone is high-level and everyone takes sports seriously now,” he says. As well, a “multidisciplinary approach” involving chiropractors, physiotherapists, massage therapists, trainers, strength coaches and surgeons is increasingly common nowadays.

Dr. Mark Scappaticci, a sports chiropractor says “Sports chiropractors understand the biomechanics of different sports and the injuries that can result from them — injuries typically related to the build-up of abnormal tension in tissues, which increases with repetitive use of those muscles”.

In order to restore and enhance function, sports chiropractors apply research-based therapies involving soft tissues (muscles), the nervous system and the joints.

“When those three things are operating optimally, we can optimize biomechanics,” Dr. Scappaticci explains. He also points out that there are long-range benefits from treatment beyond sessions on the track or rink, where results are immediate. “We are talking about significant improvements in performance parameters.”

Chiropractic techniques, along with an integrated approach involving other types of therapies such as massage and osteopathy, can help athletes across the sports spectrum, from football and hockey to squash and golf. He says they work “phenomenally” with elite athletes who want to recover from injury and perform maximally. But the results are “even more astounding,” he notes, for non-pro-athlete patients with active lifestyles — say, those experiencing knee stiffness from jogging or shoulder pain from swinging a golf club.

Luck’s Yard clinic’s own Nic Langlois would surely agree: He has a particular leaning to how the muscular system affects joint and mechanical function and pain.  In clinic Nic uses a combination of western medical acupuncture, chiropractic, sports massage and rehabilitation exercises to help patients improve.

He says: “A huge amount of our western lifestyle is one-sided – normally our dominant side.  This leads to a huge amount of torsion in the body which can have far reaching effects.

This may be ok for many people, but when you throw sport, injury or bad postural habits, the body reaches a point where it has no more resilience and very small things can push you into the 4 Ps; Pain, Problems or Poor Performance.

Learning to use our bodies more evenly is easy – actually doing it is much harder.  Once we are there though, things that used to be a problem may just disappear and we can feel fitter, faster & stronger.  Long term problems, or even an inability to improve from our current sporting ability, can often have roots in this poor balance and torsion.  Trying to sort this out has got to be worth a go.

I agree with Dr Scappaticci, the more tools you as person have, or us as therapists have, to deal with issues arising from daily life, the more chance you have of getting things sorted quickly, and with more permanence”.

Dr. Scappaticci is planning a study beginning in October 2013, when members of Britain’s Olympic track-and-field team will receive different levels and types of chiropractic treatment, after which their performance will be compared and analyzed. He’s interested in helping athletes achieve their full potential through an integrated approach to chiropractic and to be able to do it injury-free.

“If you want to improve outcomes,” he says, “you have to have more tools in your toolbox.”

First published in on 6th September 2013

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