By Zach Shiels, DC
If you have ever trained for an athletic event or worked hard to get back into shape (perhaps as part of a New Year’s resolution), you have probably experienced the dreaded “injury cycle.” The cycle of many exercise-related injuries frequently goes something like this: After finally admitting to yourself that the pain was more than just soreness, you go to your medical doctor and are either prescribed pain medication, told to rest until you lose all the fitness you just worked so hard to gain, or given the option of rehabilitation with a physical therapist. While physical therapy (PT) is often the first choice for many medical doctor referrals in rehabbing an exercise-related injury, many serious and recreational athletes alike have started to rely on sports chiropractors.
While PT usually focuses on coordination drills and strengthening exercises, sports chiropractors are trained in these areas as well as improving joint function throughout the body. You may be thinking, “Timeout. I thought chiropractors only treated back and neck pain.” Just like the medical profession, there are many areas of specialty in chiropractic. Those who specialize as a sports chiropractor have undergone the traditional education on spinal joint manipulation or adjustments, as well as spending hundreds of hours in additional education learning about exercise-related injuries, extremities (arms and legs), soft tissue treatments, and functional rehabilitation techniques.
Over the past few decades, the sports chiropractor’s approach has evolved and expanded to incorporate joint mobilization and manipulation techniques, soft tissue treatments, and functional rehabilitation techniques to create a new gold standard of care in treatment for patients with exercise-related injuries.
If you choose to visit a sports chiropractor, you can expect a comprehensive evaluation and exam before treatment begins. There are several areas of interest for a sports chiropractor, including:
• An orthopedic and neurologic exam to assist in diagnosing the injury and determining if a referral to an orthopedic or neurologic specialist is necessary
• Gait analysis to see how you move when you walk or run
• An evaluation of the foot because it is the foundation of the kinetic chain
• Functional movement screens
• Joint palpation to assess the movement quality of your joints
Once the evaluation is completed and your specific needs and goals have been discussed, the sports chiropractor will create an individualized treatment plan for your road to recovery. The diagnosis and your treatment goals will assist your sports chiropractor in deciding between a variety of techniques, each designed to help you get back to the activities you enjoy.
Five types of treatment used by sports chiropractors for exercise-related injuries:
1. Joint Mobilization/Manipulation is used by sports chiropractors to restore proper motion and function to joints that are restricted, or not moving properly.
2. Graston Technique is a treatment designed to restore proper function to soft tissue by breaking up adhesions or scar tissue using small, hand-held stainless steel instruments.
3. Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) is a technique that restores proper muscle balance and joint function. Many professional and Olympic teams have begun to utilize this technique for injury rehabilitation, injury prevention and in some cases to enhance performance.
4. Myofascial Release is a combination of massage and stretching where sports chiropractors apply deep tension while they move a muscle through a range of motion from a shortened to an elongated position. Myofascial release is used primarily for adhesions deep in the muscle.
5. McKenzie Method (MDT) is a specialized technique for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of muscle and joint pain using repeated movements and postural changes.
Dr. Shiels is the owner and chiropractic physician at Elite Sport & Spine in Brookfield, Wisconsin. He lives there with his wife and two children and enjoys spending time with his family, running, and camping.
By Blake Meyer, DC
Pain is a frustrating thing. One day you feel great, ready to tackle the world, then the next you can barely sit, walk, lift your arm etc without excruciating pain. Why does this happen? Was it an injury that you can point a finger directly to or did it ‘just come on over time?’ Most of us tend to deal with our pain and hope it will eventually just go away. And oftentimes it does. Our bodies are impressive healers that typically correct over time. But when pain becomes too severe, interferes with what we love, or has simply gone on too long is when most seek help.
Many people self-treat their pain with the use of over-the-counter medications paired with heat, ice, rest or other home remedies, and that’s not a bad approach. Many occurrences of pain will resolve on their own by simply remaining active but being conscious of not overdoing-it. The key for recovering the quickest is to figure out the origin of your pain, which can be broken down into three main categories:
- Mechanical Pain
- Chemical Pain
- Psychosocial Pain (this doesn’t mean you’re crazy)
In most cases these categories are not mutually exclusive, but figuring out which is playing the largest role allows the most effective treatment to be implemented. This classification can be applied to pain at any location in the body.
Let’s look at the first: Mechanical pain implies the origin has something to do with the physical parts of your body, such as the bones, joints or muscles. Maybe you injured one of the discs in your back by lifting a heavy load, pulled a muscle by overexertion, or have a genetic anomaly such as scoliosis. These are all examples of mechanical problems, something ‘wrong with the parts.’ Mechanical problems typically respond best to manual therapies such as chiropractic, physical therapy, or massage therapy. By directly addressing the structure that is injured (or the one causing the pain), that patient typically experiences the greatest outcome. If someone has told you, “You have to go see my chiropractor! He adjusts me then I feel great!” then they are usually someone with mechanical related pain.
The second type of pain, chemical, can be a bit trickier because it’s typically present alongside the other two forms. This type of pain is due to the natural responses your body creates, most namely inflammation. Inflammation is an important process our body creates in response to injury (redness, swelling, heat), but we want to limit its extent. Ongoing inflammation can wreak havoc on our muscles and joints, increasing the pain we perceive and create further damage. An ankle sprain and various forms of arthritis are classic examples of acute and chronic inflammation, respectively. Chemically driven pain is most commonly treated with anti-inflammatory medication and is why ibuprofen works so effectively for acute aches and pains. Your medical doctor can prescribe many types of anti-inflammatory drugs that are most appropriate for your individual case. More holistic approaches include ice and anti-inflammatory foods, found here –> http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/anti-inflammatory-diet-road-to-good-health. The latter approach is more effective for long-term results, as the classic drawback to medication is it typically acts as a band-aid. If your pain is chemically driven, a chemical approach is right for you.
The final type of pain is driven by psychosocial factors. As mentioned above, this doesn’t mean you’re crazy. Many people say their pain comes on when they’re stressed or a unfortunate life event happens. Our body can express stress in countless ways, including physical. These are typically paired with chemical pain, so medications often-time are short-term ‘fixes’ that cover up the real problem. However you de-stress best will commonly alleviate the pain. Keep to healthy approaches such as reading, watching a favorite movie, spending time with family etc. But don’t confuse these tactic as distractions. Failing to ‘take-on’ and/or accept the stressful event prolongs its effects on the body.
Chiropractors are a great place to start in classifying what type of pain you have. We can quickly determine if your pain is mechanical in nature and offer a whole host of treatments to effectively address it. If your pain doesn’t appear that it will respond appropriately to a mechanical approach, other holistic methods can be introduced, or we can refer you to the appropriate health care provider. Don’t let pain prevent you from doing what you love!
– Blake Meyer, DC
Dr. Meyer is the owner of, and chiropractor at Colorado Chiropractic and Sports Injury Center in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. He lives there with his fiance Rachel where they enjoy hiking, skiing, and spending time outdoors.
Dr. Erica has spent the past week at the University Motol in Prague learning more about DNS. She has seen a wide variety of conditions in children and adults ranging from multiple sclerosis to cerebral palsy to urinary incontinence. She is excited to get back and apply what she has been learning!
Dr. Erica recently attended a summit on Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS), a therapy offered here at Coulee Health. While there she had the opportunity to meet Professor Pavel Kolar, renowned for his work in rehabilitation and DNS!
The summit covered the management of sports injuries, pediatrics, gynecological and OB disorders, chronic pain, and Multiple Sclerosis to name a few.
Below is a picture of Dr. Erica and Prof Kolar. She is headed to Prague in less than a week to shadow the physiotherapists at the University Hospital Motol and will be focusing on pediatrics.
“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” -Maya Angelou Thank you to those who have served and continue to serve our country!
We had so much fun seeing all the children in their costumes! A great plan for all that candy: Consider letting your child pick out his or her three favorite pieces and trading the rest in for a book! They still get a little treat but aren’t overloaded with sugar! Plus, the book will last a lot longer!
Fun and healthy Halloween snacks that kids would love to help make (and eat)! Bananas with dark chocolate chips as the face and mandarin oranges with celery pieces for a stem. Enjoy!
Congratulations to Dr. Erica on her graduation from Palmer College of Chiropractic! She is now accepting new patients at Coulee Health! Call today to schedule an appointment with her.
Tuesday, September 3 from 8:00am-5:00pm
Coulee Health is very excited to announce our GRAND OPENING! Stop in, see the new office, receive a functional screen and get entered for a chance to win tickets to a Packers game and tailgate party!!!!