Back Clinic Sports Injuries Chiropractic and Physical Therapy Team. Athletes from all sports can benefit from chiropractic treatment. Adjustments can help treat injuries from high-impact sports i.e. wrestling, football, and hockey. Athletes that get routine adjustments may notice improved athletic performance, improved range of motion along with flexibility, and increased blood flow. Because spinal adjustments will reduce the irritation of the nerve roots between the vertebrae, the healing time from minor injuries can be shortened, which improves performance. Both high-impact and low-impact athletes can benefit from routine spinal adjustments.
For high-impact athletes, it increases performance and flexibility and lowers the risk for injury for low-impact athletes i.e. tennis players, bowlers, and golfers. Chiropractic is a natural way to treat and prevent different injuries and conditions that impact athletes. According to Dr. Jimenez, excessive training or improper gear, among other factors, are common causes of injury. Dr. Jimenez summarizes the various causes and effects of sports injuries on the athlete as well as explaining the types of treatments and rehabilitation methods that can help improve an athlete’s condition. For more information, please feel free to contact us at (915) 850-0900 or text to call Dr. Jimenez personally at (915) 540-8444.
Gymnastics is a demanding and challenging sport. Gymnasts train to be powerful and graceful. Today’s moves have become increasingly technical acrobatic moves with a much higher degree of risk and difficulty. All the stretching, bending, twisting, jumping, flipping, etc., increases the risk of neuromusculoskeletal injuries. Gymnastics injuries are inevitable. Bruises, cuts, and scrapes are common, as are overuse strains and sprains, but severe and traumatic injuries can occur. Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Team can treat and rehabilitate injuries and help to strengthen and prevent injuries. The therapy team will thoroughly evaluate the individual to determine the injury/s severity, identify any weaknesses or limitations, and develop a personalized plan for optimal recovery, stability, and strength.
One of the main reasons injuries are more prevalent is because today’s athletes start earlier, spend more time practicing, perform more complex skill sets, and have higher levels of competition. Gymnasts learn to perfect a skill and then train to make their bodies look elegant while executing the routine. These moves require precision, timing, and hours of practice.
Sports injuries are classified as:
Chronic Overuse injuries: These cumulative aches and pains occur over time.
They can be treated with chiropractic and physical therapy and prevented with targeted training and recovery.
Acute Traumatic injuries: These are typically accidents that happen suddenly without warning.
These require immediate first aid.
Most Common Injuries
Gymnasts are taught how to fall and land to lessen the impact on the spine, head, neck, knees, ankles, and wrists.
Strength and/or flexibility imbalances – one side is stronger.
Our therapists will start with an evaluation and a biomechanical assessment to identify all the factors contributing to the injury. This will consist of a thorough medical history to understand overall health status, training schedule, and the physical demands on the body. The chiropractor will develop a comprehensive program that includes manual and tool-assisted pain relief techniques, mobilization work, MET, core strengthening, targeted exercises, and injury prevention strategies.
Facet Syndrome Chiropractic Treatment
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A big part of sports is avoiding and preventing injuries, as injury prevention is far better than rehabilitation and recovery. This is where prehabilitation comes in. Prehabilitation is a personalized, constantly evolving, and developing strengthening exercise program. The program aims to provide sports-specific targeted exercises and activities to maintain athletes’ physical abilities and mental preparedness for their sport. The first step is for an athletic trainer, sports chiropractor, and physical therapist to examine the individual.
Everybody is different when it comes to developing an effective prehabilitation program. Every individual’s program should be progressive and re-evaluated to adapt and adjust to the athlete’s needs. The first step is learning to prevent injuries and following basic injury prevention protocols. Knowing what to do when the body sustains an injury, like home treatment and when it’s time to see a doctor.
Athletes of all levels are recommended to incorporate a prehabilitation program into their training. As athletes engage in their sport, their bodies adjust to the physical demands of practicing, playing, and training. Imbalances can happen naturally with normal activity but become more pronounced with each practice, game, and training session and often are the cause of injury. The repetitive movements and regular stresses can cause neuromusculoskeletal symptoms to present. This includes:
Tightness of muscle groups.
Pain and discomfort symptoms.
A chiropractic therapist will measure the individual’s range of motion and strength, biomechanics, evaluate medical history, and present health status. Individuals with an injury or a condition can also benefit from prehabilitation.
Each program is personalized and will address total body balance, sports-specific needs, and weaknesses.
The exercises will balance strength, coordination, range of motion, and stabilization.
The premise is looking at and comparing movements from left to right, front to back, and upper to lower body.
Activities can be subtle, focused exercises or a complex movement sequence to stabilize or improve a specific skill.
Programs focus on strengthening and stabilizing the core, abdominals, hips, and back.
Instability is common and often presents from a lack of core training, as athletes tend to focus on what parts of the body their specific sport utilizes, leaving the core without a regular training routine.
A prehabilitation program has to be constantly updated to adjust to the individual’s progress.
Tools like foam rollers, balance boards, weights, and exercise balls are used.
Prehabilitation should start before any acute or chronic injury occurs, but often it takes a few injuries for individuals to decide to get into a prehabilitation program. Depending on an athlete’s training cycle, prehabilitation can be incorporated into practice or as an independent workout and become part of an athlete’s training routine. A session can include the following:
Warm-up and cool-down exercises.
Exercises to perform while resting or waiting during practice.
A targeted workout on specific weaknesses.
A complete workout for days off or active rest days.
Mini workouts for when traveling and recovery days.
For athletes, feeling challenged and motivated can be the difference between success and failure. Working with a trainer, sports chiropractor, and therapists who know sports, understand athletic needs, and communicate well, will contribute to a successful prehabilitation program.
Improving Athletic Performance
Durrand, James et al. “Prehabilitation.” Clinical medicine (London, England) vol. 19,6 (2019): 458-464. doi:10.7861/clinmed.2019-0257
Giesche, Florian, et al. “Evidence for the effects of prehabilitation before ACL-reconstruction on return to sport-related and self-reported knee function: A systematic review.” PloS one vol. 15,10 e0240192. 28 Oct. 2020, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0240192
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Softball and baseball require running, jumping, throwing, and swinging movements. Even for the fittest athletes and weekend warriors, the body and the neuromusculoskeletal system will go through overuse injuries, throwing-related injuries, sliding injuries, falls, collisions, and getting hit by the ball. Chiropractic and physical therapy can assist athletes by integrating strength training, body realignment, and rehabilitation injury recovery.
Softball and Baseball Injuries
Baseball and softball injuries are generally defined as either acute/traumatic or cumulative/overuse injuries. Both types can occur in various body areas, for example, a knee injury caused by a fall or quick repositioning shift.
Injuries occur from traumatic force or impact.
These occur over time from repeated stress on the muscles, joints, and soft tissues.
Often athletes return too soon to play, not giving the injury enough time to heal fully.
They begin as small aches and pains that can progress into chronic conditions if not treated.
Shoulder overuse injuries are very common. Constantly performing the throwing movements and high-speed throwing strains the joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
In softball, bicep injuries are more common than shoulder injuries.
In baseball, the overhead throwing position leads to shoulder problems.
Characterized by a restricted range of motion and pain.
Athletes with frequent shoulder injuries have an increased risk.
Softball and baseball players are more susceptible to injury from overhead throwing, which stretches the shoulder capsule and ligaments.
Shoulder instability can lead to loose joints and dislocation.
This is the tearing of the ligaments that connect the shoulder blade to the collarbone.
This is often a traumatic injury that occurs during a collision or fall with outstretched hands.
Shoulder Tendinitis, Bursitis, and Impingement Syndrome
These are overuse injuries in which the shoulder joint becomes inflamed, restricting movement.
This is an injury to the growth plate on the inside of the elbow.
It can be caused by the wrist flexors pulling on the inside.
It is typically attributed to overuse and improper mechanics when throwing.
This overuse injury on the outside of the elbow makes it difficult to lift or grasp objects.
Hand and Wrist
Softball and baseball can cause hand and wrist injuries from catching, colliding, falling, and overuse. Damage to a hand or wrist is typically caused by repetitive stress and/or a sudden impact.
These can be caused by impact on the ball or falls.
This can happen during contact with another player or diving for a ball and hitting the ground hard or at an awkward angle.
A fall or impact from the ball or another player can cause these.
This is an overuse injury, often from pitching and/or throwing.
Catchers are especially prone to back injury because of the crouched position and overhead throwing.
Softball pitchers also experience back strain from the windmill pitching action.
Common conditions include chronic muscle strains, herniated discs, low back issues, sciatica symptoms, and pain.
Softball and baseball players quickly twist or rotate their knees, making them more susceptible to injuries. Sprains, meniscus tears, ACL tears, and hamstring strains are common.
Aggressive twisting and pivoting can cause swelling, stiffness, and pain.
Running and sudden changes in direction can result in acute knee injuries and overuse injuries.
Knee issues require examination for proper diagnosis.
Other common injuries include ankle sprains, stress fractures, and tendonitis in the foot and ankle.
Chiropractors work with a massage therapy team to treat various musculoskeletal conditions. Chiropractic specializes in spinal adjustments and other treatments, including joint manipulation, myofascial release, MET techniques, trigger point therapy, and electrical stimulation. It encourages expedited recovery for sports-related injuries because instead of focusing on just the injuries, chiropractic assesses the mechanics of the whole body through proper alignment and release of constricted tissues. Adjustments of the spine and extremities allow the body to realign for better overall functionality, reduce pressure, improve blood circulation, and reduce inflammation to promote increased and thorough healing.
Improving Athletic Performance Through Chiropractic
Greiner, Justin J et al. “Pitching Behaviors in Youth Fast-Pitched Softball: High Pitching Volumes With Unequal Pitch Counts Among Pitchers are Common.” Journal of pediatric orthopedics vol. 42,7 (2022): e747-e752. doi:10.1097/BPO.0000000000002182
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Sports exercise headaches are exertion headaches that involve pain during or immediately after sports, exercise, or some physical activity. They come on quickly but can last a few minutes, hours, or days. Activities associated with exercise headaches include running, weightlifting, tennis, swimming, and rowing. Chiropractic, massage, decompression, and traction therapies can realign the body and relax the muscles allowing for optimal circulation and certain strategies to help prevent future episodes. Usually, there is no underlying disease or disorder, but it is recommended to talk to a healthcare provider to make sure.
Sports Exercise Headaches
When individuals exert their bodies intensely, they need added blood and oxygen, particularly with activities that involve tightening/tensing the abdominal muscles or increasing chest pressure. Doctors and scientists believe an exertional headache occurs when intense physical activity causes the veins and arteries to expand to circulate more blood. The expansion and increased blood circulation generate pressure in the skull that can cause pain.
Exercising is not the only cause; other physical activities that can trigger an exertion headache include:
Straining to use the bathroom
Lifting or moving a heavy object
Symptoms of a sports exercise headache include:
Neck stiffness or pain
Pain on one or both sides of the head
Pulsating pain discomfort
Throbbing pain discomfort
Shoulder tightness, discomfort, and/or pain
Sometimes individuals report the headache can feel like a migraine that could include:
Vision problems like blind spots
Most exercise headaches last five to 48 hours and can continue for three to six months.
An underlying disease or disorder does not cause most exertional headaches. However, individuals experiencing severe or frequent headaches should consult their doctor or a healthcare provider. Tests will be ordered to rule out possible causes that include:
MRI will take computer-generated images of the brain.
A spinal tap/lumbar puncture takes a sample of fluid from the spine for testing.
If there is no underlying cause found, the medical provider can diagnose exertion headaches if there have been at least two headaches that:
Were caused by exercise or physical activity.
Started during or after the physical activity.
Lasted less than 48 hours.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, spinal adjustments are an effective headache treatment option. This includes migraines, tension headaches, or sports exercise headaches. Using the targeted approaches, chiropractic restores the body’s natural alignment to improve function and alleviate stress on the nervous system. This allows the body to operate at optimal levels reducing muscle stress and muscle tension.
The game of baseball takes a toll on the body, especially when players advance from little league to high school, college, minor league, and the pros. The most common baseball injuries can range from mild to severe, from normal wear and tear on the joints and muscles to repetitive stress injuries, collisions with other players, getting hit with the ball, or bodily trauma. A chiropractor can provide ideal treatment for players of all ages and levels with decreased downtime and expedited healing and recovery.
Although there have been a lot of advances in player safety and health, from helmets with face guards to shin and arm padding, the equipment lessens the impact and risks of injury. The game still involves running, sliding, twisting, and jumping, causing the body to maneuver awkwardly. Players often report sliding into first, feeling a pop or twisting to catch a fly ball, and feeling something snap. The most common injuries include:
Cartilage surrounding the shoulder joint socket, known as the labrum, often gets torn.
The soft tissue keeps the bones in place and provides stability.
Pitching and throwing motions stress the labrum.
With time, the cartilage begins to overstretch and tear, leading to swelling, shoulder pain, weakness, and overall instability.
Rotator Cuff Tears
The rotator cuff structure involves a complex set of tendons and muscles that stabilize the shoulder.
Pitchers are the most vulnerable, but all players are susceptible.
Cases are caused by not warming up and stretching correctly and repetitive/overuse movements.
Swelling and pain are the most common symptoms.
With a severe tear, a player will lose the ability to rotate the shoulder correctly.
Shoulder Instability or Dead Arm
This is when the shoulder muscles become overly fatigued, and the joint becomes unstable, losing the ability to throw precisely.
The condition is called dead arm by players and trainers.
This type of injury is caused by overuse and repeated stress.
Healing involves letting the shoulder rest for an extended period, but treatment, like chiropractic or physical therapy, could be recommended depending on the severity.
A pitcher’s elbow injury is caused by overuse and sustained/repeated damage to the tendons that rotate the wrist.
Pain and swelling occur along the inside of the elbow and forearm.
Wrist Tendonitis and Trauma
Wrist Tendonitis or tenosynovitis happens when the ligaments and tendons become tender, swollen, ruptured, or torn.
This causes inflammation, pain, and weakness.
Trauma injuries can result from collisions with another player, the ground, or a ball.
Knee Tears and Trauma
Knee injuries can be caused by normal wear and tear, overuse, or traumatic impact.
The fibrous bands are what stabilize and cushion the knee.
Overuse and any awkward movement can cause the tearing of the various ligaments.
The bands can develop micro-tears or complete ruptures, causing inflammation, pain, and instability.
Chiropractic Care and Rehabilitation
Chiropractic treatment and physical therapy have been found to help athletes maintain flexibility and range of motion, rehabilitate the body after an injury, and prevent new injuries or worsening of current injuries.
Chiropractic helps stretch and flex the muscles to stay limber and less prone to injury.
Chiropractic is a natural pain reliever for sore muscles and joint pain.
Physical therapy can strengthen an injured area during recovery and educate on proper form and techniques.
Taping and strapping can help support the elbows, wrists, ankles, and knees, reducing stress.
A combination of treatment approaches can help decrease recovery time so players can get back on the field.
Shoulder Adjustment Baseball Injuries
Bullock, Garrett S et al. “Shoulder Range of Motion and Baseball Arm Injuries: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Journal of athletic training vol. 53,12 (2018): 1190-1199. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-439-17
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Whenever stepping out onto a playing field or gym, there is a risk of suffering sports back injuries. Back pulls, strain and sprain injuries are the most common. Low back pain is one of the most prevalent complaints at all levels of competition. 90% of these acute back injuries will heal on their own, usually in about three months. However, sometimes these injuries can be more severe and require professional medical care. Treatment options for different groups of athletes include nonsurgical motorized spinal decompression.
Sports Back Injuries
Injury mechanisms vary from sport to sport, but there are recommendations regarding spinal decompression treatment for these injuries and return to play. Chiropractic healthcare specialists understand the sport-specific injury patterns and treatment guidelines for athletes following a back injury. Spinal decompression treatments are beneficial and result in higher rates of return to play depending on the specific sport of the injured athlete. A chiropractor will create a personalized spinal decompression treatment plan for the sport-specific context to meet the athlete’s short and long-term needs.
An estimated 10–15% of athletes will experience low back pain.
All types of sports place increased stress on the lumbar spine through physically demanding and repetitive movements/motions.
The repetitive shifting, bending, twisting, jumping, flexion, extension, and spinal axial loadingmotions contribute to low back pain even though the athletes are in top shape with increased strength and flexibility.
Injury patterns demonstrate the increased stresses that athletes place on the lumbar spine.
Common Spine Sports Injuries
Cervical Neck Injuries
Stingers are a type of neck injury.
A stinger is also known as a burner is an injury that happens when the head or neck gets hit to one side, causing the shoulder to be pulled in the opposite direction.
These injuries manifest as numbness or tingling in the shoulder from stretching or compressing the cervical nerve roots.
Lumbar Lower Back Sprains and Strains
When trying to lift too much weight or using an improper lifting technique when working out with weights.
Fast running, quick stopping, and shifting can cause the low back and hip muscles to get overly pulled/stretched.
Staying low to the ground and springing/jumping up can cause abnormal stretching or tearing of the muscle fibers.
Fractures and Injuries to the Supporting Spinal Structures
In sports that involve repetitive extension movements, spinal stress fractures are relatively common.
Excessive and repeated strain to the spinal column area leads to low back pain and injury.
Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression
Nonsurgical spinal decompression is motorized traction that is used to relieve compression pressure, restore spinal disc height, and relieve back pain.
Spinal decompression works to gently stretch the spine changing the force and position of the spine.
The gel-like cushions between the vertebrae are pulled to open up the spacing taking pressure off nerves and other structures.
This allows bulging or herniated discs to return to their normal position and promotes optimal circulation of blood, water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids into the discs to heal, as well as, injured or diseased spinal nerve roots.
DRX 9000 Decompression
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Squat exercises are highly effective, as they strengthen the back and core muscles, helping the prevention of injury. They can be done anywhere with or without equipment like weights and resistance bands and can be part of an aerobic workout. Squatting requires following proper form and posture. Using the improper form, adding too much weight too soon, overdoing it without enough recovery time can cause soreness, back pain, and injury. Having muscle soreness after performing squats is expected; however, if symptoms like chronic soreness, tingling, numbness, or sharp aches that come and go, begin to appear, it is recommended to consult a medical trainer, chiropractor, doctor, or spine specialist to evaluate the symptoms, and if necessary develop a treatment plan, as well as a prevention plan to continue exercising safely.
Squatting is a highly beneficial form of exercise. Athletes, trainers, coaches, and individuals just staying healthy use the technique as a part of their training and workouts. This is because squatting increases core muscle strength, increasing body power. Squat exercises benefits include:
Improved strength and a range of motion allow the body to move flawlessly in various directions with minimal effort.
Increased Core Strength
All major muscles work together during a squat.
This increases muscle stabilization, maintains body balance, increasing core strength.
Squats work all leg muscles simultaneously, synchronizing the body.
This increases body stability decreasing the risk of injury.
Back Pain and Potential Injury
The spine is exposed and unprotected during a squat. This is where back pain and injury can happen. Potential causes include:
A chiropractor or physical therapist will be able to evaluate spinal health, exercise form, and advise if there is an issue.
Achieve Health and Fitness Goals By Doing What You Enjoy
Don’t engage in workouts or fitness programs that make you miserable. Do workouts/activities that you enjoy and have fun doing. Exercise for the love of the body, keeping it healthy and in shape, not because there is a feeling of obligation.
Individuals who don’t like lifting weights try using resistance bands or bodyweight exercises.
The same goes for nutrition. Don’t base diet and supplement choices on misperceptions about health.
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Zawadka, Magdalena et al. “Altered squat movement pattern in patients with chronic low back pain.” Annals of agricultural and environmental medicine: AAEM vol. 28,1 (2021): 158-162. doi:10.26444/aaem/117708
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