An active lifestyle has many health benefits. Unfortunately, intense activity can also make you more likely to get injured. Hamstring pulls, ACL tears, and back and neck trauma are common types of sports-related injuries. It can be frustrating when an injury like this takes you out of the game. You may wonder how you can speed up the healing process or be active safely while injured. Most professional sports organizations, including the NFL and MLB, hire their own chiropractors to treat injured athletes and help prevent injuries. Here’s how you can use chiropractic care and lifestyle changes to heal faster:
Laser Therapy For Sports Injuries
Laser therapy is an FDA-approved treatment that uses red and near-infrared spectrums of light to stimulate healing on a cellular level. The light works on human cells in a similar way as photosynthesis works in plants. The body depends on blood flow and cellular reactions for the healing process. However, sometimes blood flow is not as robust as it needs to be, and healing stalls. Laser therapy helps the body bring blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the injured area. It also causes your body to release endorphins (natural painkillers) and encourages cells to release other chemicals that aid in healing. The result is decreased inflammation, pain relief, and faster recovery.
Laser therapy can treat common soft tissue and joint injuries such as tennis elbow and strains and sprains. It can also be used after surgery to decrease inflammation and healing time.
Most patients find laser therapy sessions relaxing and comfortable. The process is non-invasive and quick– sessions usually last twenty minutes or less. Your chiropractor will set up a treatment plan tailored to your needs. You may need to come in for a few sessions a week at first and then taper off as healing progresses. Most patients notice a reduction in swelling and pain right away.
Laser therapy is most effective when used early on after an injury or surgery, but older injuries can also benefit. For example, if you have a repetitive use injury that causes chronic pain, laser therapy can help by reducing inflammation and increasing the range of motion. Studies have shown that 71% of patients with chronic back pain experience significant relief after completing a course of laser therapy treatments. Best of all, laser therapy is safe and typically side-effect-free.
Acoustic Compression for Excess Scar Tissue
Many athletes deal with decreased flexibility and range of motion caused by injures that healed with too much internal scar tissue. Acoustic compression is the most effective way to break up this excess scar tissue and encourage healthier healing. Acoustic compression uses sound waves that are over 1000x stronger than those used in ultrasounds. The technology was initially used to break up kidney stones. Doctors found that patients reported that backaches and stiffness unrelated to kidney stones were improving after the treatment. The short, intense sound waves stimulate cells by causing tiny vibrations. These vibrations break down excess scar tissue, stimulate blood flow and desensitize nerves. This last benefit makes acoustic compression ideal for repetitive use injuries or chronic pain that lingers after an injury has healed. In addition, acoustic compression treatments stop the overactive nerves from sending signals to the brain.
Acoustic compression is equally beneficial to athletes with recent injuries that are still healing. Excess scar tissue formation can be prevented by treating the injured area during the healing process. The result is a healthier heal that doesn’t restrict the range of motion or cause chronic pain.
Treatments are non-invasive and comfortable. Your provider can adjust the sound wave intensity to suit your needs, so you don’t experience pain during treatment. Acoustic compression is FDA approved, and mild, short-term swelling is the only side effect. This happens as part of the healing process and goes away within a day or two. The net effect of acoustic compression is a reduction in inflammation and pain. Treatment is personalized to you, and sessions are short and convenient.
Chiropractic Care for Athletes
Spinal manipulation has many benefits for athletes. Studies have shown that injured athletes heal faster when they are under chiropractic care. Regular spinal adjustment has also been proven to significantly improve range of motion, decrease the risk of injury, and aid with muscle recovery.
Chiropractic adjustment aims to correct subluxations in the spine that affect the nervous system. Since the nervous system plays a role in coordination, immunity, and every other body function, a healthy nervous system is the key to fast healing. Seeing your chiropractor on a regular basis can boost your athletic performance and reduce your risk of injury. If you’ve already been injured, adjustment can encourage fast and complete healing.
Chiropractic adjustment is safe and effective and can reduce your chances of needing surgery or addictive medications.
How to Have an Active Recovery
One of the primary concerns among injured athletes is how to remain in shape while healing from an injury. The above treatments will help your body’s healing processes work optimally, but there are some other things you can do at home (or the gym).
Consider taking up a new sport or exercise that uses different parts of your body. For instance, if you hurt your shoulder lifting weights, try running until you are healed. Water aerobics and swimming are great for injured athletes because they are gentle on your joints and encourage blood flow to muscles. Swimming also strengthens the core muscles. This can help treat and prevent back pain.
Your chiropractor will most likely prescribe at-home exercises and stretches in addition to your in-office treatments. Following this routine as prescribed is a vital part of healing quickly. You are only in the office a few times a week. What you do at home every other day has a massive impact on how well those in-office sessions are able to work. Don’t be shy about asking your chiropractor for advice on exercising safely while you recover. Chiropractors are experts on body mechanics and are happy to advise patients on how to use good posture and healthy habits to prevent reinjury.
Chiropractic Care for Athletes in Michigan
Burkhart Chiropractic provides the cutting-edge treatment for sports injuries you need to get back in the game. Give us a call to schedule a consultation.