Faster return to exercise and work and faster recovery from injury according to the latest chiropractic research
Sports-related injuries not only cause physical damage to athletes and other active people, but can also cause psychological damage.
For example, a review of the literature shows that injuries are often associated with “depression, tension, anger, and low self-esteem”. Additionally, these emotions tend to be even more common when these athletes are competitive and / or when exposed to more severe injury.
Researchers conducting the review also suggest that these negative psychological responses appear to be related to the athlete’s perceived progress toward their rehabilitation. The more they felt that their progress was not where it should be, the less likely they were to attend their necessary treatment sessions.
Research has found that chiropractic care can sometimes promote faster recovery from injuries that are common in the world of sports – injuries like lower back pain.
Chiropractic for back pain relief
The World Health Organization estimates that 60-70% of all adults living in developed countries will experience lower back pain at some point in their life. That makes pain in that area of the body the leading cause of absenteeism and limited activity around the world.
Researchers at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland, Oregon also suggest that lower back pain is also common in athletes. In an article published in Sports Health, some of these scientists state that while there are few superior treatment modalities for athletes with back pain, spinal manipulation therapy is one of the “most strongly supported evidence-based therapies” along with superficial heat to recover from injury.
A study that found similar positive results compared the perception of pain and disability in patients with lower back pain, some of whom were treated through chiropractic and others in a pain clinic. After eight weeks, the group who received chiropractic reported a 5.5 point improvement in their Roland-Morris disability questionnaire than those observed in the clinic. They also reported less pain while recovering from the injury.
Chiropractic and Lower Limb Injuries
Some of the most common sports injuries affect the lower extremities. For example, people who play soccer are more prone to sprains, knee injuries, and strain on their quads, hamstrings, and groins, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. For people who play basketball, Achilles tendonitis, hamstring infections, and ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears can also be added to the list.
In a study published by the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, researchers found that conservative rehabilitation efforts often do not fully help patients with pathological conditions in their knee joints. Often times, they are unable to achieve full muscle strength and function recovery, which is likely due to high levels of muscle inhibition.
However, after treating 18 patients with unilateral or bilateral anterior knee pain with high-speed, low-amplitude impacts to correct for sacroiliac joint dysfunction, there was a decrease in muscle inhibition, reducing this potential problem of treatment effectiveness.
Chiropractic versus Other Care
When a sports injury occurs, it is not uncommon for athletes to seek physical therapy, exercise therapy, or other forms of medical care to correct or rehabilitate the affected area. How do these treatment modalities compare to chiropractic in terms of effectiveness?
A systematic review in 2016 looked at five randomized controlled trials that each compared chiropractic care to at least one of these specific modalities when there was lower back pain. After reviewing all the results, the researchers concluded that chiropractic and physical therapy are equally effective. While it would appear that this applies to both exercise therapy and medical care, the researchers were unable to specifically draw that conclusion.
Another study published in JAMA Network Open in 2018 found that treating injuries often gave better results when more than one modality was part of the treatment regimen.
In particular, the effectiveness of medical care was compared to chiropractic medical care.
After treating 750 active military personnel over a six-week period, chiropractic was found to moderately improve both pain intensity and disability in the short term, prompting researchers to recommend a multidisciplinary approach for the best results in recovery from Injuries.