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Posted on 08-02-2017

When you think of the chiropractor, chances are you think about your back and your neck right? Well, we also treat all kinds of other injuries in all kinds of other body parts. Whether you've hurt your shoulder throwing a baseball, your elbow playing golf, your knee from running, or whatever other body part from whatever other sport/training regimen, we're here to help! And now that we're in the middle of weekend warrior season, it's also getting to be the middle of sports injury season. Here's what you need to know about your sport related injury

 Sometimes sports injuries need to be treated a little bit differently than other conditions. More often than not, athletes (yes, if you're playing a sport then we consider you an athlete, even if you can't dunk or bicycle kick) get injured because their body isn't prepared to accommodate the demands of the sport. Whether you're not strong enough, not flexible enough, or your endurance isn't good enough, some part of your body couldn't handle what you were asking it to do, and that's how you got injured. So what do we do about it?

First and foremost, we need to decrease inflammation. What that typically entails is active rest, and ice/compression if the injury is new and there's some swelling. What do I mean by active rest? I mean keep the injured part moving in a safe, non-aggravating way. How we do this depends on the body part, but the basic idea is that the best way to decrease inflammation and limit range of motion loss is by continuing to move the injured joint/muscle with minimal load. Once we know nothing is broken, ruptured, or torn, gentle movement will maintain and improve your range of motion, help with pain control, and get you back to normal fastest. Range of motion will increase gradually as inflammation decreases, until you're back at a full, healthy range of motion.

Once you've got a full range of motion back, we can start the real fun stuff: the strengthening phase! This is the point where it's important to not only know what you've hurt, but why you got hurt in the first place. So maybe you hurt your knee because your hips are strong enough, or your back got injured because your core strength is lacking. Improving your weaknesses is both how you get back to doing the fun stuff, and it's also how you make sure you don't get hurt again.

As you get stronger, we can start to get you back into your sport again. We don't want to just throw you back in with no restrictions, because that's how you get hurt again, and often worse. For athletic injuries, we're not just limited by pain levels, but by functional capacity. Your body might not hurt but that doesn't mean it's ready to run a marathon or sprint 200 meters. It's not responsible to go back at it 100% when your body can only handle 70%. I'm not saying there aren't extenuating circumstances where we might rush somebody back faster than is ideal, but in an ideal world you should be stronger and more capable when you finish care than you were before you got injured.

I should also mention that sometimes it makes sense to have more than one person in your health care team. In the acute phase, you might need to see an orthopedist for pain control or to get fitted for the right brace. In the strengthening phase, we might have you see a physical therapist who can spend more time with you going through exercises to make sure you're doing things right. Also, every injury presents a little bit differently, so sometimes you spend a lot of time in a particular phase, sometimes you skip a phase all together.

If this all sounds too complicated and you just want your knee to stop hurting so you can run, here's the short version: First we get you moving normally again, then you have to get moving better than that so you don't get hurt again. That's it! So next time your knee starts hurting in the middle of your run, just think, "Oh boy! This is my chance to get stronger so I can be a better runner when I recover!"

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I came to see Dr. Lowey for low back pain that spread into my hip and leg. I had been suffering with this for about six months. Dr. Ken has given me outstanding treatment; I'm pain free! So if you ask me how I feel about Chiropractic - this is what I would say "Won't leave home without it

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