• Blog >
  • Sports Chiropractic Versus Traditional Chiropractic
RSS Feed

Sports Chiropractic Versus Traditional Chiropractic



As with most types of health care, there is specialized care that goes beyond the scope of general practice. Most people will have a family doctor who is a general practitioner but sometimes need specialists who are not only trained in general practice but target a specific health care area as well. This could be something such as a surgeon, oncologist, or pediatric specialist. There are also specialties outside of physician care such as physiotherapists, dieticians, and RMT’s just to name a few.

Chiropractic care is part of this larger health care field. Chiropractic doctors can also specialize beyond their initial educational designation. A Sports Chiropractor is one of those specialty areas of practice that can enhance care beyond the scope of traditional health care or even regular chiropractic care.

The Difference Between Sports and Traditional Chiropractic Care

Traditional chiropractic care looks to address regular spinal pain with a focus on the low and mid-back. They can also work on other joints and areas with a chiropractic adjustment. However, sports chiropractic goes more in-depth to target the musculoskeletal system completely rather than simply the traditional route of care. A sports chiropractor is going to target areas beyond the traditional spine work and have a more focused approach to the area of injury. The Doctor may work on ankle and knee injuries, strained muscles and other areas of the body that are not related to the spine. 

The types of treatments that sports chiropractic offers will focus more on injuries that extend beyond the spine to help improve athletic performance. The most commonly treated injuries in a sports focus practice are hip and knee so there is a focus on hip flexor muscles, gluteal muscles and core strengthening. Sports chiropractic can also do rehab types of treatment that include strengthening and stretching as needed. Targeted care for sports-type injuries can help with faster healing and well-being.

Sports chiropractic is not just for the professional athlete with a sports injury. Injuries happen to amateur athletes and in the non-sports world as well. It can happen to all ages be it 8 or 80 years old. Tennis elbow happens even if the patient doesn’t necessarily play tennis. Teasel Chiropractic says “You don’t have to be an athlete and sustain an injury during a sporting event. There are lots of jobs and occupations that can also cause an injury that is similar to sporting injuries and could be addressed by a sports chiropractic approach.”  It’s the healing of an injury that is paramount rather than how the injury happened. The diagnosis is of tennis elbow from long hours typing on a keyboard versus swinging a tennis racquet doesn’t change because the injury input was different. Treatment is for the diagnosis. 

It is important to make sure that the sports chiropractor has a good general knowledge of care along with great myofascial techniques when working with particular muscles. They should also have a good knowledge of rehab since that is often the focus of what these types of injuries require. Modalities are important as well as is knowledge of nutrition and other supporting experience. All of these things can greatly increase the benefit of sports chiropractic care in healing the injury.

However, while all this chiropractic knowledge is needed, the educational requirements of a sports chiropractor do not include advanced training or educational requirements over traditional chiropractic care. Both types of care are based on the same schooling. That being said, there are extra qualifications that can be acquired.

Sports chiropractors should have a good background in soft tissue modalities if they are going to specialize in this field of chiropractic care along with extra education that highlights rehab or particular techniques if they may be using beyond general chiropractic care. If a sports chiropractor is making particular claims about their practice, then they should have additional training in that area be it techniques, nutrition or other sports health fields.

How Do You Know if You Should See a Sports Chiropractor?

Much of the decision on seeing a sports chiropractor versus a traditional one is founded on preference. Some people want a traditional style simply because they want a quick, traditional chiropractic adjustment and are not fond of soft tissue therapies. However, others who have chronic tension tightness or extremity injuries to the shoulder, hip or knee then will be served better by going to a sports chiropractic office. If a patient wants to go to a traditional chiropractor then that can certainly still help them with pain relief of their injuries and certainly can include treatment of athletes. The healing may be more limited and may include fewer targeted techniques and processes.

The key thing with a sports chiropractor is to get the injury treated sooner rather than later. Treating an injury sooner with physical therapy means it will heal better and more quickly. Studies show that if you work on and mobilize an injury within 24-48 hours of that injury happening the prognosis is better than simply regular rest and icing it. A primary care provider will often offer a type of care that tells the patient to rest and ice the injury along with the patient taking ibuprofen or Advil. Traditional chiropractic may focus on an adjustment of the area that sustained the injury. In sports chiropractic, however, they will mobilize, do some soft tissue therapy that may include electric muscle stimulation, ultrasound, creeping techniques and other things that will help accelerate healing. They will target the injury quickly to get the healing process started. 

Final Thoughts

When someone is in pain and needs an injury treated, specific chiropractic care can help. While traditional chiropractic treatment including spinal manipulation can be beneficial, sports chiropractors can take that treatment to the next level and not only provide healing but injury prevention. Having an injury targeted for healing quickly and efficiently can reduce pain and speed up the injury healing so the patient is on the road to recovery. It’s a good way to feel better and be able to get back into the action sooner rather than later.