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Sports and Fitness
Who participates in sports and fitness
First the good news! The expanding interest in health and
wellness is reflected in the growth of participation in sports
and fitness activities. The increases are not only in organized
sports. People are committing considerable time and money
to individual programs of exercise. Some simply want to get
in better shape or stay that way. Others hope to cope with
physical deficits caused by illness or aging. All want to
have a good time while improving their health rather than
letting it deteriorate.
Everywhere, men, women, children and seniors (even people
with relatively serious physical disabilities) are involved
in fitness programs. They are working out, swimming, jogging,
running (or just walking regularly) bicycling, playing racquetball,
roller blading, using exercise equipment, training with weights,
rock climbing, dancing, doing aerobics and yoga and Tai Chi
Chuan, and engaging in one or more of innumerable other activities
for fitness and fun.
Adults and children are engaging in all sorts of individual
and team sports. Youth soccer attracts more participants every
year. Interscholastic, intramural and league baseball, softball,
football, volleyball, wrestling and bowling are just some
of the competitive and recreational sports people pursue.
Golf and tennis remain enormously popular and represent two
ends of the wide spectrum of exercise options availablefrom
sports requiring relatively little physical effort to those
that are extremely demanding.
Of course, professional and serious amateur sports involve
large numbers of talented athletes. To ensure that they can
play at their peak without hurting themselves and to assist
them if they do experience injuries, they rely on highly skilled
trainers and health care professionals, whose numbers include
specially educated and certificated chiropractors. Many pros,
top amateurs and famous champions in professional, intercollegiate
and Olympic sports loyally turn to their chiropractors for
assessment, adjustment, guidance and treatment to get a performance
edge by enhancing their strength, flexibility and endurance.
What are some of the typical health
concerns of people who engage in sports and are interested
in maintaining fitness?
Now the not-so-good news. There are problems and risks associated
with engaging in sports and physical fitness activities.
Backs, necks, shoulders, knees, ankles, wrists, fingers and
toesin fact, most bones, joints and connective tissuesare
subject to misuse and injury when people play hard. Seniors,
individuals long out of shape or with disabilities, children
who haven't yet learned how to protect themselves during physical
exertion, and adolescents whose bodies are changing rapidly
are among those at even greater risk than men and women in
fairly good shape.
Among the causes of sports-related injuries are:
Overreaching, overdoing it, pushing too hard to
achieve health or performance goals;
Failing to use good judgment to avoid injuries;
Not knowing your limitations, or knowing them but
driving yourself beyond them in the heat of competition
and the desire to perform more and better;
Trying to recapture a lost (or even an imaginary)
past of youth and vigor when you excelled almost effortlessly
at physical contests and pastimes you now may find so difficult
and demanding that they are, realistically, nearly impossible
Playing all out with insufficient warm-ups, nutrition,
training, and guidance;
Not receiving the most appropriate and conservative
treatment possible for injuries that do occur;
Failing to recuperate fully after injuries or overexertion
because you can't wait to "get back into the game."
What can chiropractic do?
Chiropractic is ideally suited to helping you deal with the
many pains and strains that can result from playing sports
and pursuing physical fitness programs. Chiropractors have
expertise in dealing with spine-nerve problems, with range-of-motion
and biomechanical issues often central to what makes people
prone to sports-related injuries.
Among health care professionals, chiropractors are some of
the most actively involved in sports-related conditioning,
injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.
A chiropractor can examine you before you begin or change
a program of physical activities. This is especially important
before you engage in competitive sports or try something like
a marathon, which might put significant strain on your body,
and particularly on the back and joints.
A doctor of chiropractor can help you assess your athletic
and exercise/fitness goals and analyze your motivation to
prevent injuries caused by going beyond sensible activity
limits given your age, health profile, preexisting conditions,
and any other factors. And he or she can offer training and
nutrition suggestions, do periodic reevaluations to monitor
your progress toward your fitness or competition goals, and
work to prevent and treat injuries and rehabilitate you if
you are injured.
Chiropractic creates an atmosphere of mutual trust in which
patients can be confident that their feelings and needs are
appreciated and will be dealt with appropriately. This makes
chiropractic especially effective in dealing with issues and
problems associated with sports and fitness. Patients need
to keep their health care providers informed of what they
are doing and how they feel. Chiropractors listen and they
keep their patients aware of how best to prepare themselves
for exercise or competition and are there to help if overexertion
or accident causes an injury.
Many professional and high-level amateur athletes depend
on chiropractic to protect them from costly and career-threatening
injuries. They want any injuries they sustain to be managed
in the most conservative way to lessen their "down time"
from the athletic activities that are so important in their
lives. Chiropractors are devoted to such conservative care,
meaning they provide appropriate and effective injury management
that may make surgery and the use of dangerous or debilitating
medications unnecessary, except as a last resort.
Look for chiropractors with special training and certification
in diagnosing, evaluating and managing sports injuries and
in providing preventive health care for men, women, young
people and seniors engaged in athletics and physical fitness
Other Resources :
More You Know About Sports
Articles on Sports and Fitness
White J. Alternative sports medicine.
The Physician and Sportsmedicine, June 1998; vol. 26,
no. 6 (On Internet at http://www.physsportsmed.com/issues/1998/06jun/white.htm).
Haldeman S. Spinal manipulative theory and sports medicine.
Clinical Sports Medicine, 1986; vol. 5, no. 2.
Schafer RC. Chiropractic management of sports and
recreational injuries, 2nd ed., Baltimore: Williams &
Hyde TE, Gengenbach MS, eds. Conservative management
of sports injuries, Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1986.
Irvin RS. Sports medicine prevention: Evaluation,
management and rehabilitation. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall,
Nook BC, Nook DD. Demographics of athletes and support
personnel who used chiropractic physicians at the 6th all
African games. Journal of Sports Chiropractic & Rehabilitation,
Dec. 1997; vol. 11, no. 4, pp136-39.
American Dietetic Association. Position of the American
Dietetic Association and the Canadian Dietetic Association:
Nutrition for physical fitness and athletic performance for
adults, Journal of American Dietetic Association, 1993;
vol. 93, pp691-96.