It is estimated that about 27 million Americans visit a doctors of chiropractic each year, and millions more receive chiropractic care throughout the rest of the world. Chiropractic is the third largest primary health care field (after medicine and dentistry).
Chiropractic is a branch of the healing arts which is based upon the understanding that good health depends, in part, upon a normally functioning nervous system (especially the spine, and the nerves extending from the spine to all parts of the body).
"Chiropractic" comes from the Greek word Chiropraktikos, meaning "effective treatment by hand." Chiropractic stresses the idea that the cause of many disease processes begins with the body's inability to adapt to its environment.
It looks to address these diseases not by the use of drugs and chemicals, but by locating and adjusting a musculoskeletal area of the body which is functioning improperly.
The conditions which doctors of chiropractic address are as varied and as vast as the nervous system itself.
We use a standard procedure of examination to diagnose a patient's condition and arrive at a course of treatment. Chiropractors use the same time-honored methods of consultation, case history, physical examination, laboratory analysis and x-ray examination as any other doctor. In addition, they provide a careful chiropractic structural examination, paying particular attention to the spine.
The examination of the spine to evaluate structure and function is what makes chiropractic different from other health care procedures. Your spinal column is a series of movable bones which begin at the base of your skull and end in the center of your hips. Thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves extend down the spine from the brain and exit through a series of openings. The nerves leave the spine and form a complicated network which influences every living tissue in your body.
Accidents, falls, stress, tension, overexertion, and countless other factors can result in a displacements or derangements of the spinal column, causing irritation to spinal nerve roots. These irritations are often what cause malfunctions in the human body. Chiropractic teaches that reducing or eliminating this irritation to spinal nerves can cause your body to operate more efficiently and more comfortably.
We also places an emphasis on nutritional and exercise programs, wellness and lifestyle modifications for promoting physical and mental health. While chiropractors make no use of drugs or surgery, Doctors of chiropractic do refer patients for medical care when those interventions are indicated. In fact, chiropractors, medical doctors, physical therapists and other health care professionals now work as partners in occupational health, sports medicine, and a wide variety of other rehabilitation
By their very nature, sports and other kinds of recreational activities are inherently risky ventures for your entire body, none the least being your neck, spine, joints, and muscles. If you or your children are active participants, proper body conditioning is as essential as the equipment used in these kinds of activities.
Though there is no such thing as a "safe" sport, highly competitive sports, such as football, weightlifting, gymnastics, and wrestling, pose particularly higher risks of injuries, especially among children.
According to experts, as much as 20 percent of all sports-related injuries involve the lower back or neck. Running and weightlifting, and other sports that involve repetitive impact, expose children to a high risk for lumbar (lower back) injuries. Contact sports, such as soccer and football, expose the cervical spine (neck) to injury. More than one-third of all high school football players sustain some type of injury. Soccer participants are easy candidates for mild to severe head traumas, neck injuries, cervical spine damage, headache, neck pain, dizziness, irritability, and insomnia. Heading the ball, the act of using the head to re-direct the soccer ball, has been linked with cervical injuries in children and adults. The trampoline and gymnastics also present significant risks for spinal cord injuries from unexpected and brute falls or contact with hard surfaces
There is no substitute for proper conditioning, both long-term and just before play, and its role in preventing injury or minimizing the impact of injuries sustained during participation.
Here are some warm-up tips:
- Low-impact activities, such as walking, will help gradually increase the flow of warmed blood to the muscles and ligaments of the back. This helps to prepare those muscles for the work they'll be called on to do during the activity.
- To prepare for winter sports, such as skiing, skating, sledding, and tobogganing, do simple squats, lunges, and knee-to-chest stretches.
- Simple lower-back and upper back stretches, as well as hamstring and quadriceps stretches, can help you stay flexible and limber.
- After you have finished playing, don't ever neglect the all-important cool-down, which allows your muscles to return to their normal relaxed state. Without this important step, you run the risk of having your muscles tighten up or cramp
Even so-called minor sports-related injuries may require that you seek medical treatment.
For minor injuries, such as sprains or strains, follow the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) protocol. Apply ice on the site of a minor sprain or bruise at least until any noticeable swelling has dissipated. Avoid keeping ice applied for more than 20 minutes because ice can actually begin wearing out your blood vessels, which in turns, increases the likelihood of additional swelling. After an hour has passed, re-apply an ice pack to the site if pain or swelling has not gone away. Make sure to contact your physician if pain or swelling persists.
Tips for your kids:
- Always strive to maintain the recommended weight for your child's age and size‚Ã„Ã®not the rigors of the sport.
- Be wary of so-called energy or power bars. Don't allow your child to load up on candy bars or carbonated drinks before or during a game. These foods will sap energy. Sports drinks are a better alternative.
- Encourage proper conditioning, including a supervised weight-training program.
- Ensure your child is well rested before an event. A tired body is much more prone to suffering an injury.
- Insist on warm-up exercises before any sports activity.
- Invest in and wear proper equipment, including safety equipment such as mouth guards, shatterproof goggles, and elbow and kneepads. If any equipment is excessively worn, replace it immediately.
Never forget the importance of proper nutrition (avoid high-fat foods, such as candy bars and fast food) and hydration (at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day).