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Chiropractic has been around since 1895 and is like the rest of the medical field with regards to specialists. Within chiropractic, there are sports, nutritional, pediatric, neurologic, radiologic, and many more types of specialists. Most people are unclear of exactly what Sports Chiropractic is and when you should see a Sports Chiropractor. Let’s create some awareness about this specialty because it has been used to help many people.

Chiropractic Sports Specialists are expert physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of sports related injuries. Chiropractic Sports Specialists are proficient in injury prevention and rehabilitation measures, and have sound knowledge base of return-to-play criteria. Since chiropractors are primary physicians, we are able to diagnose and treat injuries without a prescription from other doctors, unlike a physical therapist. We also have to pass a physiotherapy board exam before we are allowed to practice which qualifies us to perform physical therapy procedures.

If an injury is catastrophic, meaning there is an obvious fracture, tear, neurological dysfunction, or wound, the hospital emergency room is always your best option. For all other aches and pains, both acute and chronic, a Sports Chiropractor is a great #1 option.

Sports Chiropractors have undergone post-graduate studies that gives them a background in sports specific related injuries. Sports Chiropractors have been an important part of athletic performance for many years and are an intricate part of a Sports Medicine team. Bill Moreau, DC, DACBSP, CSCS, is Director of Sports Medicine for the US Olympic Committee. Yes, the head doctor for the US Olympic athletes is a Sports Chiropractic physician.

“How is a Sports Chiropractor different from an Orthopedic” is a common question we get asked in our office. Sports Chiropractors will use orthopedic and neurological testing, as well as imaging, to diagnose the athlete, which is similar to a medical orthopedic. The difference lies in the treatment options. Sports Chiropractors traditionally use advanced massage based techniques, chiropractic manipulation, specific exercises and modalities, which are treatments consisting of non-surgical therapeutic devices to improve healing. Orthopedics usually offer rest, medication, injections and surgery as their option for treatments.

A Sports Chiropractor diagnoses the patient, then determines if their therapies or another doctor’s therapies are the most appropriate way to treat the patient. Sports Chiropractors will often see a patient before an Orthopedic and refer out for an Orthopedic consultation if we feel that the injury is too far advanced for our non-surgical/non-medicinal options. A Sports Chiropractor should have a great relationship with an Orthopedic and co-manage the patient with them as well as physical therapists, acupuncturists and other talented therapists when a team approach is necessary.

Many of today’s athletes utilize a sports chiropractor to prevent injury and to improve biomechanical and neuromuscular function with the ultimate goal of enhancing performance. As of 2015, all 32/32 NFL teams now have an official team Chiropractor while 27/30 MLB teams have an official team Chiropractor (the other 3 teams allow the players to consult Chiropractors). Almost every NBA team has an official team Chiropractor as well. In 2006, a study analyzing Division I NCAA college athletes at inter-college sporting events in Hawaii found that chiropractic usage within the last 12 months was reported by 39% of respondents.

The take home message here is that we are primary care physicians, you can see us without a prescription, we diagnose, treat non-surgically, and refer out to the appropriate specialty if it is in the patient’s best interest. It is great to use a Sports Chiropractor as your primary physician for all injuries that are not catastrophic. Working with athletes is a truly rewarding profession where we expect to positively change our patient’s lives and get great results fast.

To learn more about Sports Chiropractors, visit:

American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians –

Professional Football Chiropractic Society –

and of course Sports Chiropractic and Natural Health Solutions –

Written By:

Christopher Knapp, DC

Todd Rodman, DC, CCSP, CSCS

Dr. Todd Rodman is the founder of Sports Chiropractic & Natural Health Solutions. He has practiced advanced non-surgical sports medicine in Boca Raton, Fl since 2009.

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