What is Sports Chiropractic? (Do We Even Know?)

What is Evidence Based Treatment?

According to Wikipedia:

  1. The individual or organization possesses comparative evidence about the effects of the specific practice in comparison to the effects of at least one alternative practice.
  2. The specific practice is supported by this evidence according to at least one of the individual’s or organization’s preferences in the given practice area.
  3. The individual or organization can provide a sound account for this support by explaining the evidence and preferences that lay the foundation for the claim.

There are many applications of evidence-based treatment in Chiropractic. Students and D.C.s alike have fallen prey to “studies” paid for by special interests making claims that the “educated” believe to be gospel. Every Chiropractic encounter can collect data that changes the method of practice through learning and development of one’s own applications – that’s why it is said that every Chiropractor owns their own technique. We Treat, Learn, Adapt with each patient exposure.[1]

Chiropractic Risks of Caring for Athletes in Contest?

  • Injury to Athlete
  • Injury to Athlete Performance
  • Lost Athlete Revenue
  • Injury to Chiropractor
  • Injury to Reputation of Chiropractic
  • Exclusion of Chiropractic in Athletics

The risks for treatment applications during an athletic event can be equal to or worse than doing the wrong treatment! Safe and effective treatment from a Chiropractor should focus on the proper execution of the adjustment and protocols of that adjustment to the specific needs of an athlete and their sport. No, not ALL Chiropractic techniques are good for all sports!

Are Minimalist Approaches Working? Generic Sports Care? Drinking Kool-Aid?

It’s almost embarrassing to see new D.C.s going to sporting events and pulling out all their fancy “sports tools”; battery operated massagers, scraping devices, stretching athletes improperly, or dry-needling an athlete through their shorts risking introducing bacteria into the body! From low risk to death, the extremes and lack of critical thinking can be devastating to Chiropractic as well as the athletes that we should know how and when to treat with appropriate measures. The irony is that the Chiropractic adjustment can eliminate the need for the majority of the nonsensical tools that many feel the need to carry with them in the field of competition. Sadly, many just have not been taught how.

The concept of a certification for D.C.s was relatively new when I graduated as a D.C. in 1997, but very organized and well developed. I too took a course to expand my horizons but felt that the program led me away from what the Chiropractic adjustment could do to athlete performance meanwhile changing my designation to Athletic Trainer when that position was already established and occupied. Programs today seem to lack a focus of Chiropractic centered adjustment methods for the enhanced performance of athletes.

The Answer – Engagement in Athletic Care:

Understanding the nature of each athlete encounter and the sport that they compete allows each of us to expand methodologies and develop skills that may be underdeveloped in the safety of our clinics. However, the basics in practice such as the inter-relational aspects of exam, x-rays, and neurobiomechanical interpretation are a necessary foundation for complete situational understanding when exposed to complexities in the field of competition. Developing skills while the D.C. treats in the arena WILL affect and RE-ENFORCE their clarity in differential diagnosis which may create a skilled amalgam of office clinical procedures and the sports related experiences if crucial steps are not excluded in both venues! The provider misses an opportunity to collect data if steps are skipped.

For example, using the 27 markers from the P.C.C.R.P. guidelines for radiographic utilization developed by ICA scientists then comparing data collected during examination and treatments create a level of certainty for the sports focused Chiropractor when on the side-lines caring for the team. More data means better outcomes if we believe the concept of “evidence-based” Chiropractic!

ICA Council on Fitness & Sports Health Science:

The ICA-CFSHS has a purpose of re-engineering the concept of Chiropractic sports treatment centered on the Chiropractic adjustment as the primary application before, during and after athletic competition.

The intent of this article is not to “call-out” anyone or any certification program, but rather to highlight behaviors developed by colleges and programs that have created an echo-chamber of group-think methodologies that just make Chiropractors ineffective.

Unfortunately, sport care is NOT academic! When on the side-lines, there are no check boxes or multiple-choice answers that lock the Sports Chiropractor into a correct answer. Most of the time the answer is fluid and oftentimes in a grey area of certainty.

The ICA-CFSHS is being redesigned to create many learning opportunities presented by seasoned and experienced Sports Chiropractic providers in a wide variety of athletic types. Practical applications of Chiropractic adjustment at the right time, for the right sport, for the right reasons.

Join our mission to create an environment for learning and fellowship encompassing Chiropractic adjustment as the treatment of choice for athletes in all sports from around the world!

[1] The father of evidence-based practice, Dr. David Sackett’s famed 1997 paper defined evidence-based practice as: “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence-based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research.”