Even the healthiest, strongest, most successful athletes get hurt. Winter sports athletes are no exception. It is nearly impossible to venture out on the slopes without getting an injury of some kind. After all, the higher you jump, the harder you will fall!
The most common types of injures that skiers and snowboarders sustain are joint injuries. Depending on the joint and severity of your injury, a trip to the chiropractor might be your best treatment option. Chiropractors (especially sports chiropractors) specialize in treating joint injures.
Here is a list of the most common winter-sport injures and the chiropractic treatment plans used to heal them.
When people hear the word whiplash, they usually think of car accident victims. However, whiplash can occur just about anywhere – especially on the slopes. If the head is abruptly forced in one direction and then snapped into the opposite direction, great pain and suffering can happen.
The severity of this injury is different for each athlete. Generally, whiplash causes torn muscles and ligaments in the neck. If the injury is severe, there is probably nerve damage too.
A chiropractor will assess the injury and create a treatment plan based on what he or she finds. Usually, the chiropractor will provide muscle relaxation and stimulation. Spinal manipulation and ergonomic training will probably occur too. The doctor will also teach you various stabilizing exercises.
If your humerus bone is pushed or pulled out of the socket in your shoulder blade, you have a dislocated shoulder. You have probably also sustained damage to the cartilage or ligaments along with inflamed muscles.
A chiropractor will help alleviate pain and pressure in the shoulder. He or she will also manipulate the spine and carefully reposition the vertebrae.
This is a very common injury for snowboarders and skiers. After all, no one is immune to falling! And that is exactly what causes a shoulder separation – falling directly onto the joint. It usually causes damage to the joint, and both the collarbone and shoulder blade suffer.
A chiropractor will encourage you to apply ice packs to reduce the swelling. After that, your doctor will use ultrasound muscle stimulation and various conditioning exercises to restore health. The chiropractor will also gently manipulate the spine and shoulder. Lastly, you will need to use an arm sling for awhile.
Rotator Cuff Injury
Four different shoulder muscles meet at the rotator cuff. Those four muscles work together to provide stability and motion. Unfortunately, if you fall onto an outstretched arm, strike a tree, or receive a direct blow from a ski pole, you will definitely damage the rotator cuff.
A chiropractor will suggest ice and massage. Then, you will need some stretching and strengthening exercises. Also, the chiropractor will manipulate the shoulder and spine.
Knee injuries are the most common – and most serious – type of winter sport injury. Usually, these injuries have the potential to end a promising career.
First, a chiropractor will help you reduce pain and inflammation. Next, he or she will stabilize the knee with sports tape or a leg brace. Cold therapies will be used in conjunction with soft tissue healing therapies (like laser, interferential, or ultrasound treatment). After the inflammation is controlled, the chiropractor will engage in mobilization strategies, soft tissue massages, manipulation of the affected area. Treatment will often extend to the nearby joints. Eventually, the doctor will suggest leg exercises; these will help you regain power and stability.
Chiropractors use a unique brand of healing that is often just what a winter sports athlete needs. If you sustain an injury on the slopes, you’ll want to get care as soon as possible so your days of snow fun can continue for years to come.
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Guest blogger Michael Clement is an avid snowboarder. He also works for a Tallahassee chiropractor. He combines his knowledge of the slopes and chiropractic care to help local residents who venture to the west and return with aches and pains!