High School Sports Injuries and Chiropractic Care

Any parent will likely feel pride when their child shows interest in playing a high school sport. It’s also not uncommon for a parent or guardian to be a bit frightened by the prospect of their child sustaining a sports injury in their developmental years. Educating oneself is a great way to overcome that fear.

Benjamin Franklin is known to have coined the phrase “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Mr. Franklin was referring to fire safety when he said this, but today, we can apply the same motto to the treatment and prevention of high school athletes’ sports-related injuries.

Today we will discuss a “pound of cure” through the eyes of Southwest Spine & Rehab Chiropractic.

High School Football Player Getting Tackled

About Chiropractic Care

Before we plunge deeper into the specifics of high school sports injuries, let’s first answer a couple of basic questions about chiropractic care.

What is chiropractic care?

A chiropractor makes chiropractic adjustments and other treatments that concentrate on a person’s spine and joints as they connect to the nervous system. The goal of chiropractic care is to properly align a person’s musculoskeletal structure, which enables the body to help heal itself.

What is the difference between conventional medicine and chiropractic care?

In general, conventional medicine examines a problem and typically treats a problem with medications and procedures without focusing on prevention. Chiropractic care generally uses a variety of natural treatments, most often without medication, and focuses on the prevention of future problems related to the condition being treated.

Types of High School Sports Injuries

The type of sports injuries that are common to high school students vary depending on the sport.  The most common sports injuries result from the sports of football (28%), baseball (25%), soccer (22%), basketball (15%), and softball (12%).

The following is a list of the types of injuries that are common to specific sports, all of which are treatable with chiropractic intervention:

  • Baseball and Softball
    • Pitcher’s elbow, ligament, and muscle sprains and strains
  • Basketball
    • Strains, sprains, knee injuries and foot, ankle, and finger injuries
  • Cheerleading
    • Ankle, neck, knee, wrist and lower back sprains and strains
  • Dance
    • Twists and sprains of the elbow and wrist
    • Achilles tendon injuries and Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries
    • Back pain
  • Football
    • Neuromusculoskeletal strains including:
      • Neck and low back pain
      • Hamstring and quadriceps strains 
      • Some damages that are caused by whiplash-like movements
  • Ice Hockey
    • Head and neck injuries
  • Lacrosse
    • Knee and ankle sprains and strains
    • Low back pain
    • Head and neck sprains and strains
  • Soccer
    • Ligament sprains, and ACL sprains
  • Tennis
    • Ankle sprains, patellar tendonitis, lumbar stress fracture, and tennis elbow
  • Track and Field
    • Fractures, plantar fasciitis, runner’s knee, hamstring strains, shin splints, and patellar tendonitis
  • Volleyball
    • Ankle, knee, elbow, calves, quadriceps sprains and strain
    • Back pain
  • Wrestling
    • Ligamentous knee injuries
    • Dislocations and sprains of the elbow or shoulder
    • Ankle sprains
    • Lower extremity and back pain

Frequency of High School Sports Injuries

More than thirty million children are involved in organized sports in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high school athletes sustain approximately two million injuries a year; damages that result from overuse account for about half of those.

Of the estimated two million injuries, about 500,000 results in doctor visits and 30,000 result in hospitalizations each year.

The Journal of Neurological Science indicates that more sports-related injuries receive treatment in an emergency room than any other type of accidental harm.

High school athletes are more susceptible to injury because they are less coordinated, have slower reaction times, and are still growing and developing. The majority of injuries sustained by high school athletes result from overuse, which places stress on the musculoskeletal system, making a high demand on the body without giving it time to recover.

What Happens When High School Sports Injuries Go Untreated

As mentioned previously, high school athletes are still growing and developing. Many athletes play beyond the pain for the sake of continuing to play in a game or a season. When sports injuries go untreated, the consequences can be felt immediately or develop later in life.

Soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains, tears, ruptures, back pain, and tendonitis are common sports-related injuries. Some soft tissue injuries are more severe than others, of course; however, regardless of the degree of damage, treatment is of utmost importance. Without treatment, a person’s injury may affect them long into their future, including symptoms such as: 

  • Pain: Pain is a sign of injury, do not ignore it.  An injury left undiscovered and untreated is at risk of becoming a much more serious injury over time.
  • Instability: The affected part of the body that is injured and left untreated becomes increasingly unstable. It will have difficulty healing properly, leaving a person open to reinjuring themselves in the same or surrounding location.
  • Disability: Injuries left untreated can potentially become a semi-permanent or permanent disability.
  • Arthritis: Untreated soft tissue injuries create a change in joint movements that force other bones and tissues to compensate.  The compensation for weakness leads to wear and tear on the cartilage. It may cause degeneration to muscles and bones, leading ultimately to arthritis, which can be debilitating as a person ages.

Benefits of Proper Treatment and Seeing a Chiropractor for Sports Injuries

Following are some of the techniques a chiropractor may use to treat a sports injury and prevent additional injuries from occurring down the road:

Non-pharmaceutical pain relief

A chiropractor determines improper spinal alignment and makes necessary adjustments. When the spine is aligned correctly, the muscles do not have to compensate for any misalignment. An accurately aligned spine takes the pressure off the nerves and relieves pain without the use of medications.

Increased range of motion

A chiropractor can improve a person’s range of motion, which in turn boosts the body’s ability to be more flexible and stretch without injury.

Injury prevention and recovery

A chiropractor develops a plan of care that focuses on the unique injury potential based on the sport the athlete plays and creates a program focused on strengthening and stabilizing an area and avoiding injuries. When a chiropractor develops a plan of care unique to the athlete’s potential injuries, the body is better able to keep proper alignment and maintain strong muscles and tendons that provide joint support and prevent injuries. Chiropractic practices help promote better blood flow to areas of the body, helping to speed up recovery time in the event of an injury.

Call Southwest Spine & Rehab Today

Dr. Taylor, who founded Southwest Spine & Rehab Chiropractic in 2012, understands the importance of treating all patients with the utmost respect and care. Don’t put off treating your pain or injury any longer, contact us today by calling (480) 354-2008.