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  • Writer's pictureNate Oliveira

What's the difference between a sports chiropractor and a traditional chiropractor?

The main difference between a sports chiropractor and a regular chiropractor is their area of focus and the type of patients they treat.

A sports chiropractor is a doctor of chiropractic who has received additional training and education in the identification, management, and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions that are specific to athletes and active individuals. They have a specific understanding of the biomechanical and physiological demands placed on the body during sports and physical activity, and can provide tailored care and treatment to help individuals recover from sports-related injuries and improve their athletic performance. And with the additional training in biomechanics and sport physiology, they can also serve as a critical part of the rehabilitation process, getting their participants back to their activity post injury.

Note that the word "athlete" does not necessarily mean someone who is in a league or is on a team. This could mean anyone who is participating in a physical activity, whether it's frisbee golf, mountain biking, rock climbing, Olympic lifting, bootcamp classes, or just walking.

In contrast, a traditional chiropractor may not have the same level of expertise or focus on sports-related injuries and conditions. They may treat a wider range of patients, including those with chronic conditions such as back pain or headaches, as well as those recovering from injuries.

It's worth noting that both types of chiropractor typically use similar techniques such as spinal manipulation, soft-tissue therapies and exercises to improve their patient’s condition.

However, a sports chiropractor may also focus on injury prevention and performance enhancement, along with rehabilitation and reconditioning. They may also have a more close working relationship with other sports medicine professionals such as physical therapists, coaches and athletic trainers.

What are some things that identify a sports chiropractor?

  • They prioritize the return of their patients to getting back to their sport or activity and understand the demands of that sport or activity.

  • They will perform assessments on the injured (or other) areas that put the injury in the context of dysfunctional movement.

  • Exercise, of the correct degree and kind, is in most or all of their treatment plans.

  • They draw on a wide variety of assessment and treatment tools, such as movement screenings, adjusting, cupping, IASTM, kinesio-taping, dry-needling, shockwave, laser therapy, and therapeutic exercises.

  • They are typically "evidence-based", meaning that their approaches have been empirically reviewed and have data to support the utilization of their methods.

The purpose of this article is not to disparage traditional chiropractors. They can provide a great value to a wide base of people, depending on who you see. This article is just meant to highlight the focus that a sports chiropractor has and easy ways to help identify them.

If you are interested in seeing a sports chiropractor in Sacramento, CA, please use the contact button below to get in touch with Dr. Nate Oliveira. He would be happy to discuss how he can be an asset in your health, recovery, and performance journey.

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