COVER STORY / The Patient-Centred Team The OCA would like to thank Dr. Brad Muir for his input on this article. Treatment of Athletes: Key Considerations Chiropractic care can benefit athletes at all stages of their training schedules and careers. This includes preparation for competition, performance enhancement and injury rehabilitation. These Key Considerations outline what to keep in mind when treating athletes. This tool is designed for chiropractors who are new to treating athletes or would like to develop this area of their practice. 1 Every sport is unique. Work with your patient to develop a clear understanding of the requirements and demands of their specific sport. This will facilitate treatments and the creation of sport and athlete specific rehabilitation exercises in the event of an injury. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association offers a number of case reports and studies that may be helpful. 2 Athletes know their bodies. Athletes are often able to be clear and precise Dr. Brad Muir Dr. Brad Muir graduated from CMCC in 2003 and earned the Sport Specialist Designation in 2006. He practices in Pickering, Ontario and is an Associate Professor at CMCC. Dr. Muir is a member of the Royal College of Chiropractic Sports Science of Canada and has lectured across the country. Royal College of Chiropractic Sports Science of Canada Fall 2013 Conference Where: Abilities Centre 55 Gordon Street, Whitby Ontario When: November 16 & 17, 2013 Details: www.2013sportsconfeast.ca about their symptoms because they know their bodies so well. This can help focus treatments and enhance results. Current trends in treatment of athletes promote the “functional” approach, wherein chiropractors focus on optimizing the functionality of the kinetic chain most relevant to an athlete’s particular sport. (E.g. knee dysfunction in a marathoner may be the result of hip or ankle misalignment or injury.) Applying the functional approach in conjunction with patient dialogue can be a powerful therapeutic tool. 3 hletes may not know their limits. The drive to compete and succeed At is strong among athletes. To achieve athletic successes, athletes may risk sacrificing long-term health. Even injured athletes might push themselves too hard. In such situations, the first step is to reduce demand on the injured area. A new training baseline will need to be identified that takes into account the rehabilitation exercises that will help get the patient back to full functionality. 4 e aware of your patient’s competition schedule. As your patient’s B competition time approaches, their intensity level may increase. This can be reflected in their workout regimens. Reducing the impact of treatments and focussing on maintenance, range of motion and circulation may help your patient manage the physical stress of these periods on their bodies. The concept of “periodization” comes into play here. Encourage your patient to be clear and transparent with you and their trainers and coaches about all of their competition and athletic goals. Then work with the patient to find when more intensive treatments make the most sense within their schedule. 5 velop a varied toolkit. Especially when injuries occur, treating athletic De Recommended Reading: For an overview of literature on sports chiropractic, see: Chiropractic Treatment And The Enhancement of Sport Performance: A Narrative Literature Review JCCA, December 2010 Andrew L. Miners, BPHE, BSc (Hons), CSCS, CK, DC, FCCSS(C) 14 SPRING/SUMMER 2013 patients will require the trial and use of a variety of techniques. Among the most common and effective techniques are vibration therapy, active release therapy, the Graston Technique and acupuncture. The key is to find the combination of techniques, both manual and instrument assisted, that work for each particular patient. Experienced sports chiropractors develop a good sense of which combination of techniques will work best for each patient, but even they experiment with different techniques. Patience is critical, though. Give each technique a chance to work before experimenting with another. 6 ven athletes forget to eat right. Athletes’ bodies require fuel to operate E at peak performance. But between the rigours of training and competition they can forget to eat a balanced diet and hydrate. Find opportunities to educate your athletic patients on the importance of hydration and nutrition. The periodization concept applies to diet as well.