Congratulations! Your active lifestyle means you’re at a lower risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic conditions. Keeping your body in tip-top shape is important to you, but there’s a science to building muscle and improving athletic performance. How you eat, train, and recover matters. That’s why professional athletes depend on sports medicine experts to keep them at their best.
Sports medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with physical fitness. Experts in the field may include physical therapists, nutritionists, and certified athletic trainers. They aim to help athletes balance nutritional and exercise needs and prevent and treat injuries.
Professional athletes use sports medicine specialists to recover from injuries and help them improve their performance. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to benefit from sports medicine services. Even someone who lifts weights a few times a week but doesn’t play a sport should consider consulting a sports medicine professional.
Here are four ways sports medicine experts can help anyone focused on fitness.
1. Sports Medicine Treatments Improve Healing Outcomes
Getting injured can derail your fitness goals for weeks. Complications during healing, like a stalled healing process or excess scar tissue, prolong discomfort and may inhibit function even after you heal. To avoid or treat these complications, it’s essential to seek medical care if your injury is painful for more than a few days.
Physical therapists who’ve been trained in sports medicine techniques use a variety of treatments to encourage healthy healing. These include exercises and stretches, kinesitherapy, the active release technique, and the Graston technique. These therapies encourage blood flow to the area, break up excess scar tissue, and accelerate healing. Your treatment plan will also focus on building strength and flexibility to improve function and prevent re-injury.
If you choose an integrated clinic for your sports medicine needs, you can also benefit from the knowledge of other providers, like chiropractors and medical specialists. At an integrated clinic, medical providers use platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) to help jumpstart your body’s healing processes and reduce inflammation and pain. Since the healing process involves more than one body system, a multifaceted treatment approach is beneficial.
2. Sports Medicine Prevents Injuries
Prevention should be the goal of anyone who counts on their body to perform at a high level. A physical therapist with sports medicine experience can help you keep your body balanced and flexible to reduce your risk.
Chiropractic care balances the nervous system and can improve coordination, balance, and range of motion. Research shows regular spinal adjustments reduce the risk of injury in athletes.
While injuries that happen during a workout or training session often get all the attention, many athletes sustain injuries outside of their sport. Chiropractors and physical therapists evaluate patients for healthy posture, foot problems, and other chronic issues that could cause injuries. They can help you correct these issues, so you’re at less risk for injury on and off the field.
3. Professional Treatment Improves Recovery
Any athlete knows that recovering well after an event or a hard training session is vital to their health and performance. Professional athletic groups have tested multiple therapies to improve recovery times and outcomes. Most therapies aimed at improved recovery increase blood flow, assist with flushing waste products from the body, and bring the body into a state where it can heal and regain strength.
Studies show that active and passive recovery both play an important role. Active recovery involves mild cardiovascular exercise to improve circulation and may include stretching. Sometimes a day or two of total rest is necessary to allow the body to heal from strenuous activity.
Anyone who struggles to recover after hard workouts or training sessions can benefit from seeing a sports medicine specialist. As experts in the science of fitness, sports medicine practitioners are trained to assist clients in optimizing their diet and training programs to improve recovery and performance. In addition to training advice, they also provide treatments aimed at improving recovery, such as chiropractic adjustment, kinesiotherapy, and electrical stimulation.
Chiropractic adjustment balances the nervous system so it can perform optimally. A healthy nervous system leads to better sleep, more balanced hormones, and improved muscle function. All these factors assist with recovery. Athletes use kinesiotherapy to relieve pressure on muscles and tendons, allowing for free movement of fluids, and electrical stimulation to reduce swelling after a hard workout.
4. Sports Medicine Improves Performance
Coaches and trainers constantly look for (legal) ways to improve their athlete’s performance. In the increasingly competitive world of professional sports, any slight edge can make a difference. Most professional sports teams keep chiropractors, massage therapists, and physical therapists on contract to treat and prevent injuries and help athletes play at their best. Amateur athletes and non-athletes who want to perform better at the gym can benefit too.
Making a game-saving throw or hitting a home run requires not only practice but also physiological fitness. Sports medicine treatments can help along all the processes that go into building strength, endurance, and coordination. As mentioned above, chiropractic care can balance the nervous system, improving balance, coordination, and range of motion. Athletes who perform better in these areas will likely outplay their opponents.
As with injury treatment, a well-rounded approach to performance enhancement is necessary. Physical therapy improves flexibility and can keep your physique balanced. Massage improves blood flow, which assists with recovery and healthy muscle building. When used together with excellent nutrition and sound lifestyle habits, sports medicine treatments can improve athletic performance and give athletes that much-coveted edge.
Sports Medicine in Houston
At Vanguard Spine & Sport, we offer treatments tailored to athletes at our two integrated pain clinics. Our chiropractors, physical therapists, and medical providers work together to help athletes heal injuries, recover from big events, and improve their performance and resilience. Schedule a consultation today to discover why sports medicine isn’t just for the pros.