The term “athlete” is normally used to describe someone who plays a sport. We think of our young kids as athletes as they participate in youth sports and learn about teamwork and practice. We think of our teens and young adults as athletes as they sharpen their skills and compete in high school and collegiate sports. At the pinnacle, we idolize professional sports players or Olympians for being the best of the best in their sport or event. The reality is, though, that an athlete is anyone who intentionally moves their body towards a higher purpose. Perhaps it is someone who plays a sport, or a weekend warrior improving their fitness, or a Crossfitter that strongly identifies with their gym. People who move intending to improve themselves are athletes, and it is essential that they care for their bodies appropriately.

The simple reality is that most athletes are turning to chiropractors to help optimize function and performance. Every professional sports team has a chiropractor on their medical staff because they see the value of what it brings to their athletes. Chiropractic adjustments restore optimal function to the nervous system, which is the master system of the body that controls all others. With that in mind, it is obvious that athletes would seek to optimize this system in order to gain an advantage in their craft. The higher you get in sports or performance, the finer the margins. One-one hundredth of a second can be the difference between gold and silver, or a personal record for a timed run. Keeping your body in good alignment helps to keep it healthy and operating at its highest level. This has numerous benefits not only to performance, but overall health as well. The Springfield Wellness Center in Springfield, IL is the most-equipped office in the Springfield area to meet your performance and recovery needs.

Ways We Treat Athletes in Springfield, IL

Comprehensive Consultation and Examination

Every new patient experience starts with a thorough consultation and exam. During the consultation, our doctors will listen to the problems you’re having and how they’re affecting your daily life. Whether they are interfering with your sport or activity, or something else like your workday, it is important to get to the root of these issues so the right clinical approach can be taken to fix these problems. They want to know about past injuries and accidents because these things play a role in how the spine functions even years after they occurred.

After your consultation, the doctor will perform a thorough exam with you. Orthopedic, neurologic, and functional movement tests will help determine what areas of the body are not functioning correctly, and how they might be related to the area of chief complaint. It is important to not get boxed into treating a certain area just because it hurts. There may be another reason why it is not functioning well or hurting. This is the purpose of the exam: to connect these dots and figure out the best approach for working past this problem. With so many different treatment options available under one roof, the Springfield Wellness Center has something for everybody.

Sports Chiropractic

Chiropractic is the primary method by which we help athletes work through injuries, improve function, and maintain optimal health and well-being. Everyday life is stressful, and stress is one of the main causes of subluxation in the spine. This is where a segment of the spine is not positioned correctly, causing pressure on the nerve and nervous system. Arguably, athletes put more stress on the spine than anyone else, so it is essential that they have their spine checked regularly for subluxation.

The longer that subluxation remains, the more issues it can cause. From localized pain to radiating pain, even other more internal health challenges, it is best case scenario to be in as good of alignment as possible at all times. This allows your nervous system to function, which is crucial not only to athletic performance but to recovery as well. After all, there is a reason that almost all professional sports teams, leagues, as well as large athletic programs, have a chiropractor on staff. If you consider yourself an athlete and are not getting adjusted, you are missing out!

Active Release Technique

One of the most common sports injuries that occur is injuries to the soft tissues, such as muscles or tendons. This is primarily due to the highly frequent use/overuse and the sheer amount of exertion placed on these tissues through athletic performance. When muscles get stiff and tight, the tissue gets knotted up and it becomes less mobile. This creates discomfort for the individual, sometimes to the extent of keeping them out of their preferred activity.

Active Release Technique is an effective, hands-on muscle technique that involves movement while applying pressure to the affected area. If you shorten a muscle, apply pressure to the area of muscle adhesion, then lengthen the muscle, it will create a powerful stretch that will help break up the tissue and promote healing to the site. This can increase range of motion, decrease pain, and improve circulation to the area. This technique is popular with athletes as it works fast and provides instant improvement in mobility.

Deep Tissue Laser

A key part of providing exceptional care to athletes is utilizing the latest technology to reduce recovery times. Healing takes time, but the quicker healing can occur, the better it is for the athlete and, if applicable, his/her team. At the Springfield Wellness Center, we use cutting-edge technology such as deep tissue laser to help speed up the recovery process. Deep tissue laser involves the use of red light which penetrates deep down to the cellular level of tissue. This allows for energy production in the cell, which is put towards combating inflammation and stimulating the healing process.

Deep tissue laser is useful because of its wide range of applications. It can be utilized on joints, muscles, or tendons to help decrease pain and facilitate healing. It can be used on the spine, or other joints in both the upper and lower extremities. Treatment is very quick, with each session taking around 3-5 minutes or so. It is a relaxing treatment in which nothing is felt except a gentle warmth over the treated area. If you have a sports injury, there is a great chance that deep tissue laser can be an effective part of your treatment plan.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Oxygen is one of the keys to life. For athletes, oxygen is even more important for both performance and recovery purposes. Our muscles depend on oxygen delivered by our blood cells to fuel our muscles and ensure they function properly. Without proper oxygenation, muscle fibers get sticky and clump together into what are commonly referred to as “muscle knots”. Additionally, the brain consumes more oxygen than any other part of the body, so it is crucial that the brain has enough oxygen to carry out the processes of life.

Unique to the Springfield area, the Springfield Wellness Center has hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the office. In this chamber, a person spends about 30-60 minutes in a higher-pressure environment. The increase in pressure makes the body more able to bind to oxygen in the atmosphere. This brings more oxygen into our bloodstream to be delivered throughout the body. It is an excellent way to recover from a tough workout or performance, and also a great way to prepare for one. The benefits of oxygen are endless, so if you want to increase overall function, the Springfield Wellness Center is equipped to serve you.

Types of Athletes We Help At The Springfield Wellness Center

Runners

Running is one of the best forms of exercise you can give your body, whether you run competitively in races on weekends or for a school/organization, or just run for leisure and fitness, it has immense whole-body benefits that improve function in both the body and mind. With that being said, running can be hard on the body, especially when done frequently and over long distances. When you think about it, every time your foot strikes the ground, it transmits force through the entire body, especially the spine. Our spine is designed to handle this, of course, but it makes it very important to look after your spine appropriately.

The Springfield Wellness Center is the best place you can go as a runner. Our chiropractors will ensure that your spine is in good alignment and that your nervous system is operating at the highest level to keep you healthy and keep you healing. With services such as massage therapy, deep tissue laser, decompression, and custom therapeutic exercise, we have the means to address nearly any musculoskeletal issue that may arise as a result of your running. If you are looking for a place that has all of this under one roof that can support your rigorous activity, then look no further.

Triathletes

Triathlons are one of the most grueling athletic endeavors one can pursue, hands down. The distances can vary from short triathlons to the hardest of all, the Iron Man competition. Regardless, participating in swimming, cycling, and running consecutively is a difficult challenge and requires a lot of physical preparation and mental fortitude. In all, despite its difficulty level, it could arguably be considered the pinnacle of human performance, because of the diversity of these activities.

Such diversity, however, opens up a lot of doors to possible injury. Swimming can cause shoulder problems. Cycling can cause lower back stiffness. Running can cause lower extremity injuries. The Springfield Wellness Center is equipped and ready to meet all of these challenges and help you navigate your recovery as quickly as possible. Our wide range of services gives us the unique opportunity to provide people with exactly what they need, whether it is chiropractic, rehab, or recovery-based care. If you are a triathlete, you simply must have an office like this in your corner.

Golfers

Golf is a fantastic game because of the wide variety of people it attracts. From young people to retirees, from amateurs to the best of the best on the PGA tour, golf is a game that requires both physical and mental attributes for one to be successful. The golf swing is a complex movement involving many different muscle groups working in unison. Weakness or injury to even one of the muscles can disrupt the rhythm of a swing and take a person out of the game. From a mental standpoint, the amount of focus, precision, and poise necessary to execute a shot requires the nervous system to be on point. To this point, chiropractic and golf go hand in hand.

Chiropractic adjustments can keep the body in good alignment so the nervous system can clearly communicate throughout the body. This improved function can assist with muscle memory and movement patterns that are necessary for the various kinds of golf swings needed. If you sustain an injury in your back, hips, or elbows, our team can help you recover quickly and get back on the course playing the game you love.

Baseball Players

Baseball is similar to golf in that there are complex movement patterns required for the various elements of the sport. Whether it is throwing or hitting, there are multiple muscle groups all working in unison to execute the required movement. Also like golf, baseball is a very mental game that requires a lot of focus, poise, and attention to detail to be successful. Injuries can be particularly common in baseball due to the speed with which the game is played. For example, injuries to the elbows, shoulders, and abdominal/oblique muscles are common due to the rotational force placed on these areas during the throwing motion.

Chiropractic is always a good place to start. The body has to be in good alignment to properly heal from these types of injuries. Therapies such as deep tissue laser often prove extremely effective for addressing inflammation and discomfort in joints such as the elbows and shoulders. Graston Technique, which utilizes a metal tool to work through muscle adhesions, can also be useful for providing improved range of motion and decreased pain. The Springfield Wellness Center has these, and more, all under one roof in Springfield, IL. We are here to help get you back on the field.

CrossFit Athletes

CrossFit is a versatile form of exercise that has become very popular in recent years. The focus is on cross-training the body through various forms of exercise to challenge the body as much as possible. Not only is this a highly effective method of training the body and improving strength and function, the variability keeps people engaged and coming back for more, which inevitably leads to better health outcomes for these individuals.

Because of the high amount of stress placed on the body through CrossFit, it is natural for injuries to develop from overuse or overexertion. Chiropractic and massage are two fantastic ways that you can keep your body going strong and have peace of mind that the nervous system is operating exactly as it should be. When this is the case, healing is more efficient and injury is less likely.

Common Conditions That We Treat In Athletes

Plantar Fasciitis

This painful condition occurs when inflammation and soft tissue damage occurs on the bottom of the foot, resulting in sharp pain that usually occurs first thing in the morning when you get out of bed. This condition is very common in runners, but can also be experienced by any athlete who is on their feet for competition. In our office, we commonly treat plantar fasciitis with a combination of deep tissue laser, Graston Technique, and chiropractic adjustments to help the tissue heal and get the foot back to normal function.

Golfer’s Elbow

Also known as medial epicondylitis, golfer’s elbow affects the inner part of the elbow. It is particularly felt during the golf swing just as the elbow is ready to roll forward and rotate through the remainder of the swing. It can be painful and frustrating, especially for those who play a lot of golf. Deep tissue laser, Graston Technique, and Active Release Technique are effective ways to help heal golfer’s elbow naturally without medications or injections. Treatment is quick, and in some cases could even have you back out on the golf course the same day.

Concussions

In most types of sports where there is contact, concussions inevitably occur. In sports such as soccer, football, basketball, and hockey, they can be quite common. A concussion occurs when contact or quick movement causes the brain to hit hard against the inside of the skull. This can cause things like headaches, memory loss, and dizziness. It is important to manage concussions carefully. In our office, we use hyperbaric oxygen therapy to bring copious amounts of oxygen to the brain to help accelerate the healing process. Through increased oxygenation, symptoms of concussion can be reduced and help the athlete work towards a return that is safely determined by the patient and their health care providers.

Muscle Strains

These types of injuries are some of the most common to be seen in our office. Muscles can be strained through athletic performance, but also through basic everyday movements as well. When a muscle is strained, some of the fibers of the muscle are damaged, causing pain and inflammation. Therapies such as Graston Technique and massage therapy can help ensure the muscles can heal properly so that adhesions don’t form and the muscle can return to full function. If adhesions are allowed to develop, it can make the treatment process more complicated, so don’t delay having your muscle strain checked out if one occurs.

Low Back Pain

Very commonly seen in virtually any sport or athletic endeavor, lower back pain is treated day in day out at the Springfield Wellness Center. Chiropractic is the main method by which we treat lower back pain, but we have numerous other therapeutic modalities that can help us provide excellent care. Treatments such as massage therapy, exercise, deep tissue laser, electric stimulation, and spinal decompression are a few of the ways we can adequately handle virtually any lower back pain case that walks through our door. We are ready to help you address this problem naturally and effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is chiropractic good for an athlete?

100% yes. Athletes put a lot of stress on their bodies, and this can manifest into many conditions related to the spine and other joints. Chiropractic can help improve mobility, improve posture, decrease pain, and help the body function more optimally. What athlete wouldn’t want their body to function at the highest level that it can?

Do professional athletes use chiropractors?

Nearly all professional athletes have access to and utilize chiropractic care as part of their recovery and performance team. This is because chiropractic can help the body heal by allowing the nervous system to fully function without interference due to subluxation. There’s a good reason that almost every major sports organization has a chiropractor on its staff!

Can kids in sports see a chiropractor?

Absolutely! All kids should have their spine checked by a chiropractor as they continue to grow and develop, but it is especially important for kids who play sports to have their spine checked regularly. Sports cause more stress on the body than most everyday activities, so there are more opportunities for subluxation to occur in the spine. Removing subluxations from the spine can help kids grow up healthy and functioning optimally, which is in every parent’s best interests.

How often do athletes see a chiropractor?

If an athlete sustains an injury that chiropractic can help with, it is common to be seen frequently to get on top of the problem and make sure the body can heal the correct way. As time goes on, those visits can become fewer and further between as sustained improvement is noted, and it is common for athletes to be seen routinely for maintenance and wellness.

Can chiropractic optimize performance in an athlete?

Yes. Chiropractic care has a direct influence on the nervous system, which controls all functions of the body. If the nervous system is optimized, it means that the muscles in the body can move and perform the way they are supposed to. This can improve performance and assist in healing and recovery as well.