Sports chiropractic

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Sports chiropractic, also known as chiropractic sports sciences/medicine, is a specialty of chiropractic. In Canada it is generally a 2 year post-graduate residency program that results in the designation of certified chiropractic sports specialist (CCSS) offered by the Royal College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences.[1] The American equivalent is the Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP),[2] or the Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians (DACBSP), a three-year post-doctoral program.

Internationally, the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS) has established the Internationally Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner (ICSSP) program in connection with Murdoch University,[3] in Perth, Australia. It is FICS' prerequisite for a Doctor to be approved to participate in any International sporting event. Applicants can receive the degree through participation in a combination of online courses, seminars, and receive credit for post-doctoral education, like the national programs listed above, already attained.

Practice parameters[edit]

The focus of chiropractic sports specialists is to provide care in the conservative management, rehabilitation and performance optimization of neuromusculoskeletal system for athletic populations and to participate in a multi-disciplinary sports injury care environment.[citation needed] The book "Opportunities in Chiropractic Careers" states that sports chiropractors have made contributions to protective gear and trauma management in contact sports, athletic health maintenance, therapy, and enhanced rehabilitation after injury.[4] Spinal injury prevention has been identified as a role that sports chiropractors play.[5]

A growing obstacle to chiropractic sports medicine is the exclusion of chiropractors from performing high school physicals, a necessary requirement for participation. Besides physicians, in certain states nurse practitioners are allowed to do physicals.[6] Specifically with regard to chiropractors the study reported "...states that permit practitioners with little or no cardiovascular training (such as chiropractors or naturopathic practitioners) to provide medical clearance of high school athletes increased from 11 (22%) in 1997 to 18 (35%) in 2005."[6]

Use by amateur and professional sports teams[edit]

As of the 2014-2015 NFL season all 32/32 NFL teams now have an official team Chiropractor. In MLB 27/30 teams have an official team Chiropractor while the other 3 allow the players to consult Chiropractors outside on their own terms. Almost every NBA team has an official team Chiropractor as well. In 2002, 31% of National Football League teams used a chiropractor in an official capacity on their medical staff.[7] In 2006, a study analyzing Division I NCAA college athletes at inter-college sporting events in Hawaii found that chiropractic usage within the last 12 months was reported by 39% of respondents.[8]

Diagnosis and Tests[edit]

Sports injuries can affect just about any part of the spinal, neurological and skeletal systems. An all-inclusive chiropractic diagnostic examination can pinpoint the location and nature of the injury sustained.

An evaluation of the body can locate any pressure points created by the injury and a Doctor of Chiropractic can then recommend a course of corrective treatment. In addition to a chiropractic examination, an x-ray might also be required to check for broken bones, tissue damage or fractures. If the injury is serious, an MRI or CT scan might be suggested to check for internal injuries.

Apart from injuries sustained during an actual mishap, the constant strain on the body during physically demanding sports can take its toll. The heavy physical-stress can have a compounded effect on minor injuries which are not treated in time, turning them into severe ones. This is one of the reasons many athletes regularly undergo preemptive chiropractic diagnosis.


The chiropractic approach to treating sports injuries, or even those sustained at home, comprises a blend of natural techniques and non-invasive methods like physiotherapy and chiropractic soft tissue manipulation. For injuries that have affected the nervous or spinal system, the treatment may include a chiropractic adjustment, or a series of adjustments, that are focused on improving flexibility and returning natural movement to the injured joints.

Physiotherapeutic exercises are often recommended in tandem with chiropractic therapy, to enhance strength and flexibility in muscles, ligaments, tendons and other supportive tissues. When a jarring injury is sustained, it can result in pain caused by misalignments, spinal-subluxations, or even a herniated-disc. With chiropractic care, the affected spinal segments can be returned to their natural positions and imbalances corrected, since this form of treatment aims at providing extensive and long-lasting relief.


Chiropractic sports medicine specialists first began treating Olympic athletes at the Olympic Games in Montreal, in 1976, when Dr. Leroy Perry arranged a relationship with the Aruba team.[9] The first official appointment of a chiropractor to the US team began with the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York, United States, when Dr. George Goodheart's name was given to Irving Dardik, MD, then chairman of the USOC Sports Medicine Committee by Dr. Stephen J. Press.[9][10] Subsequently a program was developed to screen Chiropractic Doctors at the USOTC in Colo. Spngs., CO. And, at each subsequent games chiropractors were included with the US team, and other national teams as well. In the 2008 Games in Beijing, the US team sent four chiropractors,[11] and, in another US first, i.e., they appointed Dr. Mike Reed, DC medical director of the US team. As part of a demonstration project under the aegis of the IOC for the first time in Olympic history, chiropractic care was fully integrated in treatment of athletes in the polyclinic in 2010 at the Winter Olympics games in Vancouver.[9][12][13]

At the Summer Games in London 2012, in addition to the USOC's full-time paid medical director, Dr. William Moreau, DC,[9] the team brought eight other Chiropractors, and Dr. Terry Schroeder was the head coach for the men's water Polo team.[9] There was a contingent of Chiropractors working in the IOC polyclinic, arranged by the British Chiropractic Association, as there were in Vancouver.[9]

Throughout the World the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (known as "FICS"), the Sport Accord recognized World governing agency for Sports Chiropractic, coordinates with International Sports Federations, the International Olympic Committee and other agencies, like the International World Games Association to provide Doctors of Chiropractic to work at their respective sporting events.[9] Some facilities, like Life University have developed their own relationships with national governing bodies, e.g., the Costa Rican, Guatemalan, and Honduran Olympic Committees. In 2000, Life University opened a 4500 sq. ft. Chiropractic Clinic in the Costa Rican Olympic Committee Compound with the focus of supporting the country's athletic federations.[14]

Notable athletes receiving chiropractic care[edit]



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  2. ^ "Continuing Education - Certificate for a Chiropractic Sports Physician 2009 - CCSP Program". Parker College of Chiropractic. Retrieved 2008-04-19. 
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  4. ^ Bart N. Green, Claire Johnson, Louis Sportelli.; Johnson, C.; Sportelli, L. (2004). Opportunities in Chiropractic Careers. McGraw Hill. p. 140. ISBN 0-07-141164-X. 
  5. ^ Pelletier, JC (2006). "Sports related concussion and spinal injuries: the need for changing spearing rules at the National Capital Amateur Football Association (NCAFA).". J Can Chiropr Assoc. 50 (3): 195–208. ISSN 0008-3194. PMC 1839959. PMID 17549157. 
  6. ^ a b Glover, DW; Maron, BJ (Dec 2007). "Evolution in the process of screening United States high school student-athletes for cardiovascular disease.". American Journal of Cardiology 100 (11): 1709–12. doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2007.07.018. PMID 18036373. 
  7. ^ John L. Stump DC, OMD, EdD; Daniel Redwood DC (March 2002). "The use and role of sport chiropractors in the National Football League: A short report". Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 25: 1–4. doi:10.1067/mmt.2002.122326. 
  8. ^ Nichols AW; Harrigan R. (2006). "Complementary and alternative medicine usage by intercollegiate athletes.". Clin J Sport Med. 16 (16(3)): 232–7. ISSN 1536-3724. PMID 16778544. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Press, DC, PhD, Stephen J. (2012). The History of Sports Chiropractic (Ass'n for the History of Chiropractic ed.). USA: C.I.S. Commercial Fin. Grp, Ltd. p. 495. ISBN 9781105536830. 
  10. ^ Proceedings of the United States Olympic Academy XI, "The Role of the Chiropractic Physician in the Sports Medical Team", June 17–20, 1987, Indianapolis, IN, Pgs 246-252
  11. ^ "Gold members". International Academy of Olympic Chiropractic Officers. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  12. ^ "FICS Newsletter" (PDF). Federation Internationale de Chiropratique du Sport. March 31, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-19. [dead link]
  13. ^ Vancouver Organizing Committee. "2010 Winter Olympics Games Business Plan and Games Budget" (PDF). p. 151. Retrieved 2008-04-19. [dead link]
  14. ^ Medhat Alaftar, MD,DC. "Building the Foundation for Chiropractic in Costa Rica". Retrieved May 31, 1999.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  15. ^ Chiro Web Accessed on April 28, 2008
  16. ^ Planet Accessed on April 28, 2008
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  18. ^ "Getting Inside The Head Of Sidney Crosby". CNN. 2011-10-03. 
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  20. ^ a b
  21. ^ "Marques Colston - Champion of Chiropractic". Retrieved 2015-10-20. 

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