Elite athletes are utilizing complementary and alternative healthcare now more than ever - and this shift continues to trend upward. If you are any degree of physically or recreationally active, you know that the key to longevity is preventing injuries and sickness.
Practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine pride themselves on treating the ROOT cause of injury and illness, rather than just treating the symptoms.
Practitioners of conservative medicine on the other hand aim and resort to using surgery and drugs after a patient has failed to see improvement with other conservative care treatments.
who are the alternative and complementary healthcare providers?
They range from Doctors of Chiropractic (DC), Doctors of Physical Therapy (PT), Licensed Acupuncturists (Lac), Doctors of Oriential Medicine (DOM), Registered Dieticians (RD), and/or Doctors of Naturopathic Medicine (ND).
Most of these practitioners receive 4+ years of additional education after their undergraduate studies to learn the skills of their given professions and often take similar courses to Medical Doctors (MDs). For example, a DC or an ND take many of the same science classes as MDs, including pathology and radiology courses.
what treatments do alternative and complementary healthcare providers provide?
If you’re looking for the most hands on treatment, you’ll want to go and see a chiropractic doctor or a physical therapist.
Physical therapists can do soft tissue treatments on muscles, tendons, and ligaments and prescribe exercise therapies to help you develop better movement systems. AND GUESS WHAT, chiropractors can do the same thing! In fact, they take it a step further and can do joint manipulations.
Licensed acupuncturists treat a variety of pain syndromes, metabolic and hormonal issues, and other inflammatory conditions that may be hampering on athletic performance. These practitioners utilize treatments like cupping and diet and lifestyle modification. Acupuncture is the application of small needles at areas on the body along specific “meridians” that correspond to areas of pain.
which provider should i see?
For injury prevention and injury recovery, chiropractors and physical therapists will be your best choices. These practitioners are experts at human movement and are obsessed with identifying your movement deficiencies that could be predisposing you to injury. Not only that, but they are also obsessed with getting you to move better to prevent further injuries.
When doing an online search for a chiropractor or physical therapist that you could seek help from, look for practitioners who have the following certifications: Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS), Functional Movement Systems (FMS), Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), or any practitioner who holds a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification.
As movement specialists, chiropractors and physical therapists can help you identify limitations in range of motion, stability, and motor control that are currently or could eventually lead to injury.
For sports nutrition, registered dieticians (RDs) who specifically focus on sports nutrition and naturopathic doctors (NDs) will be your best option. These practitioners will educate you on your specific energy requirements so that you can work together to build a nutritional plan tailored to your needs for recovery and performance.
When it comes to pain syndromes and injury, your best choices will be chiropractors, physical therapists, and/or licensed acupuncturists. Acupuncturists use needle point stimulation to decrease pain along meridian lines throughout the body. DC’s and DPT’s utilize a variety of manual therapy and joint manipulation techniques to decrease pain and inflammation, accelerating the healing process.
Interested in finding out how a chiropractic movement specialist could help you? Book an appointment with us today!