Do Athletes Utilize Chiropractic Care? Do Chiropractors Treat Sports Injuries?
The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics published a retrospective study in their November/December 2016 edition that reviewed the usage of chiropractic care during the World Games in Cali, Colombia, from July 25 to August 4, 2013.
The study begins by noting the overall increase of chiropractic utilization in the United States and Canada has risen from 4% in 1980 to 14% in the U.S. by 2015. They report that a high percentage of the people seeking chiropractic care do so for musculoskeletal issues related to back pain.
The authors also reported that in another study of 1.7 million people, having access to insurance that includes chiropractic care caused a significant reduction in overall medical expenditures with specific decreases in spinal surgery and all back-related medical treatments.
Chiropractic care was rendered at the games by 40 doctors of chiropractic and observed by six researchers. This was arranged by the International World Games Association (IWGA) who contracted with the Fédération Internationale de Chiropratique du Sport (FICS) to provide free chiropractic care to athletes and support staff who were accredited at this event.
In the review of chiropractic utilization at the 2013 World Games the study showed that 537 of 2964 accredited athletes received chiropractic care during the games. This represents a utilization rate of 18.1% for the athletes. The utilization for the accredited non-athletes was lower with 403 of 4131 in this group receiving chiropractic care. This showed a utilization rate of 9.8% for non-athletes.
Athletes seeking chiropractic care were from 68 of the 93 participating countries. Of the total of 33 sporting events at the games, athletes from 28 of those sports sought chiropractic care. The breakdown showed that the largest utilization rates were from bowling scored at 48%, with water skiing being second at 42%, then fistball at 41%, and wushu with 41% of those athletes seeking chiropractic care.
Of the athletes who sought chiropractic, 37% had an acute or newer conditions, while 55% had chronic or long-term problems. The non-athletes presented themselves for chiropractic at a ratio different from the athletes with only 20% having acute conditions, while 61% were suffering from a chronic condition. Those receiving chiropractic reported good results. The study showed that 86.9% patients reported immediate improvement after receiving chiropractic.
In their conclusion, the study authors reported, “The majority of people seeking chiropractic care at an international sporting competition were athletes. For those seeking care, the injury rate was higher among athletes than among non-athletes. The majority of patients receiving chiropractic care reported improvement after receiving care.”
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