The Sports Chiropractor: A Specialist Providing Comprehensive Athletic Care


Chiropractic medicine was founded in the late 1800’s. Since that time, especially in the past few decades, it’s a practice and profession that’s shown exponential growth and steadily gained popularity.

Once thought to be an “alternative” form of medicine, today, it is very much considered mainstream. Chiropractors are now the third largest group of medical providers in the United States behind physicians and dentists.1

As has happened with both traditional medicine and dentistry, sub-specialties of chiropractic care have developed allowing chiropractic physicians to specialize and gain enhanced training to handle the needs of special populations of patients. One of these groups of specialized providers is the sports chiropractor.


A sports chiropractor is a highly trained and extremely knowledgeable provider of chiropractic medicine that has advanced expertise in both the prevention and rehabilitation of sports related injury, advanced training in the use of musculoskeletal imaging studies, in addition to expert level knowledge in sport-specific strength and conditioning techniques and optimal bio-mechanics.

This article will help you better understand exactly what a sports chiropractor is and does, discuss the rigorous educational requirements of a sports chiropractor, compare and contrast the profession with other sports medicine practitioners, and lastly, help you decide if and when you need to seek the care of a sports chiropractor.

The first school of chiropractic medicine was founded in the United States in Davenport, Iowa in 1897.

Since that time, chiropractic care has gained recognition as a legitimate, therapeutic form of medical treatment in all 50 states as well as Mexico, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, Switzerland and Australia.

The philosophy of care in chiropractic medicine is focused on the overall well being and optimized general health of an individual.

They focus on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and nervous system and the effects that these conditions can have on one’s general health. The overriding principle of care is that structure affects function.

Many people think of chiropractors as “bone crackers”. This is truly an oversimplification. In order for the body to function properly, it must be properly aligned.

The cornerstone of chiropractic care is spinal manipulation. It is a highly technical and specific method used to re-align the vertebrae, the bones of the spinal column.

Spinal manipulation restores proper musculoskeletal structure (alignment), which allows the body the opportunity to heal itself.

In addition to spinal manipulation, many chiropractors also incorporate therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises along with nutritional, dietary and lifestyle modification counseling into their care.

Chiropractic medicine is a non-surgical approach that emphasizes drug-free pain relief and approaches evaluation and care from a global perspective, employing many different modalities to achieve and maintain optimal health.

With its speedy growth in popularity and recognition by almost all other branches of medicine, more and more research is being done demonstrating the benefits of chiropractic care.

It is a branch of medicine that mainly uses evidence-based practices, meaning that it employs techniques and treatment algorithms that have been shown by controlled research studies to be statistically effective for the problems they treat.

Today, many patients are under the care of both a medical and chiropractic physician.

While both forms of medical care offer unique and different perspectives on optimal treatments to maintain health, they often compliment one another.

Patients find they like they the more global approach to ideal health and appreciate the unique perspectives and recommendations that both types of physicians can offer.