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Information about practicing sports chiropractic

What Every DC Should Know About Sports Chiropractic

As you think about your practice, it's important to have a plan to treat patients for sports-related injuries, even if you don't have a “sports chiropractic” practice.

Sports chiropractic has been an area of increased focus for many DCs. It's always important to consider how your practice may be affected by patients who have sports-related injuries.

For example, you might have a golfer come in with a stiff shoulder or a runner with a sprained ankle. Or, you might deal with an old football injury that is now resurfacing. Many times the patient won’t make the connection between the current pain and the earlier injury, so he/she won’t mention it during the initial history. However, by using a clinician’s keen sense of inquiry, the history can elicit valuable information from the patient.

More Knowledge is Beneficial

Whether you specialize in treating athletes or not, your patients will benefit when you expand your knowledge of sports chiropractic.

Often, doctors interested in building a sports chiropractic practice start out by going to a local gym, giving advice and providing on-the-spot chiropractic manipulations. But it's important to follow an appropriate standard of care in order to not diminish the perception of the value of the service provided.

First, always schedule an appointment in the office, explaining to the patient this is where you can provide the best care and treatment.

Second, keep good records. In any practice, you should record appropriate information obtained during the interview/exam, not only for the patient's sake, but yours. For example, when a young powerlifter complained of back pain, her DC suspected a herniated disc. Following an examination, he advised her she should not compete and recorded his findings as such. The patient continued to lift and her condition deteriorated to the point she needed surgery. Later, she filed suit against the DC, but the patient's history, examination and records reflected the DC's advice against her competing.

Tips for Sports Physicals

While there is nothing wrong with offering sports physicals, doctors who provide them need to be careful not to lower their standards simply because they expect young athletes to be fit and healthy. You should always use the same level of care and documentation with sports physicals that you would with any other treatment in your office.

Remember to also get parental consent. There are often state requirements for parental consent, so check with your state association to verify what is required.

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