“I’m coming to see you, but I’m not an athlete, so I hope you can still help me.” I hear this a lot, and my answer is almost always “yes!”
The term Sports Medicine is a broad term that I have found changed my entire practice for the better – not just for the athletes, but the WHOLE practice. This mostly applies to orthopedics and injury management although it does not have to be limited to this. Do you walk, lift objects, stoop, squat, take out the trash, bend over, garden or lift overhead? If you are moving then you are being physical! I think you get the idea…
In my opinion, being credentialed in sports medicine means using the best practice and evidence (in other words – science) to help you heal as fast as possible, and keep you in the game of life. Most patients at our office are not sitting around waiting to get better; We ask them to actively take part in that process, and together we are always trying to find ways for them to continue their activities as they progress.
Many injured people are going to have to put in some work to get better. Doing rehabilitation exercises, and knowing what to do (and what not to do) and when to do it is often the difference between success and failure. Sports medicine practitioners can help you create that plan.
The arena of sports medicine also deals with emergency medicine (not only concussions, but slips, falls, strains, sprains and broken bones among other things). Athletes encounter this type of thing all the time, but hey so does everyone else!
The point is, I feel that a sports medicine practitioner can help many people in different situations – not just athletes. The important thing is that you find the right practitioner and treatment that works for you. Just don’t settle for a “cookie-cutter/assembly line” approach. Each individual is unique and requires a unique plan of action!
Matt Terreri, DC, CCSP is a sports chiropractor at Southern Oregon Sports & Spine as well as the official chiropractor for the SOU Raiders and a volunteer medical provider for the U.S. Olympics.