In a 2002 survey published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 77 percent of National Football League trainers reported that they refer their injured players to doctors of chiropractic.1 Football is only one of many sports in which chiropractic plays a role in getting players back into the game. For example, there has been an official chiropractic presence on the U.S. Olympic Sports Medicine Team since the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y.,2 and baseball players have depended on chiropractic care to speed their return to the field since the days of Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.3,4
Sports is not the only area of life in which chiropractic care has been shown to get people back on their feet. A study of 3,062 workers in Utah with job-related back injuries noted that injured workers under chiropractic care had one-tenth the lost time compared to those under medical care.5 And in a British study comparing chiropractic care with hospital-based physical therapy for patients with low back pain, patients under chiropractic care scored better than those under physical therapy in terms of regaining walking ability, lifting, traveling and house-keeping.6 Even three years after care was completed, the patients who had been under chiropractic care scored 29 percent better on a questionnaire that addressed these activity areas.7
Clearly, doctors of chiropractic help people get back on their feet. The importance of this cannot be overstated - failure to return to activity does not just disrupt careers and recreation. If an injured person does not resume activity soon, they can drift into a sedentary lifestyle. This is damaging for the whole body. At some point, you (and many of your patients) have probably seen a television news story or read a newspaper article reporting that a sedentary lifestyle is a major health threat in the United States. What amounts to an epidemic of inactivity contributes to rising levels of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. A sedentary lifestyle even increases the risk for stroke in both men and women.8,9
For more than 100 years, people have sought the care of doctors of chiropractic to help them heal quickly from their injuries. The scientific literature strongly supports the wisdom of these people's choice. By getting people back on their feet, chiropractic care makes an active lifestyle possible again. There is no telling how many lives have been improved and even lengthened by this single aspect of chiropractic care.
The patients who come to my practice for the first time are probably much like yours. In many cases, they are people whose normal activities are impaired due to a musculoskeletal injury. Naturally, chiropractic care can help most of them become active again. This has implications far beyond the musculoskeletal realm.
This article is a great way to remind your patients that returning to activity is a whole-health benefit. Please feel free to use it on your bulletin board, as a front-desk flyer, or as a lay-lecture handout. I hope this article stimulates your patients' minds as well as their referrals.
- Stump J, Redwood D. The use and role of sport chiropractors in the National Football League: a short report. JMPT, 2002;25(3):E2.
- Perle SM. "Sports Chiropractic." In Redwood D, Cleveland CS (Editors): Fundamentals of Chiropractic. St. Louis, Mo.: Mosby, 2003.
- Dintenfass J. "Dr. Erle Painter, Pioneer Sports Chiropractor, Presents His Experiences With Boston Braves and New York Yankees." Chiro Sports Med, 1987;1(3):114.
- Rehm W. "'Doc' Painter and the 'Mighty' New York Yankees ... Ruth, DiMaggio, and Gehrig Were His Patients." Chiro Hist, 1992;12(1):10-1.
- Jarvis KB, Phillips RB, Morris EK. Cost per case comparison of back injury claims of chiropractic versus medical management for conditions with identical diagnostic codes. J Occup Med, 1991;33(8):847-52.
- Meade TW, Dyer S, Browne W, Frank AO. Low back pain of mechanical origin: randomized comparison of chiropractic and hospital outpatient treatment. British Med J, 1990;300:1431-7.
- Meade TW, Dyer S, Browne W, Frank AO. Randomised comparison of chiropractic and hospital outpatient management for low back pain: results from extended follow up. British Med J, 1995; 311: 349.
- Lee I-M, Paffenbarger RS. Physical activity and stroke incidence: the Harvard Alumni Health Study. Stroke, 1998;29:2049-54.
- McGinn AP, Kaplan RC, Verghese J, Rosenbaum DM, et al. Walking speed and risk of incident ischemic stroke among postmenopausal women. Stroke, 2008;39:1233-9.
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