Dr. Lipoff: Diagnosing and Treatment of the High School Athlete

Michael Jordan said, “I didn’t know how much I could improve until I started seeing a chiropractor? Since I’ve been in chiropractic, I’ve improved by leaps and bounds, both mentally and physically.”

Even if you don’t play football, or sports like soccer, baseball, volleyball, softball, wrestling and lacrosse, they involve a lot of contact plus the physical demands of any training and practice affect your spine and muscles too.

That is one big misconception regarding our spine. If it doesn’t hurt it must be okay even though we use it every time we move, fall, play, lift, etc.

Another one is that kids certainly don’t need to be concerned about spinal care, that’s an old folk’s problem. No exactly. That’s like saying dental care is only for adults.

Many of the issues we ignored when we were younger like car accidents, falls and playing contact sports can lead to problems later in life if left uncorrected. And new problems are a lot easier to resolve when they just happen.

No one wants to fix a broken forearm 10 years later after it has adapted to the break. Probably have to re-break the arm and the treatment and rehab would be much more intense and longer.

In some cases I have treated 14 year old athletes suffering from disc bulges and other injuries you might only expect from older folks.

Many children play sports and it is a healthy experience, can build great friendships and help them develop good motor skills. Unfortunately they can also get hurt and are often told to walk it off.

Again, just because you can’t see their spine doesn’t mean it didn’t take a severe impact after heading a soccer ball traveling at 70 mph. That’s like getting punched in the head by Mike Tyson.

I listed a few of the common areas student athletes complain of and how chiropractic can help your budding star recover and stay in the game.

HEADACHES: With more and more attention being given to the frequency of concussions in sports it should be noted that a common symptom from concussions are headaches. Approximately 136,000 young athletes will suffer from post-concussive symptoms and experience neck pain and headaches. “Spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate relief for headaches originating from the neck.” Duke University 2001

Roughly 60 percent of chronic neck pain and 60 – 90 percent of headaches have been linked to facet joint pain, which is something chiropractors affect with spinal corrections. This is discussed in many studies like the one from The Iowa Orthopaedic Journal on the National Institute of Health website.

WHIPLASH: When an athlete is hit hard they will suffer a whiplash-like injury. They may experience persistent neck pain and headaches. Undetected spinal damage can lead to biomechanical stress and result in chronic pain known as late whiplash syndrome. Clinical Orthopedics stated how manipulation disrupts adhesions in the body and prevents the damaged ligaments from healing at only 40% of their original strength.

SHOULDER: A 1997 study in the British Medical Journal, a 2004 study from the Annals of Internal Medicine and another 2007 U.S study all found adding shoulder manipulation to the normal rehab protocol improved the outcomes and reduced the pain associated with certain shoulder injuries.


HIP: In 2004, a major study done in the U.S. was published in Arthritis Rheumatology by Hoeksma et al and found manipulation and mobilization produced significantly greater outcomes when compared to only an exercise program.

KNEE: Two studies; one from the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2000 and the other a 2005 from Physical Therapeutics, concluded combining an exercise program with manual therapy may help osteoarthritis patients avoid surgery.

ANKLE: A 2001 U.S study from JMPT and Physiologic Therapeutics both found chiropractic care of ankle sprains noted increased motion, less pain and better ankle function.

INJURY PREVENTION: In 2010, an Australian study in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders found adding chiropractic care to the Australian profession football players regiment helped reduce the number of leg injuries.

LOW BACK PAIN: Most people utilize Doctors of Chiropractic for low back pain. The Utah Worker’s Comp Study, Pran Manga Report and New Zealand Study are just a few research studies that reported chiropractic was the most cost-effective treatment for low back pain.

If you want more proof, listen to these Hall of Famers. All pro teams have chiropractors because it helps these elite athletes recover and compete at a high level.

Tiger Woods - "Being a Chiropractic patient has really helped me immensely...lifting weights and seeing a Chiropractor on a regular basis has made me a better golfer. I've been going to Chiropractors for as long as I can remember. It's as important to my training as practicing my swing."

Tom Brady – "Chiropractic just makes you feel so much better. When I walk out of the clinic, I feel like I'm about three inches taller and everything's in place. And as long as I see the chiropractor, I feel like I'm one step ahead of the game."

Joe Montana – “I’ve been seeing a chiropractor and he’s really been helping me out a lot. Chiropractic’s been a big part of my game.”

Emmit Smith - “Deep-tissue massage and chiropractic are now common treatments around the league. I started doing this about four or five years ago. I believe that what I’m doing is what helps me go on. So I’ve become a big believer in servicing my body and making sure it is lined up properly and functioning the way it is supposed to on Sunday. I go see my chiropractor when I get bent out of shape on Sundays. Playing in a football game is like being in 30-40 car accidents.”

He added, "I found a specialist that's really good in balancing out my body to make sure my hips are rotated right, and my body is functioning properly. I definitely try to get on a basis where I use Chiropractic at least twice a week. I would say definitely say that it helps me to perform at a higher level."

Bottom line is if your child plays sports, watch them carefully for potential spinal injuries and listen to their complaints. Maybe even ask them how they are feeling. The goal is to keep them healthy as they grow.

May 30th will be the Wildewood Shopping Center’s Family Fun Day from 11 – 2pm. We have a Super Hero Costume Contest, Princess Contest, visit the nonprofit heroes from Foundation 4 Heroes, The Balloon Nerd, 50/50 Raffle to benefit Gabriel Sanchez, as well as a Dolphin Water Slide, HUGE Moon Bounce, Lexington Park Fire Department and more. There will be food and drinks available, sidewalk chalk drawing contest and other fundraising for a few special kids. Come out and support a great community event!

Remember -- “Even Heroes Need a Hero.”

Dr. Jay M. Lipoff is the owner of Back At Your Best Chiropractic & Physical Therapy, LLC, which is located in the Wildewood Shopping Center. Dr. Lipoff is also the author of “Back At Your Best; Balancing the Demands of Life With the Needs of Your Body.” It is available in book and Kindle format at Amazon.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University in 1990, a Doctorate of Chiropractic (D.C.) from New York Chiropractic College (NYCC) in 1994 and he became a Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) in 2005.

Dr. Lipoff is an Executive Board Member, International Chiropractic Association Council on Fitness and Sports Health Science; won the 2015 Arnold Schwarzenegger Legacy Award for his community work; has a radio segment: Back At Your Best in 5 Minutes or Less, President and Founder; Foundation 4 Heroes, Contributing writer, Huffington Post’ Co-Founder, Drug Free Training USA; Member, NY Strength-promoting the importance of physical conditioning; Board Member of Public Relations Committee, Maryland Chiropractic Association; has spoken on nationally broadcasted radio interviews, has articles in print and referenced in over 150 print papers, magazine and on websites, President, Wildewood Business Network-promoting better business relations and community outreach.

For more information, go to, find us on facebook, or call 301-863-BEST (2378)., 844-F4Heroes.

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