Chiropractic Treatment For Sports Injuries | When To See A Chiropractor?

Chiropractors are known for treating back pain and neck pain but do you know sports chiropractors also work with sports injuries? At Square One, we work with you to give you long term pain relief.

What is chiropractic care?

Most people mistake chiropractic care as chiropractic adjustments or spinal manipulative therapy. Chiropractic care, however, refers to any form of therapy administered by a chiropractor. The treatment ranges from chiropractic adjustment to IASTM or even exercise therapy. Chiropractic is a healthcare profession concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. This can include the more common shoulder pain to knee pain or sports injuries.

When should I see a doctor for my sports injury?

You should seek professional care if the symptoms persists despite rest and self-management or if you start to notice a decline in your training or athletic performance.

We highly advise athletes to seek care from a musculoskeletal care expert such as a sports chiropractor or sports physiotherapist. It is unlikely for a medical doctor or general practitioner without a sports medicine background to be able to adequately access your condition and what you need to achieve full recovery.

bukit pasoh, outram park, tanjong pagar, chiropractic clinic
Our assortment of weights, kettlebell, dumbbells from Again Faster. We take rehabilitative exercises to a whole new level. Our office is just minutes away from Outram Park MRT (Dorrsett Hotel, Exit H), Pinnacles at Duxton, and 100 AM Mall.

5 Sport Injuries Facts

  1. Strength training reduces risk of injury by almost 70%. Stretching? Only 4%.
  2. Nordic Hamstring Curl is the single best exercise you can do for your hamstring – reduces risk of hamstring injury by 51%!
  3. Previous injury is the single biggest risk factor at re-injuring yourself
  4. Knee is the most commonly injured region from running
  5. Flat foot and running shoes don’t really change your risk of being injured from running

How should I rehabilitate myself following my athletic injury?

volleyball, sports chiropractor, singapore
Kingsley Tay, our national volleyball athlete, doing a pull up so we can assess the extend of his elbow tendonitis. Before this injury, we worked with Kingsley to resolve his chronic knee pain in just three visits!

We highly recommend seeking professional help. If you decide to rehabilitate yourself, try the following:

  • Load management: Most athlete intuitively rest after a sports injury. What they are trying to achieve is to manage load. While we don’t recommend complete rest (unless absolutely necessary), it is important to listen to your body and respect its limits. We highly recommend you revaluate your exercise routine and consider reducing training duration, frequency or even intensity during each training. If your injury doesn’t allow you to return to training, try simple range of motion exercises (without additional weight or resistance) or  isometric-type exercises. Isometric contraction has been linked to providing pain relief so this is always a good place to start. Once you are able to perform range of motion exercises or isometric exercises without any issues, you can attempt the same movements with the addition of a resistance band. Again, we recommend you seek professional advice.
  • Pain management: Depending on the type of injury, some exercises may actually directly help with the pain. As mentioned earlier, isometric exercises are linked to symptom reduction. In cases of tendinopathy (tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis, etc), eccentric exercises seem to help with pain as well. While most of you will ice your injury to help with pain or recovery, there is very limited data to support icing. Manual therapy such as soft tissue massage, dry needling or even chiropractic adjustments might help with short term pain relief but they are unlikely to contribute to your return to sport.
  • Education: Most athletes use pain as an indicator of the severity of injury. However, pain itself is very poorly correlated to tissue damage or injury. Being pain-free is not an indicator for return to sport. If you find yourself repetitively suffering the same injury (i.e. shoulder sprain every month or two), we highly recommend that you seek professional help to identify the factors that are contributing to your recurrent injury. In cases like this, it is most likely that you have never achieved a full recovery. Your pain-free period is probably the direct result of rest. Rest does alleviate your symptoms but doesn’t actually help you achieve a full recovery

Don’t forget, there are different types of injury and different causes of sports injuries. While the above are guiding principles to recovery, it takes clinical training to know what to do at the right time.

Read more: Seven Reasons Why Instagram Rehab Doesn’t Work

How beneficial is chiropractic therapy?

Square One uses predominantly exercise therapy because research consistently demonstrate exercise to be superior to passive modalities. We have blogged about why we choose exercise and why chiropractic adjustments may help with short-term function but doesn’t have any long term effect. When seeking chiropractic therapy, it is important to seek out good chiropractors.

Good chiropractors will be able to evaluate your condition, explain the best therapy for your case, and deliver chiropractic treatment that will help you return to sports pain-free.

Check out the eleven best recommendations for musculoskeletal pain.

p.s. there is a increase in TCM practitioners in Singapore offering chiropractic therapy or treatments. Do note that chiropractic or chiropractic is not a title that is protected by the Ministry of Health. As such, anyone can claim to deliver chiropractic care but might not actually be trained in the same capacity as an accredited chiropractor.

How long does a chiropractic treatment take?

wakemusters, wakesurfing, chiropractor
Marcus Lee, founder of the first wakesurfing school in Singapore, receiving a chiropractic neck adjustment from Jesse Cai. Chiropractic adjustments provide athletes with temporary relief but doesn’t help you achieve full recovery.

The treatments are Square One are typically an hour for the first session and follow ups are between 30 to 45 minutes. Most chiropractic clinics in Singapore only utilises chiropractic adjustments as their only therapy and their treatment duration is between 5 to 10 minutes. We highly recommend that you do not seek care from such practices as research doesn’t support the use of manual therapy alone for management of sports injuries.

These clinics also tend to sell packages ranging from 12 sessions up to 100 sessions. At Square One, over 80% of our clients will leave our care within 4 to 7 visits. We think we are one of the best chiropractors in Singapore.

Check out: How Much Does It Cost To See A Chiropractor In Singapore?

Is chiropractic legitimate?

There are very few sports chiropractors in Singapore with experience working for professional clubs. Most of us don’t consider seeing a chiropractor for sports injury treatment.

Do you know the managing director for Sports Medicine of United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is a chiropractor? He is Dr Bill Moreau. He has been leading USOC since 2012 and is the Medical Director for all the Olympic games in the same period.

Six members of the USOC are chiropractors and only 1 is a physiotherapist.

In London 2012, Team USA alone sent over 100 chiropractors.

Sports chiropractic is BIG! Just not so much in Singapore.

Physiotherapy or Chiropractor?

This is a perfect question.

In a private setting, physiotherapy and chiropractic scope of practice is very similar. We are both trained to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal injuries and utilise similar modalities. The question really shouldn’t be if you should see a physiotherapist or a qualified chiropractor but rather who is the better practitioner for your case.

If you are seeking care for a sports injury, we highly recommend you only consider experienced chiropractor who has worked in a sports capacity (preferably professional sports). Virtually all clinicians with professional sports experience will understand the importance of rehabilitation and return to sports programming. They are the ones who are most likely to help you achieve athletic longevity.

There are many therapists in Singapore who would claim to work with athletes or sports groups. Most of these therapists tend to have no clinical training or no professional sports experience. As a result, the services they provide are usually catered to the mass public and are not likely to be supported by the latest research.

p.s. we advise you avoid chiropractors that are not evidence based. You can read more at: Four Things Your Chiropractor Doesn’t Want You To Know

Is Square One the right place for me?

singapore chiropractor, jesse cai, outram park, tanjong pagar
Sports Chiropractor Jesse Cai has worked with professional athletes across multiple sports in Australia before moving to Singapore to start Square One.

When it comes to sports injuries, 100% yes.

Jesse worked with professional athletes across multiple sports in his time in Australia. This include AFL clubs from both the state and amateur leagues. He also worked with the state basketball league, national lacrosse, national baseball, and national wheelchair basketball team. He was the Head Trainer of Forrestfield Football Club, a committee member of Sports Chiropractic Australia and a member of Sports Medicine Australia.

Our approach to care is vastly different from other chiropractors or physiotherapists in Singapore. For one, we are the only 100% exercise therapy clinic in Singapore – this is congruent with virtually all international guideline recommendations. Two, we work directly with your injury to help you achieve full recovery. Unlike other practitioners who might work with your pain with minimal time spent on exercise, our exercise prescription is directly targeted to help you achieve full recovery. Three, we are also concerned with your sports performance. All of our clients are required to fill in an intake form and on page three, you will notice a goal setting page. We are possibly the only practice in Singapore that is results/performance orientated.

If you have a sports injury that doesn’t seem to be getting better, come check us out. We are located at Bukit Pasoh Road – just two minutes away from Outram Park MRT (Dorsett Hotel, Exit H). If you are coming from Tanjong Pagar, we are a five-minute stroll from 100 AM Mall.

Got a question? Drop us a message and we will get back to you within 24 hours. Alternatively, you can book an appointment with us through our online booking form.

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Frustrated by the lack of results-driven and ethical chiropractic clinics in Singapore, Chiropractor Jesse Cai found Square One Active Recovery to deliver meaningful and sustainable pain solutions.

Our goal? To make our own services redundant to you.

*We do not offer temporary pain relief such as chiropractic adjustments, dry needling, or any form of soft tissue therapy.