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Like patients in pain, Olympic athletes turn to doctors of chiropractic

Exercise Health Bodycare

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You might not think you have anything in common with the world-class athletes competing in this year's Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, but if you're seeing a chiropractor for aches and pains from shoveling snow, training for a local marathon or lifting your grandchild, you're more alike than you think.

Doctors of chiropractic play an important role in helping Olympic athletes prepare for competition and recover from injuries. Their visibility on the U.S. Olympic Committee's (USOC) medical staff has increased steadily over the years.

"We're taking five chiropractors [to the Olympic Games this year] and that just shows how far chiropractic has come since the first chiropractor joined the Olympic medical staff in 1980," says Dr. Michael Reed, a doctor of chiropractic who serves as a USOC medical director. "It has a lot to do with the requests of the athletes - they recognize the benefits of chiropractic in helping their bodies perform at peak condition."

"There is an increasing demand for the expert care of doctors of chiropractic by athletes of all levels," confirms Dr. Rick McMichael, president of the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). "But chiropractic's unique, drug-free approach can also help members of the general public enhance their health and wellness.

"In addition to the use of spinal manipulation and other manual therapies, DCs offer patients exercise and dietary recommendations, ergonomic tips and rehabilitative procedures - a full package of conservative, non-surgical interventions," he adds.

Surprisingly, treating a non-athlete with aches and pains is very similar to treating an Olympian, says Dr. Ted Forcum of Beaverton, Ore., president of the ACA's Sports Council. Dr. Forcum served on the USOC medical team in 2008.

"[As with Olympic and professional athletes,] it's important to ask patients what their goals for treatment are," Forcum says. "Is their goal just to be out of pain, or is their goal to function at a higher level? In most cases, chiropractors treat elite athletes to help optimize performance, not to treat an injury."

Athletes understand the importance of maintaining balance in their bodies and full range of motion in their muscles and joints. These are just some of the benefits of chiropractic care that enable them to perform at optimal levels.

With the rise in popularity of complementary and alternative medicine and today's emphasis on going green, many also appreciate the option for care that is drug-free. Chiropractic offers a natural approach to back pain, neck pain, headaches and the myriad aches and strains that result from leading an active life. To begin your road to good health, you'll find a wide range of health tips on the American Chiropractic Association Web site at http://www.acatoday.org/healthtips.

Even if you aren't training for a marathon or on your way to the Olympic Games, you might discover that a chiropractor can assist you in strengthening your muscles or joints, alleviating your headache or preventing your knees from aching. For more information about chiropractic or to find a chiropractor near you, visit the ACA's Web site, http://www.acatoday.org.
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