Background: Chiropractors are an integral part of the management of musculoskeletal injuries. A considerable communication gap between the chiropractic and medical professions exists. Subsequently referring allopathic practitioners lack confidence in picking a chiropractic practitioner with appropriate management strategies to adequately resolve sporting injuries. Subsequently, the question is often raised: “how do you find a good chiropractor?”.
Discussion: Best practice guidelines are increasingly suggesting that musculoskeletal injuries should be managed with multimodal active and passive care strategies. Broadly speaking chiropractors may be subdivided into “modern multimodal” or “classical” (unimodal) in nature. The modern multimodal practitioner is better suited to managing sporting injuries by incorporating passive and active care management strategies to address three important phases of care in the continuum of injury from the acute inflammation/pain phase to the chronic/rehabilitation phase to the injury prevention phase. In contrast, the unimodal, manipulation only and typically spine only approach of the classical practitioner seems less suited to the challenges of the injured athlete. Identifying what part of the philosophical management spectrum a chiropractor falls is important as it is clearly not easily evident in most published material such as Yellow Pages advertisements.
Summary: Identifying a chiropractic practitioner who uses multimodal treatment of adequate duration, who incorporates active and passive components of therapy including exercise prescription whilst using medical terminology and diagnosis without mandatory x-rays or predetermined treatment schedules or prepaid contracts of care will likely result in selection of a chiropractor with the approach and philosophy suited to appropriately managing athletic conditions. Sporting organizations and associations should consider using similar criteria as a minimum standard to allow participation in health care team selections.
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