Athletes and Osteopathic Manipulation – A Career Saving Alternative?

Osteopathic Healing Hands Team | March 15, 2021

Athletes of all levels are certainly no strangers to injury.

As any sports fan knows, even minor injuries can not only derail the career of an athlete but the fortunes of entire teams, leagues and competitions.

Therefore, speedy and effective recovery is more of a focus than ever before. For many athletes, that now means taking an integrative approach to their treatment encompassing both traditional medicine and alternative treatments to speed recovery from traumatic injuries, surgeries, and the nagging, chronic pains that hamper their performance in all kinds of sporting disciplines.

Athletes and Osteopathic Manipulation

Traumatic injury is the kind of injury that makes headlines on ESPN, but for many athletes, both professional and amateur, chronic, nagging aches and pains are actually far worse.  While they may play on, as no specific injury seems to exist, the pain continues, and their performance is affected.

Traditional sports medicine – and even surgery – sometimes fails to provide final answers, and athletes fail to reach their full potential.  Case in point is current National Basketball Association MVP Stephen Curry.

Always considered to have the elite skills to carry a ball club to the Championships as a college athlete and as a young pro, Curry’s game had one big weakness: his ankles.

After several seasons were ended for the guard by ankle issues, his status as one of the NBA’s elite was questioned.  So Curry began a course of treatment that included osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), acupuncture, prolotherapy, and wearing custom orthotics while on the court.

The result seems to have been two ankle-injury-free seasons, an MVP award, and a trip to the NBA Finals. And it is not just basketball players who make use of such treatments.

How Does OMT Help Athletes?

The use of OMT in sports medicine is actually nothing new, it’s been a part of many professional athletes’ and teams’ health regimes for years. What is newer is the idea of amateur athletes, even those still in school, making use of OMT as a part of injury recovery and even prevention.

As osteopathic treatments are centered around the idea that the body has the ability to repair itself with minimal intervention, it becomes preferable for many athletes to the more drastic options such as surgery.  In many cases, clinical studies have demonstrated OMT also decreases the need for pain medications.

This is a big boon for athletes at all levels, as dependency on pain medications for relief is not only bad for their own health, but can also inadvertently violate various official rules.  In the highly competitive world of power lifting, for example, the US and UK professional bodies both advocate the use of OMT as a first-line treatment, as taking almost any medication can put an athlete at risk for failing the extremely strenuous anti doping rules that govern the sport.

Whether or not Osteopathic Manipulation can benefit an athlete is best determined on a case by case basis by an Osteopathic specialist, but in many cases, it is an avenue of recovery and prevention that is well worth any sportsperson exploring further.

Osteopathic Healing Hands Team

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