Chiropractors assess and treat sports-related injuries, and work to optimize athletic function, through non-invasive joint manipulation. Often, the goal is to improve muscle tone, balance, and performance for a specific sport or movement. One of the biggest benefits of chiropractic care for athletes is that it helps relieve aches, pains, and soreness associated with pushing yourself to your physical limits. Joints, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and discs can all benefit from chiropractic alignment.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, it is estimated that approximately 90 percent of professional and Olympic-class athletes use chiropractic care to increase performance and reduce the risk of injury. All NFL teams and most MLB teams have a full-time chiropractor provider on staff.
Chiropractic care can help to reduce feelings of fatigue and increase energy levels and reduce wear and tear . This will also reduce the occurrence of chronic pain. If you want to stay on top of your game for longer, then regular chiropractic care will be essential.

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Types of Athletes We Help At Barley Wellness

Runners

Running is one of the best forms of exercise you can give your body, whether you run competitively in races on weekends or for a school/organization, or just run for leisure, fun, and fitness. It has immense whole-body benefits by improving function in both the body and stimulating the release of “feel-good” chemicals called endorphins. Running also while not an efficient way to lose weight, does increase insulin sensitivity that may help in that arena.

It’s so important to run correctly as running can be hard on the body, especially when done frequently and over long distances. When you think about it, every time your foot strikes the ground, it transmits force through the entire body, especially the spine. Our spine is designed to handle this, of course, with its “shock-absorbing” discs but it makes it very important to look after your spine appropriately with regular chiropractic care.

Barley Wellness is the best place you can go as a runner. Dr. Barley has been running for years with the Greater New Bedford Track Club and has participated in all kinds of road races, from Half Marathons, 10ks, 5ks, trail runs, triathlons to Tough Mudders and Spartans. Our chiropractors at Barley Wellness will ensure that your spine is in good alignment and that your nervous system is operating at the highest level to keep you healthy and healed when injured. With services such as massage therapy, cupping and stone massage, customized therapeutic exercise, infrared sauna, physical therapy modalities like e-stim and ultrasound, we have the means to address nearly any musculoskeletal issue that may arise as a result of your running. If you are looking for a place that has all of this under one roof that can support your rigorous activity, then look no further.

Triathletes

Triathlons are one of the most grueling athletic endeavors one can pursue, hands down. The distances can vary from short triathlons to the hardest of all, the Iron Man competition. Regardless, participating in swimming, cycling, and running consecutively is a difficult challenge and requires a lot of physical preparation and mental fortitude. In all, despite its difficulty level, it could arguably be considered the pinnacle of human performance, because of the diversity of these activities.
Such diversity, however, opens a lot of doors to possible injury. Swimming can cause shoulder problems like impingement, tendonitis and muscle strains. Cycling can cause lower back, neck and leg stiffness. Running can cause lower extremity injuries. Barley Wellness in Fairhaven, MA is equipped and ready to meet all of these challenges and help you navigate your recovery as quickly as possible. Our wide range of services gives us the unique opportunity to provide people with exactly what they need, whether it is chiropractic, rehab, or recovery-based care. If you are a triathlete, you simply must have an office like this in your corner.

Golfers

Golf is a fantastic game because of the wide variety of people it attracts. From young people to retirees, from amateurs to the best of the best on the PGA tour, golf is a game that requires both physical and mental attributes for one to be successful. The golf swing is a complex movement involving many different muscle groups working in unison. Weakness or injury to even one of the muscles can disrupt the rhythm of a swing and take a person out of the game. From a mental standpoint, the amount of focus, precision, and poise necessary to execute a shot requires the nervous system to be on point. To this point, chiropractic and golf go hand in hand.
Chiropractic adjustments can keep the body in good alignment so the nervous system can clearly communicate throughout the body. This improved function can assist with muscle memory and movement patterns that are necessary for the various kinds of golf swings needed. If you sustain an injury in your back, pelvis, hips, or elbows, our team can help you recover quickly and get back on the course playing the game you love.

Soccer Players

A chiropractor helps a soccer player improve their performance by increasing their flexibility through certain adjustments. Chiropractors play an important role in avoidance of injury as well as rehabilitation. Speed, agility, endurance, fast reflexes, balance, strength, and coordination play a significant role for the soccer player and chiropractors can not only improve range of motion with spinal adjustments and muscle therapy but can instruct the soccer player how to avoid injury with at home therapeutic exercise.

At Barley Wellness we know soccer. Dr. Barley, once a semi-pro player in Hawaii, played all through college and his elementary school years and still plays today in a competitive league throughout New England.

Our doctors at Barley Wellness can help soccer players with injuries sustained while playing and eliminate injuries before they happen with proper alignment and therapies to improve range of motion, reduce muscle spasm and swelling and enhance performance.

Baseball Players

Baseball is like golf in that there are complex movement patterns required for the various elements of the sport. Whether it is throwing or hitting, there are multiple muscle groups all working in unison to execute the required movement. Also, like golf, baseball is a very mental game that requires a lot of focus, poise, and attention to detail to be successful. Injuries can be particularly common in baseball due to the speed with which the game is played. For example, injuries to the elbows, shoulders, and abdominal/oblique muscles are common due to the rotational force placed on these areas during the throwing motion.

Chiropractic is always a good place to start. The body must be in good alignment to properly heal from these types of injuries. Therapies such as deep tissue massage, infrared sauna often prove extremely effective for addressing inflammation and discomfort in joints such as the elbows and shoulders. Our specific soft-tissue muscle therapy, which utilizes a metal tool to work through muscle adhesions, can also be useful for providing improved range of motion and decreased pain. We are here to help get you back on the field.

CrossFit Athletes

CrossFit is a versatile form of exercise that has become very popular in recent years. The focus is on cross training the body through various forms of exercise to challenge the body as much as possible. Not only is this a highly effective method of training the body and improving strength and function, but the variability also keeps people engaged and coming back for more, which inevitably leads to better health outcomes for these individuals.

Because of the high amount of stress placed on the body through CrossFit, it is natural for injuries to develop from overuse or overexertion. Chiropractic and massage are two fantastic ways that you can keep your body going strong and have peace of mind that the nervous system is operating exactly as it should be. When this is the case, healing is more efficient, and injury is less likely.

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Common Conditions That We Treat In Athletes

Plantar Fasciitis

This painful condition occurs when inflammation and soft tissue damage occurs on the bottom of the foot, resulting in sharp pain that usually occurs first thing in the morning when you get out of bed. This condition is very common in runners but can also be experienced by any athlete who is on their feet for competition.

At Barley Wellness, we commonly treat plantar fasciitis with a combination of extremity adjusting, deep tissue massage, Soft Tissue Mysofascial Technique, and chiropractic adjustments therapeutic exercise help the tissue heal and get the foot back to normal function.

Golfer’s Elbow

Also known as medial epicondylitis, golfer’s elbow affects the inner part of the elbow. It is particularly felt during the golf swing just as the elbow is ready to roll forward and rotate through the remainder of the swing. It can be painful and frustrating, especially for those who play a lot of golf. Deep tissue massage, Soft Tissue Mysofascial Technique, elbow and wrist adjusting and kinesio-taping and are effective ways to help heal golfer’s elbow naturally without medications or injections. Treatment is quick, and in some cases could even have you back out on the golf course the same day.

Tennis Elbow

Also known as lateral epicondylitis, it’s often felt more so on the backhand swing versus the forehand. Deep tissue massage, soft tissue mysofascial technique, elbow and wrist adjusting and kinesio-taping and are effective ways to help you get back on the court quickly and heal tennis elbow naturally without medications or injections.

Concussions

In most types of sports where there is contact, concussions inevitably occur. In sports such as soccer, football, basketball, and hockey, they can be quite common. A concussion occurs when contact or quick movement causes the brain to hit hard against the inside of the skull. This is called “coup/contra-coup”. This can cause headaches, memory loss, and dizziness and nausea. It is important to manage concussions carefully. In our office, we use concussion protocols to safely recover before re-entering back into the sport arena.

Muscle Strains

These types of injuries are some of the most common to be seen in our office. Muscles can be strained through athletic performance, but also through basic everyday movements as well. When a muscle is strained, some of the fibers of the muscle are damaged or slightly torn, causing pain and inflammation. Therapies such as soft-tissue myofascial therapy, massage therapy and gentle but dynamic stretching can help ensure the muscles can heal properly so that adhesions don’t form, and the muscle can return to full function. If adhesions are allowed to develop, it can make the treatment process more complicated, so don’t delay having your muscle strain checked out if one occurs.

Ligament Sprains

Muscle strains and ligament sprains are common occurrences in all sports. Many athletes confuse muscle strain with ligamentous sprain.

A sprain can be quite severe and create edema or swelling, pain and an inability to use that joint for quite some time. Sprains can last up to 8 weeks whereas minor to moderate strains may recover in 3-5 weeks.

At Barley Wellness, the doctors can assess whether it is a muscle strain or a ligament sprain and advise the appropriate care. Sometimes that care may be an X-Ray to rule out fracture, taping or splinting to immobilize, cryotherapy, mild joint mobilization and passive ROMS.

Low Back Pain

Very commonly seen in virtually any sport or athletic endeavor, lower back pain is treated day in day out at the Barley Wellness. Chiropractic is the main method by which we treat lower back pain, but we have numerous other therapeutic modalities that can help us provide excellent care. Treatments such as massage therapy, exercise, deep tissue massage, electric stimulation, and spinal traction are a few of the ways we can adequately handle virtually any lower back pain case that walks through our door. We are ready to help you address this problem naturally and effectively.

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Ways We Treat Athletes in Fairhaven, MA

Comprehensive Consultation and Examination

Every new patient experience starts with a thorough consultation and exam. During the consultation, our doctors will listen to the problems you’re having and how they’re affecting your daily life. Whether they are interfering with your sport or activity, or something else like your workday, it is important to get to the root of these issues so the right clinical approach can be taken to fix these problems. They want to know about past injuries and accidents because these things play a role in how the spine functions even years after they occurred.

After your consultation, the doctor will perform a thorough exam with you. Orthopedic, neurologic, and functional movement tests will help determine what areas of the body are not functioning correctly, and how they might be related to the area of chief complaint. It is important to not get boxed into treating a certain area just because it hurts. There may be another reason why it is not functioning well or hurting. This is the purpose of the exam: to connect these dots and figure out the best approach for working past this problem. We also have on-site, the latest in digital x-ray technology to assess any significant trauma injuries from athletic competition. With so many different treatment options available under one roof, Barley Wellness has something for everybody.

Sports Chiropractic

Chiropractic is the primary method by which we help athletes work through injuries, improve function, and maintain optimal health and well-being. Everyday life is stressful, and stress is one of the main causes of subluxation in the spine. This is where a segment of the spine is not positioned correctly, causing pressure on the nerve and nervous system. Arguably, athletes put more stress on the spine than anyone else, so it is essential that they have their spine checked regularly for subluxation.

The longer that subluxation remains, the more issues it can cause. From localized pain to radiating pain, even other more internal health challenges, it is best case scenario to be always in as good of alignment as possible. This allows your nervous system to function, which is crucial not only to athletic performance but to recovery as well. After all, there is a reason that almost all professional sports teams, leagues, as well as large athletic programs, have a chiropractor on staff. If you consider yourself an athlete and are not getting adjusted, you are missing out!

Soft Tissue Mysofascial Technique

One of the most common sports injuries that occur is injuries to the soft tissues, such as muscles or tendons. This is primarily due to the highly frequent use/overuse and the sheer amount of exertion placed on these tissues through athletic performance. When muscles get stiff and tight, the tissue gets knotted up and it becomes less mobile. This creates discomfort for the individual, sometimes to the extent of keeping them out of their preferred activity.

Soft tissue myofascial technique is an effective, instrument-assisted soft tissue muscle/tendon/fascia technique that involves applying pressure using a metal instrument to the affected area. This soft tissue technique mobilizes tissue and breaks down adhesions that can limit motion and cause pain. This treatment can increase range of motion, decrease pain, and improve circulation to the area. This technique is popular with athletes as it works fast and provides instant improvement in mobility.

Deep Tissue Massage

A key part of providing exceptional care to athletes is utilizing the latest research in muscle work to reduce recovery times. Healing takes time, but the quicker healing can occur, the better it is for the athlete and, if applicable, his/her team. At the Barley Wellness, our therapists use deep tissue massage, cupping and other muscle work to help speed up the recovery process. Deep tissue massage involves breaking up adhesions and scarred tissue, mobilizing fascia to penetrate deep down improve circulation and lymphatic drainage, ridding the tissue of inflammation and edema, thus stimulating the healing process.

Infrared Sauna Therapy

The heat from an infrared sauna penetrates tissues, joints and muscles which increases blood flow to promote better circulation. As a result, this infrared heat will reduce pain and muscle spasms to help the body to relax and heal naturally. Since infrared therapy enhances and improves circulation in the skin and other parts of the body, it can bring oxygen and nutrients to injured tissues, promoting healing. The healthier the mitochondria,(the powerhouse of the body where energy is made), the more energy it puts out. Sauna improves recovery time and muscle growth by releasing heat shock proteins and HGH. It also dilates blood vessels, increasing the amount of oxygen rich blood that flows into the muscles. It is a great therapy for muscle tightness and spasm but also for post exercise recovery and overall the relaxation response is beneficial for mental health.

Electrical Stimulation

Acute injuries that may benefit from electrical muscle stimulation include sprains, strains, tendonitis, contusions, and bursitis, among others. The primary purpose of e-stim therapy is to simulate what happens in the body when you voluntarily contract and release a muscle many times in a row. This process strengthens and repairs tissue, particularly muscles which have become shortened, weakened, or atrophied due to injury or disease. It also brings blood filled nutrients to the injury site and rids that tissue of exudative edema and inflammation, thus potentially quickening recovery. E-stim sends mild electrical pulses through the skin to help stimulate injured muscles or manipulate nerves to reduce pain. E-stim may not be appropriate for everyone, but for many people this painless procedure is accelerating recovery and providing relief from painful or uncomfortable symptoms

Ultrasound

Ultrasound uses sound waves that can expedite healing by increasing temperature and blood flow to the injured area. Ultrasound with its thermal effects, is used to break up scar tissue and can also maintain and increase range of motion. Therapeutic ultrasound can reduce pain by decreasing muscle spasms and tightness and promote tissue healing. Our doctors at Barley Wellness will determine if this treatment is right for you.

Therapeutic Exercises

Therapeutic exercises are movements and physical activities designed to restore function and flexibility, improve strength and decrease pain. Whether your injury is acute or chronic, our Barley Wellness providers will prescribe therapeutic exercises for your condition. Passive treatments like adjustments, e-stim and ultrasound are always followed up with therapeutic exercise to stretch, and then strengthen the area of injury. These exercises can also prevent future injury by enhancing flexibility, stability, and strength.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Chiropractic for Athletes and Sports Injuries

Is chiropractic good for an athlete?

100% yes. Athletes put a lot of stress on their bodies, and this can manifest into many conditions related to the spine and other joints. Chiropractic can help improve mobility, improve posture, decrease pain, and help the body function more optimally. What athlete wouldn’t want their body to function at the highest level that it can?

Do professional athletes use chiropractors?

Nearly all professional athletes have access to and utilize chiropractic care as part of their recovery and performance team. This is because chiropractic can help the body heal by allowing the nervous system to fully function without interference due to subluxation. There’s a good reason that almost every major sports organization has a chiropractor on its staff as do all Olympic teams!

Can kids in sports see a chiropractor?

Absolutely! All kids should have their spine checked by a chiropractor as they continue to grow and develop, but it is especially important for kids who play sports to have their spine checked regularly. Sports cause more stress on the body than most everyday activities, so there are more opportunities for subluxation to occur in the spine. Removing subluxations from the spine can help kids grow up healthy and functioning optimally, which is in every parent’s best interests.

How often do athletes see a chiropractor?

If an athlete sustains an injury that chiropractic can help with, it is common to be seen frequently to get on top of the problem and make sure the body can heal the correct way. As time goes on, those visits can become fewer and further between as sustained improvement is noted, and it’s common for athletes to be seen routinely for maintenance and wellness.

Can chiropractic optimize performance in an athlete?

Yes. Chiropractic care has a direct influence on the nervous system, which controls all functions of the body. If the nervous system is optimized, it means that the muscles in the body can move and perform the way they are supposed to. This can improve performance and assist in healing and recovery as well.

Can you workout while going to the chiropractor?

Depending on the severity of the issue you’ve sought chiropractic care for, and how you’re feeling after your adjustment, it’s fine to work out on the same day of your adjustment. Always get the advice of your chiropractor if you’ve been treating for an injury when you may return to play.

What is the difference between a sports chiropractor and a regular chiropractor?

Chiropractic adjustments are just one part of the healing process. Rather than a quick adjustment, sports chiropractors offer a more complete therapy that is tailored to the athlete and their problem areas. This can include resistance training and exercises that improve coordination and muscle tone.

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