Conservative care is a form of healthcare that does not use medications or surgery to resolve an injury. As a sports chiropractor, to me, it is a model that incorporates the care of the injured person/athlete, but also concepts of general health, preventative care, and wellness care. I look at the big picture and don’t just focus mainly on the injury that a patient comes in the office with. This, in my opinion, is on the of the biggest mistakes other healthcare providers make. Yes, the low back is in pain, but what really caused the low back to become painful?
So what treatment options are available under conservative care? There’s quite a few. Adjustments/manipulations/mobilizations are the first thing that probably comes to mind when you think of a chiropractor but there is so much more. Soft-Tissue therapy, physiological therapeutics, exercise/rehabilitation, nutrition, reflex therapy/acupuncture, and advice/counseling are all treatment options under conservative care.
With so many options, how do you know what is the best option for you? This is a question I hear all the time and in short, there isn’t just one answer. Let’s take the example of an athlete that was injured on the field. Each athlete has different extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Some examples of extrinsic factors include: weather, clothing, shoes, protective equipment, etc. Intrinsic factors include: age, gender, previous injury, fitness/strength levels, posture, etc. Understanding all the factors that contributed to an injury is the best way to determine which conservative care options will be the most effective.
In summary, a focus on health, good background knowledge, a comprehensive examination, a diversified and inclusive approach to treatment and management, and a willingness to worth with the athlete/injured individual and his or her support group on performance, recovery, and function provides the basis for sound conservative care management of any injury.