When most people think of sports injuries, they think of the various miraculous surgeries available to repair torn ligaments, replace joints, or heal spinal disks. In fact, most sports injuries are chronic injuries caused by a combination of repeated stress on the body and a failure to rest and fully heal. Chronic injuries can lead to debilitating pain and can force an athlete to stop competing and seek methods of mitigating their pain, even going as far as having surgery.
A closer look at surgery as an option for healing a chronic, or even acute, injury should make you pause to consider your options. The success rate for surgery to relieve chronic sports injury is only about 50%, and long term success is rarer still. In fact, you can become trapped in a cycle of surgeries to relieve your pain, experiencing decreased relief with each subsequent operation.
CHRONIC SPORTS INJURIES AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Unfortunately, conventionally trained doctors are too quick to recommend surgery as an option for treating sports injuries. Surgery should be treated as last resort for chronic injury pain, only to be used after all other options have been exhausted.
Fortunately, alternative and traditional medical disciplines offer a variety of options to conventional surgery. Many modalities exist for treating long term pain without the need for surgery or pain killers. Acupuncture, chiropractic, structural integration, Feldenkrais, and massage therapy all offer effective alternative treatments for chronic pain, and offer better odds for long term relief than surgery does.
ACUTE SPORTS INJURIES
But what about the athlete who suffers an acute injury, such as a torn ligament? When faced with a catastrophic injury, many athletes go straight to the hospital, schedule their surgery, fill out their prescription for pain killers, and spend the rest of their lives dealing with the after effects of surgery - which too often include reduced mobility and chronic pain that leads to further surgery later on.
Anyone who has suffered a sports injury should consult a doctor as soon as possible. However, once the injury is stabilized, you should take the time to consult an expert in alternative treatments for sports injuries. Such experts can advise you in the many alternatives available to you for treating your injury and guiding your recovery.
Think of it as due diligence. Odds are you will have to live with the effects of an operation for decades. Explore all of your options before you schedule your surgery. Of course, the goal is to avoid surgery. But when an operation is warranted an expert in alternative treatments can help guide you in the process of recovery and help avoid a needless cycle of repeated surgeries to manage your pain.