Many of us associate visiting any type of doctor or practitioner with illness, injury, or having something feel “off.” As athletes, these things are not uncommon. Whether you’re feeling under the weather after a hard training session or perhaps an irritation has returned in a joint or muscle, visiting a trusted medical doctor, chiropractor, or physical therapist is usually the right move.
It’s important to remember, though, that you don’t have to wait to be injured or unwell to see a chiropractor and/or physical therapist. In fact, DC (doctors of chiropractic) and DPT’s (doctors of physical therapy) can often help you the most when you visit them on a regular schedule.
Why Should I See my DC or DPT Regularly?
Endurance athletes are constantly pushing the limits of what the human body can do. Whether you’re trail running, kayaking, or mountain biking, it’s pretty hard to escape your activity without a few aches and pains.
While every ache and pain may not be an injury, it is a sign you’ve worked your body hard, and now your joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles are letting you know. Bodily inflammation, soft tissue soreness, and stiffness in the joints are all signs that you are getting in some tough training.
Seeing a DC or DPT regularly can help prevent these daily episodes of soreness from turning into something more serious, like an injury or dysfunction. Even if you are incredibly fit, the body can easily slip into bad habits, like the inactivation of certain muscles or weakening of others. Visiting your provider on a consistent basis will keep these things in check, meaning you can trainer harder, for longer!
What does “Regularly” Mean?
The frequency at which you should visit your DC or DPT will depend on your personal needs. This is a great chance to chat with your DC and DPT about a long term care and action plan.
When a DC and DPT first meet a patient, they are likely already thinking about a long-term plan of action for the client. Very few issues are resolved in just one or two visits to your chiropractor or physical therapist.
Here are some points to discuss with your provider regarding a wellness plan:
- What is their assessment of the seriousness of any aches, pains, or dysfunctions you are experiencing?
- What kind of at-home care can you do on your own, like exercises, functional movements, and foam rolling? How often can/should you do these things?
- What are the benefits and drawbacks of a regular visitation schedule (keeping a muscle loose vs. irritating a problem)?
- What does your training and racing load currently look like, and how much is that stressing your body?
After chatting about these questions, your provider will be able to work with you to craft a visitation plan that suits your physical and mental needs.
How to Tell if a Provider is In-Network
Visiting a DC or DPT regularly does require a patient to think through their time and financial obligations.
At GritLink, we want to demystify the insurance process, which is why we’ve created a “search by insurance” option when looking up providers. When a provider is “in-network,” it may mean that it is more cost effective to visit this provider. Curious to know more about in- vs. out of- network providers? Check out our blog about how this process works.
Remember that all insurances have different operating procedures when covering chiropractic and physical therapy treatments, so it’s best to double check directly with your insurance about this before heading into an appointment.
By Kristin Goett. Kristin is a social media marketing and public relations professional who currently resides in the Denver area. A triathlete herself, Kristin knows firsthand how important it is to have access to great providers. When she isn’t checking Instagram or posting to Facebook, Kristin is spending her days in the Colorado mountains and training for her next Ironman.
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