Compartment syndrome is a condition that affects active people and professional athletes. It is the result of wear and tear in the leg muscles due to intense effort. This condition is painful and will prevent you from walking properly. Thus, training and competing are also out of the question. In this article, we will tell you what you need to know about this condition and how a chiropractor can help you recover from compartment syndrome.
What Exactly Is Compartment Syndrome?
Your legs are a powerhouse. They have strong bones and joints, muscles, tendons and blood vessels, all working together to help you walk, jump, run and dance. For people who train frequently or for professional athletes, the legs reach an exceptional level of strength and performance, allowing us to wonder at world records in sprint or endurance races.
But this hard work for training your legs can also cause damage to various parts of if due to overuse. The compartment is a portion of the lower leg, consisting of a group of muscles, nerves and blood vessels. It is the muscular part of your calf and this is exactly where you sometimes experience sharp or tension pains. In some cases, these types of pains are symptoms of compartment syndrome.
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The Two Types of Compartment Syndromes Explained
Now, so far we described one type of compartment syndrome, but there are actually two different causes that lead to this condition:
1. Acute Compartment Syndrome Is Caused by Trauma
An injury, including a bone fracture, can cause acute compartment syndrome (ACS). It is triggered by internal bleeding inside the leg from the injury, causing pressure to increase in the area. It can also be caused by getting your leg crushed under a heavy object, or during a tackling in contact sports.
ACS should be treated as a medical emergency. If you ignore it, ACS can lead to permanent muscle damage, paralysis, or even death if a blood clot is becomes mobile in the bloodstream.
2. Chronic Compartment Syndrome Is Caused by Overuse
You already know the causes of chronic compartment syndrome (CCS), as we explained it above. This specific condition can be overlooked, because its symptoms are associated with the strain you feel after intensive training:
• Muscle pain
• Pain during stretching
• The muscles in the calf are rock hard
• You have a tendency to roll your feet inwards when walking.
The diagnosis is usually performed by performing a neurological scan, which will indicate weakness and numbness in the compartment. Other methods involve MRI or using a laser Doppler ultrasound.
Can Chiropractic Help with Acute and Chronic Compartment Syndrome?
Chiropractors are specialists in the nervous system and musculoskeletal system of the human body. Their approach is non-invasive and aims to cure the underlying cause, not just the pain or other symptoms.
Compartment syndrome is a perturbed state of the nervous and muscular system. It involves restricted blood flow and inflammation of the muscles. A chiropractor knows how to offer relief from tension and pain, using various massage and manipulation techniques.
Moreover, chiropractors can identify the first signs of an imminent episode of compartment syndrome. Thus, for professional athletes and active, persons, chiropractic is an excellent choice of preventive healthcare. Regular appointments for check-ups can release the pressure and tension in your leg muscles and prevent the occurrence of chronic compartment syndrome.
As for acute compartment syndrome, you can go to a chiropractor in parallel with following your doctor’s treatment plan, in order to find relief from pain without taking over the counter or prescription pain medication.
Compartment syndrome is more than just a nagging pain in your leg. It may put your life at risk if you leave it untreated. Thus, we encourage you to find a chiropractor near you in our online directory and make your first evaluation appointment!