Family and Sport Chiropractic: 4 Differences You Should Know About

Learn how to choose between family chiropractic vs sport chiropractic care and the most important questions you should ask your doctor before your first visit.

Family and sport chiropractor in Smithtown performing a spinal adjustment

If you are considering a visit to a Chiropractor you should understand the different types available and make your choice accordingly.  The choices are certainly overwhelming with a doc on every corner being pretty typical for Long Island and many other areas in the US. You’re starting to see “chain” Chiropractic offices, Family Chiropractic, and Sports Chiropractic.  You may be wondering which may be right for your needs. In this article, I’ll break down the differences between each and help you make an educated decision.

A little backstory…

I decided in 5th grade that I was going to be a Chiropractor.  My mother was involved in a motor vehicle accident and was regularly visiting with a Chiropractor in Hauppauge.  I would tag along and observe that he looked healthy, was able to provide well for his family, and as I sat in the waiting room each patient left with a smile on their face and reported feeling great.  

Marc Taczanowski and Hope Miller, owners of True Sport Care Chiropractic and Physical Therapy  in Nesconset

My course was set. 

Fast forward to my graduation in 1996.

I practiced in a No-Fault office for 6 months before I realized this was not how I wanted to practice.  I then performed ancillary testing (EMG/NCV) for these types of facilities which was more lucrative but provided ZERO gratification.  After several years I met my future wife Hope who also happened to be a Chiropractor in St.James.  

We agreed that practicing was the direction we desired so we began to look for a home base.  We lived in Valley Stream at the time but wanted to land close to where we grew up.  Commack for me and Kings Park/Smithtown for her.  We found a small space at the northern tip of Lake Avenue and pulled the trigger.  Prior to officially opening the doors we would walk around the town and introduce ourselves and our business to other businesses.  We would ask advice from the people we met about what it takes to be successful in this area.  One man asked, “Why should I come to you?  What makes you different?”  Hope and I looked at each other and didn’t have a great answer.

With that knowledge, we decided to follow a sports tract and we subsequently signed on for our first post-doctorate course in Sports Medicine, the CCSP.  In this class, our instructor was introducing himself and revealed that he was the first official Chiropractor to be selected to travel with the Olympic team to Barcelona, Spain in 1992.  I’ve always been an Olympics fan and immediately turned to Hope to say, “I want to do that!”

One class led to another and another.  

One certification led to another and another and you get the point.  She and I hold the highest level of certification for post-graduate work in Sports Medicine.  In our profession it is called a Diplomate in Sports Medicine.  In fact, we are the only 2 Sports Diplomates of Chiropractic on Long Island and I’m fortunate enough to say that in 2014 I was selected to the medical staff for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

What is considered “Family” or “Traditional” Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractor performing an adjustment on a female patient in a clean office in Smithtown NY

You may have heard or even experienced firsthand what traditional chiropractic care is like. These Chiropractors treat the spine and try to correct small misalignments called “Subluxations.”  When properly aligned the body functions well.

You’ll probably receive some heat, some electrical stimulation, and then get your Chiropractic adjustment.  

It is typical that you may only have about 3-5 minutes of “Doctor” time even though you’ll spend 30+ minutes with all the “fluff.”  I apologize to my brethren about that term but in all honesty, that’s all it is.  It allows for the doc to float room to room and treat more patients per hour.  

You can purchase similar e-stim units at Walmart and you can also get hot packs anywhere. To me, this is oversold and underwhelming.

What Does a Sports Chiropractor Do?

Sports chiropractor in Smithtown performing an adjustment and joint manipulation on an athlete

A GOOD sports Chiropractor should do more. I say it like this because we know they know more. 

  • We know they know that bones cannot move without muscles being affected.  
  • We know they know that exercises should always be prescribed to support the in-office sessions.  
  • We know they know that your measure of success is not how good you feel when you leave the office, but how long you can feel good without having to come back.  

Although these are our sentiments at True Sport Care Chiropractic, many Sports Chiropractor colleagues do not share these principles.  They fall into the same old “volume and profits first” trap.  Even though we’ve been in business for 18 years, I’m proud to say that we haven’t deviated from our “style” of practice.  Quality patient care first.

4 Main Differences Between Family and Sports Chiropractic

  • You’ll have more one-on-one, hands-on, Doctor-to-patient time with a Sports Chiropractor.
  • Sports Chiropractors will hold additional certifications and have received many additional hours of postdoctoral training in the field of Sports Medicine
  • Sports Chiropractors are well versed in treating all areas (including extremities) of the body and not simply the spine.
  • Sports Chiropractors want to not only help fix your issue but teach you what to do to prevent it from coming back.  

Can Non-Athletes Benefit from Seeing a Sports Chiropractor?

A multi-generational healthy family watching a sunset together

Yes, of course!  Not only can a Sports Chiropractor do all of the traditional treatments, but they also have additional tools and knowledge to make the treatments more efficient and ultimately successful. 

Even if you don’t consider yourself an “Athlete,” you can benefit from the care of a Sports Chiropractor. We have every kind of patient.  From Pro-Athletes who are interested in performance to the grandma who has a wrist complaint from crocheting. If there are muscles, ligaments, and bones in the area of your complaint, we’ve got you covered. 

My personal opinion about the majority of complaints is that we should be the first choice for a visit. We’ve had many occurrences where we knew it was something we shouldn’t be handling so we referred out. Other times we’ve been able to troubleshoot a case with great success even though it seemed like it was out of our wheelhouse.  The beauty of our office is we have our 3 visit rule.  If we haven’t had a major change in the first 3 visits, we are referring you to another specialist.

How to Choose the Best Chiropractor Near You  

By now we’ve discussed many differences as well as a few similarities between the sports and family chiropractic worlds.  The most important questions that you still have are “How do I choose the best chiropractor near me?  What should I look for?”  We will cover this info in more detail in our upcoming article.  (Make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter to be notified when we publish this valuable info). For now, here are 3 simple rules to follow when choosing the best doc for you.  This will likely get me in trouble but if you ask these questions you’ll reveal some important info about the facility.  

  • Does the Doctor have any advanced certifications?  If so, in what specialty?
  • How many patients can be scheduled per hour?  (EX. We can schedule a max of 2/hour which means you get a full 30 minutes of face-to-face with the doc.)
  • ***This is a DOOZIE***. At what point will the doctor consider his/her treatments to be UNSUCCESSFUL?  No one has a 100% success rate so I’d like to know how long I should wait before I need to move on and search for something more successful.  Sounds painful to say this but it’s real life.  I call it a breakpoint.  Ours is 3 visits.

If you are local to Long Island then we would love to see you at True Sport Care in Nesconset.  Our office is located close to Smithtown, St. James, and Lake Grove. I can proudly claim that we have patients that travel great distances to receive our services.  I’ve also been requested to travel to other parts of the country to provide services to individuals which makes me think we’re doing something right.  We’ve been committed to strengthening and protecting all types of athletes (and non-athletes) season after season for 18 years and counting.  Make an in-office or virtual appointment with one of our docs today so we can help you fix your body fast and get back in the game!

True sport care office in Nesconset offering Physical therapy, sport medicine and  chiropractic adjustments

Dr Marc Taczanowski


Dr. Marc Taczanowski specializes in Sports Medicine, chiropractic care, injury prevention and management. He has published many articles on these topics and lectures to local running groups, and athletic organizations in an effort to educate the sports community.