What is Sports Therapy?
So, what is Sports Therapy? Is it only for professional athletes or super sporty types that spend their weekends running marathons? Or is it for you if you do little or no exercise? Well this blog will explain it all nice and simply (hopefully).
Let’s start with - what is sports therapy?
The Society of Sports Therapists’ (SST) say sports therapy is:
‘an aspect of healthcare that is specifically concerned with the prevention of injury and the rehabilitation of the patient back to optimum levels of functional, occupational and sports specific fitness, regardless of age and ability.’
And while we’re here - who are the SST? The Society of Sports Therapists is a membership organisation that aims to standardise and monitor the provision of care by Sports Therapists. In order to join the SST members must have completed a degree level qualification from a selection of accredited Universities and are therefore highly specialised in the assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries. This is why members are often referred to as Graduate Sports Therapists. This is particularly important as Sports Therapist is not yet a protected title, meaning anyone can claim to be one. Therefore checking whether your Sports Therapist is a member of the SST is a great way to be confident that they are both qualified and insured.
What does a Sports Therapist do?
So, what does this actually mean? Basically if you injure yourself (pull a muscle, twist an ankle or more chronic things like a grumbly tendon or an achy back) a Sports Therapist will carry out an assessment to help figure out your problem and give you some treatment and rehabilitation designed to enable you to return to your pre-injury level of activity - whatever that may be. You will then be given some tools to help prevent you getting injured again and keep you doing what you love.
A typical appointment will start with a chat about why you’ve come in and the issues you’ve been having, and a bit about your medical history to eliminate more serious medical events. Then there will then be a physical assessment, where your therapist tests your muscles and joints. All the information we collect is then used to figure out the cause of the problem and develop a treatment plan with you. This may include (but is not limited to) massage, joint mobilisations and electrotherapy before providing you with a rehabilitation programme. Rehabilitation will include a selection of exercises targeted to the movements, muscles and joints affected by your injury. These exercises are designed to improve range of motion and strength as well as decreasing pain and other symptoms to improve your function and well being. A Sports Therapist will also help you to return to your pre-injury activity level - maybe even beyond and help you to find a way to continue exercising while injured, if that’s what you want.