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.
OK, but I’m not sporty, can I still see a Sports Therapist?
Of course! The use of sport in the title refers to the foundations of sport and exercise that are used to guide our practice as well as to the improvement of sporting performance. So the way that I like to look at this is that everyone’s sport is different. For Harry Kane, it’s Premier League football, for my Dad it's running further and faster than I will at his age and for others it’s carrying the shopping back from the corner shop. And as all of those are human beings, the techniques and strategies required to return them to their sport, should they be injured, are the same or similar.
How do I choose who to see?
If you need help with an injury my advice is to select a (qualified and insured) therapist that you like and trust, and that puts your goals at the centre of their treatment. This may not necessarily be a Sports Therapist. If you are preparing for or recovering from an event, or have general aches and pains rather than a specific injury, a Sports Massage Therapist may be the most appropriate person for you, fortunately at LR Elite Sports Therapy we offer both sports therapy and sports massage! If you have recently experienced a serious medical event such as a stroke or heart attack or have an ongoing respiratory condition then you need to see a Physiotherapist. As, despite sharing many common skills and expertise and some people using the titles interchangeably, in these situations a Sports Therapist doesn’t have the right training to help you. Although later in your recovery a Sports Therapist may be appropriate.
So, who ya gonna call? If you are not sure if we can help you, then get in touch for a chat, we’d love to talk to you, and if we can’t help, we will point you in the direction of someone that can. See our website for contact and booking information.