- BLOG -
I get asked this all the time! And it stands to reason. Sports Therapy is still a relatively new and exciting developing industry in Australia behind the UK, US and Canada.
Sports Therapists are highly educated to deal with musculoskeletal disorders, treating pain and injury through hands-on treatment modalities, rehabilitation and patient education. Therapists focus on restoring, maintaining and maximising functional movement, that is, assessing how the body currently moves and retraining the client's body to move how it was designed to. In doing this, the client's pain can be relieved and their quality of life increased.
Sports Therapists are able to work in numerous settings including private practices, sporting clubs, both amateur and elite, gyms and fitness centres and even hospitals.
We aim to delve deeper through rigorous testing and screening to discover the source of the problem rather than just treating the symptoms. This can be a really eye opening process!
So what does that mean? Well;
How many times have you been to a therapist with a complaint of a sore neck? You have your neck, shoulders and maybe your back treated. You feel great walking out, but for how long until the pain returns? Is it really your neck that’s the problem?
Maybe you’ve been in a sling due to a collarbone injury. Suddenly once you’re out of the sling, your arm doesn’t want to go above your head anymore.
The point I’m trying to make is that its not your collarbone’s fault. It’s everything around it that’s stopping you from moving. It’s your shoulder blade, your shoulder joint, the muscles in your neck, torso and around your chest and ribs. Maybe you’ve actually been walking with your hip dropped to compensate for your shoulder being hiked up...the list goes on.
So as a Sports Therapist, we look at all of these factors, not just at your collarbone.
In terms of treatment, it’s a huge scale! Sports Therapists are qualified to practice a variety of manual ‘hands on’ techniques including deep tissue, soft tissue, Sport Massage, Solidified Connective Tissue release (SCT), Myofascial release, trigger point therapy, Muscle Energy Techniques, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching, cupping and joint mobilisations.
From a rehabilitation point of view, again there is a whole world of exercises and rehab paths that can be taken. The biggest focus is to re-establish balance between muscle groups, educate clients on postural alignment and how to achieve it, muscle activation and how to regain functional movement. This can either be gym based or take home exercises.
The unique thing about Sports Therapy is that it takes away a lot of the guessing game. We’re able to take clients through an intensive Functional Screening process that involves the client performing 7 basic exercises needed for all movement. Each exercise is scored based on quality of movement and the occurrence of pain.
From the results, we can see exactly where there are imbalances in the body and what needs attention.
From here, we can then break that movement down further to determine whether the issue is joint related, or soft tissue related. This takes all the guess work out of treatment.
If it's joint related, then we need to treat the joint specifically so that we increase its range of motion. If it’s soft tissue related, then we start some hands on treatment to loosen up the tight tissues.
Sports Therapy isn’t just about massage, reducing pain and doing exercises. It's all about going back to basics. It's literally learning to roll before you can sit, learning to sit before you kneel, learning to kneel before you crawl, learning to crawl before you walk, learning to walk before you run.
It’s a complete overhaul. It's retraining the brain to let your body move the way it should. Because when it does, pain is eliminated.
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