Athletic therapy in itself today has become so vast that it encompasses various methods and dimensions with it. So much so that it has become a completely independent field of study. Many of the injured athletes these days are advised to try out athletic therapy before going for surgery. ‘Prevention is better than reaction’. This proverb is often touted by many practitioners, but the truth is that there are barely any complex medical procedures that help you ‘prevent’ an injury. That is where athletic therapy chimes in its usage again. It is used for the assessment of physical function, the treatment of dysfunction caused by pain and/or injury in order to develop, maintain and maximise independence and prevent dysfunction.
Along with injured athletes, the user group also extends, but is not limited to people with musculoskeletal injuries like active individuals, individuals with heavy work, motor vehicle accident injuries, recreational athletes, professional athletes and competitive amateur athletes.
It is also used for prolonged and chronic ailments like back pain, muscular spasms, knee pain and any other ailment that prevents you from continuing your on-going physical activity. Like a sprain in the ankle, twitching of the knee for an active runner, can all be controlled and cured by athletic therapy.
The media for delivering athletic therapy are vast and varied. From simple kneading and rough down massage that targets the sore spots and aching points to re-instigate the blood flow and to ease the tension around that area.
The following are a few techniques that athletic therapists generally use on the ailing patients:
1) Active Release techniques
What is it? It is a combination of massage and stretching. Therapists apply tension with their thumb to tight or bundled tissue while they move a joint to its full range of motion.
How does it work? When you move a muscle from a contracted position to full length, the detection of the dysfunctional part becomes very convenient and targeting it also becomes very easy. So this is the most wide spread method to cure joint aches, spasms and sprains. To learn these techniques for yourself, you can checkout the active release techniques guide
2) Graston Techniques
What is it? Therapists these days can make use of stainless steel tools to break down scar tissue and re-align muscle fibres
How does it work? The instruments allow a therapist to reach out to small and harder to detect adhesions as well as the large ones and put into effect deep efficient work. Now therapists can accomplish in 5-10 minutes what they could previously in 25-30 minutes. 95% of them now use it for their clients and runners. You can read the tutorial for Graston techniques to learn more about the tools and how to use it properly.
3) Rolfing Structural Integration
What is it? It is bodywork in which a therapist uses his hands and forearms to unbind and stretch your fascia, while asking you move another muscle to release tension. A Rolfer may apply pressure to your hip flexor with one hand and support your back with the other while you stretch your legs.
How does it work? Rolfing re- educates the mind and body to move with proper alignment. Rolfing allows your body to indulge in pain free movements. It can be confused with simple massages and stretching. To know the correct possible combination of proper alignment, check the Rolfing guide.
4) Trigger point therapy
What is it? A near cousin to sports massage, trigger point therapy relaxes tense, knotted fibres that radiate pain.
How does it work? Firm stable pressure dissolves the knots. Trigger points like knots are often a pre-cursor to strains and scar tissue. So it is in the best interest to deal with them before they cause some serious pain. It is a futile exercise if the correct trigger point isn’t discovered and pressed on. Go through the elaborate description of the trigger point therapybefore you get on with any experimenting.
An athletic therapist can be found touring with every major team in almost every major league. Universities and colleges, private health care clinics and national sport organisations, all house at least one athletic therapist or a panel of them.
Their impetus has grown into research groups as the demand for more and more proven medical techniques goes on increasing and the techniques that the therapists bring on the table are of much value.
So the next time you want to continue with your sports without much or any nagging injuries or pain, give athletic therapy a try for enhanced results.