Athletic therapists are highly skilled health care practitioners who help people prevent musculoskeletal injuries during strenuous activities; and should they occur, help them with immediate medical care and consequent recovery. Services offered by therapists range from orthopedic evaluation of injuries to selecting the proper equipment and exercise regime programs to maximize recovery.
Most athletic therapists are qualified to treat acute orthopedic injuries such as sprains, muscle strains, previous fractures, post surgery and concussions as well as chronic conditions such as tendinitis, lower back, shoulder and neck pain.
Athletic therapy is generally for, but not limited to, sports people. Anyone can see an athletic therapist for their injuries or chronic pain. These therapists specialize in helping people transition to an active lifestyle post injury with the help of appropriate assessment and treatment tools. They also employ scientifically researched and proven sports medicine models to rehabilitate people suffering from physical injuries incurred during sports, work or daily activities. Most athletic therapists work closely with other health care professionals to serve public and private sports clinics across the country.
Is Athletic Therapy different from Physiotherapy?
Athletic therapy and physiotherapy are mostly similar when it comes to diagnosing and immediate treatment of physical injuries. However, these two fields differ in the rehabilitation treatments and the scope of practice. While physiotherapy draws a lot of their physical training from athletic therapy, it may involve treatment of other physical injuries apart from orthopedics, such as strokes, congenital neurology or aging illnesses. Athletic therapy is very specifically involved in sports-related orthopedic injuries and conditions that affect the muscle bones and joints. Clients must check with their doctors and health care plans to see which would suit them better. Athletic therapy is also known for its aggressive treatment protocol in order to speed up the healing process, as opposed to physiotherapy which makes place for all other injuries and ailments.
How does Athletic Therapy help?
Athletic therapy is beneficial in three key areas of injury or recovery.
1. Injury Prevention
Therapists advise on injury prevention by evaluating postures during activities, helping you select the correct equipment for training, designing suitable warm-up and conditioning programs, suggesting supportive taping and facilitating adaptation to the activity environment and facilities.
2. Immediate Care
Most athletic therapists are first responders on emergency cases or recruited in on-site heath management teams. Immediate care of physical injuries involve assessing the injury, providing first aid and basic emergency life support, removing equipment, preparing the patient for appropriate advanced health care delivery, recognizing and managing acute trauma or neurological dysfunction and when appropriate, using techniques to facilitate a safe participation in activities.
Certified therapists assess the extent of injuries and accompanying conditions and suggest various nutritional support and progressive rehabilitative techniques. Contemporary techniques involve strengthening and conditioning programs, therapeutic modalities, soft tissue mobilization, physical reconditioning and supportive strapping procedures to help the individual heal optimally, adapt to their environment and safely reintegrate into a pre-injury lifestyle.