What is Sports Therapy?
Sports Therapy is a corner of the Health Profession that is specifically focused on the rehabilitation of injuries and the prevention of damage to the muscles, joints and soft tissues. While, by its very definition, Sports Therapy is aimed at the treatment of people involved with sports and athletics, Sports Therapists are an excellent resource for any type of injury or condition that is musculoskeletal, and you don’t have to be a sportsman, or have injured yourself playing a sport, to take advantage of their services.
The primary technique used by Sports Therapists is massage. Massage has been used for centuries in the healing of injuries and is a vital component of many therapeutic treatments. More importantly, however, a practitioner of Sports Therapy will have a vast knowledge and understanding of the human body and be able to diagnose and treat a multitude of musculoskeletal complaints, whether they stem from injury or simple wear and tear.
What will a Sports Therapist do?
A Sports Therapist will be able to examine and assess any injury or complaint, treat any damage, alleviate pain and swelling, improve mobility to the joints and muscles, provide rehabilitation and long term treatment to problems that require future care and offer advice and support so as to prevent further injury, secondary complaints or complications. They are skilled in the recovery of neck, back, lumbar and shoulder pain, sciatica, whiplash, any type of weakness or numbness, and many other issues that arise from joint or muscle damage.
At the moment, referral to a Sports Therapist through the NHS is rare most people will seek this type of treatment privately, and a typical session should cost somewhere in the region of £25-£45.
As well as massage, Sports Therapy uses a number of techniques that all involve some sort of hands-on manipulation. Joint mobilisation, stretching and strengthening exercises and movements to improve range of motion will all be incorporated into a treatment programme, depending on the specifics of the condition or injury.
What can I expect when I visit my Sports Therapist?
On visiting your Sports Therapist initially, you will be given a physical examination, as well as asked about your medical history and details of your injury or condition. Treatment will begin in the first session, and a programme of future treatments may be agreed upon if required. Some of the benefits of Sports Therapy will be immediate, and you may feel largely better after just one session, although further appointments may be necessary if your problem is longer term.
Sports Therapists are currently unregulated in the UK and finding a genuine, qualified and insured practitioner is important. Statutory regulations are in the process of being developed, but any Sports Therapist, with a Diploma or Degree can join national organisations, such as The Society of Sports Therapists and The Sports Therapy Organisation. As members of these authorities, Sports Therapists are required to hold Public Liability Insurance and complete 10 hours of Continued Professional Development per year.
It is always recommended that you discuss any private treatment of this kind with your GP or Health Professional and also inform your Sports Therapist, or any other practitioner, about any underlying medical conditions.