Sports being extremely popular worldwide has not only made the “sports industry” financially lucrative but has also made it significantly competitive for athletes. Sportspeople are forced to go above and beyond their limits in order to achieve recognition, fame, and elite professionalism. This has consequently enhanced the physical burden of excelling in sports, tremendously increased the training and workout regimens, and exposed athletes to a higher risk of injury.
Injured athletes are expected to make a full recovery in order to be part of the next game or else they can be under threat of being laid off for seasons, games, and even worse, careers. This intense pressure has shown a spotlight on sports injury rehabilitation, sports medicine, and sports physiotherapy in Richmond Hill.
The Need for Sports Physiotherapy
Physical therapy or physiotherapy is the most noted treatment method for sports-related injuries as it has significantly helped several athletes regain strength and movement in parts of their body after an injury. Physical therapy has also played a pivotal role in managing pain and preventing further damage that could permanently affect the athlete’s health and could cause recurring health issues. In some serious cases, the athletes will be instructed by a physical therapy specialist to make lifestyle modifications and include physiotherapy as a regular part of everyday tasks in order to keep the body healthy and to prevent the injury from worsening.
Physical therapy is often recommended by primary care doctors after the initial checkup and is also considered an integral part of the sports medicine team. Even in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, physiotherapists have played a key role and formed the largest single group of healthcare professionals at the Olympics Games, reflecting athletes’ reliance on physiotherapy.
The Olympic physical therapy team comprised 800 physiotherapists, and the team has constantly monitored and reviewed clinical practices to ensure the safety of the athletes, and implemented measures to protect athletes and staff. Therefore, there is no doubt that even leading international sporting events such as the Olympics, have realized the true potential of physical therapists and physiotherapy.
5 Reasons Why Physical Therapy Is Considered Essential For Sports-related Injuries
Several athletes have leveraged physical therapy not just to recover from injuries but have included physiotherapy as part of their active lifestyle to improve performance. Physical therapy routines and exercises are capable of improving mobility and flexibility by relieving muscle stress, joint stiffness, etc.
Below are some of the benefits of considering physical therapy for sports-related injuries.
1. Eliminates Recurring Pain
The goal of physiotherapy is not just to help an athlete get back to sports quickly after an injury but it is also about ensuring that the pain does not re-occur in the future. Physiotherapists limit the extent of the injury by reducing or reversing the impairment and functional loss and preventing, correcting, or eliminating the disability caused by the injury.
Physiotherapists will create a treatment plan based on the sports that the athlete is part of, because its impact on the affected body part should be considered to avoid recurring pain. This will help in strengthening the body part or joint such that it functions properly in the future and does not cause any restrictions for the athlete.
2. Reduces Instant Pain
In case of a sports injury, if the pain isn’t managed instantly, it can lead to chronic pain as the brain becomes conditioned to over-respond. Oftentimes, intense pain is a result of an athletic injury that includes muscle damage, therefore, to avoid these muscle fibers from becoming jumbled and hardened, physiotherapists will perform on-the-spot stretching and range of motion exercises. This will prevent muscle damage from worsening and reduce the pain in athletes.
Also, later on, to relieve this kind of soft tissue pain, physiotherapists may utilize astym treatment. This physical therapy treatment engages the body’s regenerative mechanisms intending to repair damaged tissue and resorbing scar tissue. It also improves the athletes’ flexibility and range of motion.
Physiotherapy exercises will also help athletes in the following.
- Reducing pain and swelling
- Restoring joint mobility and range of motion
- Restoring muscle strength and endurance
- Recovering coordination
- Recovering movements specific to their sport
- Returning to sport
3. An Alternative to Invasive Surgery
Physiotherapy is considered an effective alternative to surgery for several sports-related injuries, such as rotator cuff tears and meniscus tears. Also, when compared to invasive surgeries, physiotherapy treatments have very little risk of athletes experiencing adverse outcomes. When physiotherapy is leveraged as an alternative to surgery, the physical therapy exercises also will be more specific and will include multiple treatment procedures. Initially, a physiotherapy specialist will assess your function in mobility, strength, and neuromotor control to determine the impact of the injury on your health. Then, they will create a plan, based on the injury and the type of sports you participate in. Ultimately the physiotherapy sessions will begin addressing your specific needs with manual treatments and corrective exercises. Moreover, there will be other activities included which will promote healing and improve your body’s ability to move better and feel better.
4. Improves Balance
Injuries to the head, ear, or neck caused during sports can often result in vertigo. This can lead to dizziness, balance problems, and lightheadedness. If not properly treated, it may arise again especially among athletes because of the fast movements or sudden head motions required while playing sports. Physiotherapists will guide such athletes through activities that safely stress their balance. These activities can improve stability and coordination, which are imperative in sports. Also, vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) will be introduced in some cases to promote vestibular adaptation and substitution. With the help of VRT, physiotherapists will be able to improve the athletes’ gaze stability and postural stability.
5. Encourage Cardiovascular Fitness
The lack of cardiovascular fitness will not only increase the risk of accidents while playing highly competitive sports but will also delay recovery because the body will not properly utilize oxygen. An athlete’s level of cardiorespiratory endurance can directly affect their performance in sports because when the person gets tired their movement is no longer fluid and efficient. Hence, they are more likely to make mistakes and get injured or even pass out during the game. Sports physical therapy programs not only help in stimulating an increase in blood flow to the injured area but also helps in improving cardiovascular fitness. Physiotherapy exercises that include both aerobic and manual techniques can play a pivotal role in increasing bone density, lung capacity, cardiac muscle strength, and much more.
When it comes to sports physiotherapy, the treatment modalities, exercises, and other activities are quite different from normal physiotherapy. The treatment plan created by the physiotherapist will take into consideration the injuries and how these injuries will affect the athlete in the future. Physiotherapy exercises will include gentle tissue and muscle stimulation to stretching and strengthening exercises, which can play an important role in restoring complete physical movements.
If you are an athlete facing any type of sports injury or if you would like to improve cardio and muscle strength to reduce injury then sports physiotherapy is the right choice for you. You do not have to sustain injuries in order to leverage the multiple benefits of physiotherapy but can opt for customized programs to overall improve your health and well-being.
Cindy Williams is a blogger in Canada. She graduated with honors from the University of British Columbia with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.