As with any physical activity, there is a risk of injury involved. In fact, even something as simple as twisting your ankle while on a jog, can do a fair amount of damage which may worsen if not treated appropriately.
Whether an injury is creating difficulty for day-to-day activities, or it is setting you back on your training program, seeing a physiotherapist is highly recommended for more reasons than one. Many individuals tend to assume that physiotherapy is for treating serious injuries or recovering from major surgery; while it is absolutely essential for those purposes, it is equally important for athletes as well. Sports chiropractic and rehabilitation programs go a long way in the careers of athletes, providing dedicated stretches and exercises to help them recover faster from injury, as well as improve their overall physical performance.
With that said, let’s look into a few things that physiotherapy can actually help with when you have an existing injury.
The first and most obvious benefit to physiotherapy is the recovery time. An injury that’s not appropriately tended to could take a very long time to heal, or worse, heal badly if the injury is severe enough. Physiotherapists are trained to assist with the healing of physical injuries by creating a dedicated program for the patient to follow. With consistency and time, regular physio will help relieve pain and accelerate the healing process.
A good physiotherapist can do more than just give you a few exercises to practice. With their expertise, finding the source of the problem and addressing it in time is more easily achieved. By targeting weaknesses and strengthening them, healing from injuries becomes easier and faster as well.
Pain caused by injuries can be alleviated through customised therapy. By relieving the pain and stress with physical activity as opposed to prescription drugs or invasive treatments such as injections and the likes, the recovery process itself offers long term results and benefits.
Stretches Muscles and Joints
As injuries in tissue heal, they can cause scarring. This scarring tends to cause restrictions in mobility which, in turn, can lead to further chronic injury. Physiotherapy will aim to slowly, but effectively, increase flexibility with light stretching, thereby providing you with the opportunity to build strength without any hindrances. There are several other benefits of stretching including improvements to one’s performance when training, and preventing future injuries.
Strength-building after an injury is vital. Because rest is key to healing, muscles can atrophy or lose their toning in the process. Regaining that lost strength, and then some, is something a good physiotherapist can help with. Moreover, one must understand the risks involved in jumping back into a strengthening exercise program when recovering from an injury. Experienced physical therapists ensure that the process is made gradual and tailored along the way, depending on the individual’s progress.
Being a vital aspect for physical therapy in general, core strengthening focuses on the muscles in your pelvis or back. Building strength in these muscles increases physical stability and overall fitness. A strong core allows oneself to resist injury as well as improve physical performance on a larger scale. Athletes require a strong core to excel at any training program or sport, therefore, the benefits are immeasurable.
Depending on the injury and its severity, dedicated and specialised treatments are used to help with recovery. For example, some treatments require the use of ultrasound to stimulate muscle tissue for better blood-flow. This helps accelerate healing and ensures quicker recovery. In addition to their specialised therapies, a physiotherapist will advise you on the best treatment outside of physical activity, all of which comes together to aid in recovery.
If you require surgery for a particular treatment, physiotherapy is often recommended as it can prepare your body for the procedure, as well as help you heal better after. A good example of this is stretching exercises to prevent scar tissue from impeding movement.
Improves Balance & Technique
Physiotherapy programs can be developed to challenge athletes’ balance and technique, thereby improving both. Designed to create real-world scenarios, it helps you gain a better perspective on your abilities when injured, and how to improve them.
Return to Training Safely
Part of the goal as a sports therapist is to ensure the athlete returns to their sport healthy and able to train hard again. Keep in mind that suddenly going from recovery exercises to intensive training may actually cause reinjury, or worse, a new injury altogether. This is why it is important to have the guidance of a trained professional when you are training with an injury.
What is Required of You
If the therapy is done right, an athlete is introduced to their sport again gradually. The rate at which this occurs depends on how quickly the patient recovers; the faster the recovery, the faster one can get back to training. That said, building up at a pace that’s not causing stress, but makes consistent progress, is optimum. This way, the body is being well prepared for its eventual return to intense training, without the risk of injury.
With all of this in mind, you can be assured that good physiotherapy is invaluable. That said however, there are a few things that you, as a patient, can do to help:
- A good patient should be patient. Healing takes time, and while nobody likes sitting and waiting, it’s worth taking the time to follow the process advised by your therapist. Attempting to speed up your recovery using unconventional methods may prove detrimental to your recovery altogether.
- Based on the injury, consuming supplements that will aid in the healing is typically advised by the therapist. If you are dealing with muscle injury, for example, eating more protein would definitely help speed things along.
- Getting adequate rest cannot be stated enough here. Professional athletes tend to be quite active and brimming with energy, however, while a good break can do wonders for general recovery from training, getting some solid rest after an injury will do just as much good, if not more.
With the right guidance, a customised program, and dedication and discipline on your part, rehabilitation with a physiotherapist when training with an injury will prove extremely beneficial to your recovery, performance, and long term physical health. For all this and more, schedule an appointment with one of our trained and experienced physiotherapists at MSK Therapy.