WHAT IS SPORTS THERAPY?
There is often confusion regarding the difference between Physiotherapy and Sports Therapy as they both deal with similar health concerns. While sports therapists do apply physiotherapy skills, sports therapy is specifically concerned with the prevention and treatment of sport-related injuries using a variety of modalities and techniques.
No matter what your occupation is (or your sporting ability), if your injury is sports/exercise related, a sports therapist will look to help you.
Utilising the principles of sport sciences, the therapy uses various techniques, such as sports massage and exercise prescription, to help fully rehabilitate those with injuries. As well as helping you to recover from injury, a sports therapist will also use their skills to optimise your performance and support you in your sporting/exercise endeavors.
A Sports Therapist is a healthcare professional who has the knowledge, skills and ability to do the following:-
- Utilise sports and exercise principles to optimise performance
- Provide immediate care of injuries
- Offer basic life support in a recreational, training and/or competitive environment
- Provide sport and remedial massage in a sport and exercise context
- Plan and implement appropriate rehabilitation programmes
MOST SUCCESSFUL CONDITIONS TREATED
Ankle sprains ♦ Back ache ♦ Headaches ♦ Neck pain and restricted movement ♦ Muscular pain ♦ Knee injuries ♦ Hip pain ♦ Achilles tendon strain ♦ Pulled calf (Gastroc strain) ♦ Stress/Tension ♦ Tennis/Golfers Elbow ♦ Plantar fasciitis ♦ Carpal tunnel ♦ Shoulder impingement.
Not only sports people benefit from sports massage, anyone can benefit from regular treatments. They help with the management of stress, pain and tension associated with occupation and lifestyle, as well as improving well-being, circulation and sleep patterns.
Sports/Deep Tissue Massage differs from the well known Aromatherapy massage by using deeper, more intense type of techniques but are based on elements of Swedish massage. They help to reduce muscle spasms and metabolic build-up that occur with work and exercise, these can lead to irritation and poor movement. Regular treatment helps by reducing pain and tension associated with fatigue and sensations of muscular tightness due to activity or occupation.
Sports people find treatments help to improve endurance, prevent injuries and enhance performance. Therapists work to increase range of movement and muscle flexibility which results in improving both power and endurance. If an injury were to occur therapists work with the body to enhance its own recovery process, optimising the environment by reducing swelling and promoting tissue repair, getting you back where you would like to be as soon as possible.
For active people, sports massage can be used to enhance performance as it increases the range of motion and muscle flexibility resulting in improved power and endurance. The techniques used also enhance the body’s own recovery process. Soft tissue techniques have been effective in managing minor, acute and chronic soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains and repetitive stress. Sports massage speeds up the recovery process of an injury and reduces spasm, swelling and discomfort, promoting the formation of soft tissue.
Kinesio tape or K-Tape as it is commonly known was invented by a Japanese Chiropractor, Kenzo Kase in the 1970’s, it has elastic properties allowing a microscopic lift which allows an increase in space between the soft tissues. It has been proven to promote recovery from sporting events, reduce swelling and inflammation post injury, increasing muscular endurance and can also be used as a proprioceptive tool helping to enhance movement patterns. It is water proof, therefore you can swim and shower whilst using it, therapists recommend keeping it on for between 5-8 days, but saying that, it can be used for a specific event and then removed immediately afterwards.
The origins of Dry Needling are drawn from Western Medicine principals and scientific, research-based conclusions. The technique of Dry Needling has no historical ties to Acupuncture, which is based in Eastern tradition. Dry Needling effectively treats musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction while acupuncture aims to influence “energy” and “meridians.” The only similarity between the two is that they share a common tool, a fine needle. Dry Needling has been widely used for the treatment of trigger points. More recent studies have found Dry Needling to be most effective when local twitch responses are elicited, probably because of rapid depolarisation of the involved muscle fibres. After the muscle has finished twitching, the spontaneous electrical activity subsides and the pain and dysfunction decreases dramatically. This process is usually very quick, easy, minimally invasive and only minimal with discomfort, most people do not feel anything but the relief of pain and tenderness around the treated area.
Cupping therapy is an ancient form alternative therapy which dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese and middle Eastern cultures. During Dry Cupping, the cups are placed over several areas to create a vacuum which lifts the soft tissue and creates an upward stretch within the muscle and associated fascia. This vacuum lift helps to increase in blood flow and induces a stretch effect, which results in a reduction in muscle tension and associated pain. During Dry Cupping therapy, cups can either be left in a static position or moved to provide a deep tissue massage effect.
Both the static movement applications of cupping therapy complement other therapy techniques such as Sports and Deep Tissue Massage and Dry Needling. Dry cupping works well in conjunction with traditional sports and deep tissue massage, as the lifting effect provided from the cups works synergistically with the downward pressure application of manual massage.
The application of cups can be used to treat a variety of conditions such as:-
Muscle pain and tension ♦ Reduced joint movement ♦ Headaches ♦ Back pain and sciatica ♦ stress and anxiety
Therapeutic Ultrasound machines produce mechanical vibrations via sound waves, exciting cells within protein rich structures such as tendons (holds muscle to bone) and ligaments (holds bone to bone). By exciting these cells, the healing process is quickened and it is thought that the structure is also stronger as a result. Ultrasound is used for a short time within a treatment, using other techniques such as massage, mobilisations, stretches and often taping. There have been positive results when working with plantar fasciitis, MCL sprain and ankle sprains. Gel is used as a conductor for the sounds waves as they do not travel through the air particles very well, however the sound waves also conduct through water as the particles are closer together so therapists can use a bowl of water to reach small places otherwise difficult such as fingers and toes.