Let’s assume since you are reading this that you are an athlete. Great, welcome!
But, if I am going to make assumptions, if you are reading this then you are also in the market for a Physical Therapist.
Although more people are using Physical Therapists for proactive measures, I am going to continue to assume this is more of a reactive measure. You likely injured yourself and are now looking for a Physical Therapist to help you get back to your sport or activity.
We got you!
That would be too easy. Nobody reads the first few lines and decides “Yep! These are the guys I am going to work with” …if only though…
There are many different options out there for your recovery. This makes the decision on where to go difficult. As an athlete, you already know you are different than the general public in many ways.
Let’s take a second to examine why you should seek out a Sports Physical Therapist instead of a generalist, or one that just has Sports Physical Therapist listed on their website.
If this is your first time as an injured athlete, have no fear. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Athletes get injured. It is part of playing a sport. Nothing new to see there. But what makes an injury frustrating is when it stops you from doing the sport you love.
Let’s face it, the age-old ways of resting the injury in the hopes that it will get better are long gone. That myth disappeared years ago. We still have a few dinosaurs preaching and holding onto that saying, but not the healthcare professionals.
We understand laying down and just waiting for your injuries to go away so you can get back to your sport is flawed. Just think about it, what in life just gets better by resting it? And, what happens if that pain does not go away?
We hear that from so many patients who call in for the first time. We ask about what methods they have explored for recovery on their own before seeking out our help and the most common answer of them all is “well, I tried resting and not participating in my sport but its been (insert way too long amount of time here) and it still isn’t better.” Meanwhile, they have become deconditioned and are possibly at a higher risk of injury now because of the self-prescribed inactivity.
Since we have already decided rest is not the best option, or you have tried it and it didn’t work, it is now time to try some physical therapy.
But which kind of physical therapy should you seek out? Where does your search begin?
If you are an athlete who has never tried physical therapy before, let me save you the waste of time and money with a Physical Therapist who is a generalist.
Here is the image: You come into your appointment for a shoulder injury and they put you on some heat for 10 minutes. Sure, that feels good. Then, it is time to ‘warm-up’ your shoulder on the arm bike. There goes another 10 minutes. After the timer on your arm bike has been going off for 5 minutes, someone finally lets you know you can go over to the wall and start pulling on a stretchy band for some exercises. The only thing is, that band was good for you if you were in 5th grade. You spend 15-20 minutes over there wandering aimlessly as you continue to wait for your next exercise to be given to you by some high school student who doesn’t know the humerus from the femur. All while being surrounded by Betty and Ethel over by the wall doing the same exercise as you with the exact same weight. Then, finally, your time with the Physical Therapist has come! They get you to lay down on the table where all they do is tickle the shoulder.
What is wrong with this picture?
So many things, but let’s point out some of the major ones…
First, why waste 20’ of your 60’ session on heat and using an arm bike for a warm-up? What is good for a warm-up? Doing movements your sport demands of you either broken down or in a slower manner. Not using an arm bike (unless of course you are training for a marathon using an arm bike – in which case, wow hats off to you! That’s impressive).
Next, you surely know the difference between a humerus and femur. Shouldn’t the person who is telling you HOW to exercise also know the difference?!
Third, why are you, an athlete competing in a sport that demands a lot out of your body, doing the same exercises as the 80 year-old patients, along with the same color resistance bands?!
Last, nothing gets better by just tickling it. Why isn’t more emphasis spent on doing the exercises your body will respond to and get you back on the court, field, etc quicker? I don’t recall you competing in your sport and having someone rub against your shoulder the whole time.
You see, that is the setting of a generalist physical therapy clinic and that is more than likely what you will be doing in that setting. A one size fits all, mass production type of approach.
One size does NOT fit all!
We have already established that as an athlete, you are different. Your body has a lot greater demands than the rest of the general population. Which is why you need a different approach than the general population.
A Sports Physical Therapist is experienced in treating sport specific injuries and developing sport specific plans of care for athletes. Athletes require a lot more attention to details to get them ready for their return to sport than the average person. Which is why you need someone who deals with athletes day in and day out with high levels of understanding of what it will take to get you back in action.
Physical Therapy for athletes is different because athletes are different.
It would be in your best interest, as an athlete, to make sure you are not wasting your time or money while prolonging your recovery. Having a Sports Physical Therapist on your side will help you recover quicker. Meaning, you get to get back to playing your sport faster and with more confidence because you know the treatment you received is from a highly qualified specialist.
Are you an athlete wanting to experience the difference? Fill out this form and request a free discovery visit to have all your questions answered regarding a Sports Physical Therapist, why you want one and NEED one.