Sports Therapy VS Physiotherapy
We often have clients enquiring about the difference between Physiotherapy and Sports Therapy, and which practitioner can offer the most appropriate treatment for their injury. The short answer is that both professions are trained and insured to treat musculoskeletal disorders back but there are some key differences in their training and approach. In this article, Sports Therapist, Olivia gives an overview of the two professions, outlining their similarities and differences to help you identify the most appropriate practitioner to aid you back to optimal fitness.
BothPhysiotherapists and Sports Therapists are highly educated in dealing with musculoskeletal disorders, treating pain and injury through hands on treatment modalities, rehabilitation and patient education. Both focus on restoring, maintaining and maximising movement, relieving pain and increasing quality of life.
Physiotherapy is a healthcare profession regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). In order to use the title Physiotherapist or Physical Therapist, practitioners must graduate from an approved course of study, typically a three year degree program, and meet a strict set of criteria set out by the HCPC. For a Physiotherapist to be classified as a Chartered Physiotherapist they must also be a full member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).
The role of the Physiotherapists is to help people affected by injury, illness or disability through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice. They maintain health for people of all ages, helping patients to manage pain and prevent disease.
At undergraduate level, Physiotherapists gain the knowledge and skills to improve a range of conditions associated with different systems of the body, such as:
After graduation, Physiotherapists continue their professional development and work in a variety of specialisms in health and social care. Additionally, some physiotherapists are involved in education, research and service management.
Sports therapists are experts in musculoskeletal disorders. They treat pain and injury through hands on treatment and rehabilitation. Sports Therapists undergo an intensive three year degree course which focusses primarily on the musculoskeletal system and on restoring, maintaining and maximising movement to relieve pain and increase quality of life.
As you can see physiotherapists and sports therapists share many similarities and overlap in their treatment programmes. However there are some key differences:
It is important to remember that these are generalisations about the two professions. Many Physiotherapist’s specialise in sports rehabilitation and many Sports Therapists have experience in other areas of rehabilitation. To get the most from your therapist, we recommend you choose your practitioner based on their individual experience and expertise. We encourage all our therapists to update their team pages so that you can choose wisely but we are always happy to recommend and promote a strong team working environment so that you always get the most appropriate care.
Should you see a Sports Therapist or Physiotherapist?
Both therapist’s posses the skills and knowledge to:
- Assess and diagnose injuries
- Deliver a personalised treatment plan to maximise movement and physical independence
- Teach patients how to reduce pain and manage chronic injuries
- Implement rehabilitation programmes
- Teach patients how to stay fit and well
Some of the shared treatment approaches used to aid recovery include:
- Massage, body work and mobilisations
- Electrotherapy modalities
- Varied stretching techniques
- Biomechanics analysis
- Patient education
- Exercise prescription
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