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What's the difference between a Physiotherapist and a Sports therapist?

Physiotherapist or sports therapist - who should I see?

A physiotherapist is a healthcare professional who specialises in providing treatments to improve movement and reduce pain. They typically focus on treating a broad range of musculoskeletal (MSK) issues and may work with patients of all ages. Physiotherapy treatment plans are tailored to the individual and may involve hands-on techniques such as massage, joint mobilisation, or manual therapy, as well as exercise prescriptions, education, and advice.

A sports therapist is also a healthcare professional, but their main focus is on the prevention and treatment of sports-related injuries. Sports therapists specialise in assessing and treating muscle, bone and joint injuries that occur during physical activity. They may also provide sports massage and protective taping, as well as developing exercise programs for rehabilitation and injury prevention.

What does a physiotherapist do?

A physiotherapist's main role is to assess, diagnose, treat and help prevent physical injuries and conditions that affect the body's movement and functionality. They provide treatments that are designed to improve mobility and reduce pain, as well as advising patients on how to prevent and manage their condition with lifestyle and exercise. Physiotherapists may use hands-on techniques such as massage, joint mobilisation, manual therapy, and exercise programs to treat their patients. They may also provide advice on posture and ergonomics, as well as patient education to help their patients manage their conditions.

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What does a sports therapist do?

A sports therapist’s main role is to assess, diagnose, and treat sports-related injuries. They use a variety of techniques to help rehabilitate, prevent, and protect against injuries, including sports massage and protective taping. They may also develop exercise programs to help their patients recover from injury, as well as provide advice on ergonomics and injury prevention. Sports therapists also strive to educate their patients on the importance of taking care of their bodies, both during and after physical activity.

What does Musculoskeletal (MSK) mean?

Musculoskeletal describes the entire system of muscles, bones, joints and ligaments that the body uses to move and support itself. It is the combination of the muscular and skeletal systems, which work together to help the body stay balanced and in motion.

Which should I see – a physiotherapist or a sports therapist?

It depends on what kind of treatment you need. A physiotherapist can help with a wide range of physical issues, such as joint and muscle pain, rehabilitation after an injury, posture correction, and more. A sports therapist, on the other hand, can also help and focus on sports-related injuries, and they can provide treatments such as manual therapy including sports massage, strength and conditioning coaching, and injury prevention advice. So depending on your needs, you should decide which one is more suitable for you.

What are the benefits of sports therapy?

Sports therapy is a type of treatment that helps athletes, whether professional or recreational, to prevent and treat injuries related to physical activity. It can also help improve performance and maintain overall health and well-being. Here are some of the key benefits of sports therapy:

1. Improved Performance: Sports therapy can help athletes improve their performance and reach their goals. Specific techniques, like massage and stretching, can help reduce pain and fatigue, improve range of motion, and increase muscle strength.

2. Injury Prevention: Sports therapy can help reduce the risk of injuries by improving flexibility and strength. Therapists can teach athletes how to correctly perform exercises and provide tips on the best ways to warm up and cool down.

3. Reduced Pain: Sports therapy can be used to reduce pain in athletes who have suffered injuries. Techniques, like massage, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation, can help to relax the muscles and reduce inflammation.

4. Improved Mental Health: Sports therapy can also help athletes deal with stress and anxiety. Therapists can help athletes to understand the connection between their physical and mental health, and teach them techniques to manage their emotions and reach their performance goals.

What is the best back pain treatment?

The best back pain treatment depends on the cause and severity of your pain. In most cases, making lifestyle changes and using over-the-counter medications to reduce inflammation and pain can be effective. Other treatments that may help include physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, and, in some cases, surgery. Talk to your doctor to determine the best treatment plan for your specific situation.

What is a sports massage treatment?

A sports massage treatment is a type of massage that is tailored to the needs of athletes. It is intended to help improve their performance and recovery from physical activity. Sports massage typically incorporates stretching, kneading, and pressure techniques that are applied to various muscle groups. These techniques can help to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and reduce muscle tension, which can provide athletes with better flexibility and range of motion. Additionally, sports massage can help to reduce fatigue, improve concentration, and increase focus.

Is sports massage effective for treating back pain?

Sports massage can be an effective form of treatment for back pain. It helps to improve circulation, reduce inflammation and reduce muscle tension. Massage can also help to release endorphins, which act as natural painkillers. With regular massage sessions, tight muscles can be stretched and weakened muscles strengthened, helping to reduce pain and improve mobility. However, for the most effective treatment, it is important to seek professional advice from a qualified sports therapist.

What other benefits does sports massage provide?

Here are some of the key benefits of sports massage:

1. Improved Performance: Sports massage can help to improve an athlete’s performance by reducing fatigue, increasing focus, and improving muscle flexibility. These benefits can help an athlete to reach peak performance.

2. Faster Recovery: Sports massage can help to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness, which can help athletes recover from physical activity more quickly.

3. Pain Relief: Sports massage can help to reduce pain caused by sore muscles and injuries. Techniques, like massage, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation, can help to relax the muscles and reduce inflammation.

4. Improved Mental Health: Sports therapy can also help athletes deal with stress and anxiety. Therapists can help athletes to understand the connection between their physical and mental health, and teach them techniques to manage their emotions and reach their performance goals.

Do sports massages hurt?

The amount of discomfort you experience during a sports massage depends on the type of massage, the intensity of the massage, and your personal pain tolerance. Generally, sports massage is not intended to be a painful experience. Your massage therapist will use techniques that are designed to relax the muscles and reduce muscle tension. While there may be pressure applied during the massage, the massage should not be unbearable. If you ever experience pain during a massage, it's important to communicate this to your massage therapist so that they can adjust their techniques as needed.

Book your appointment 

At AS Sports Therapy, we are a hands on results focused sports therapy & injury clinic based in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. Our goal is to help our clients eliminate pain and prevent injury so they can keep active and healthy. We pride ourselves on our personalised service and work with people from all backgrounds using effective treatments that are always tailored to our client's needs.  

If you would like to book an appointment in Berkhamsted with a qualified sports therapist then click book now!

"I highly recommend this service. Appointment times are varied & good to work around. I really noticed the benefits & the exercises given really helped with my rehabilitation with an old hip injury. Thank you so much." 

Olivia  - Sports massage client

" If you are looking for a sports massage and support and advice to get you through a major sporting event, then look no further than AS Sports Therapy. Alex is very knowledgeable and skilled at discovering where work needs to be done on various muscles and she helps to free up niggles before they become an issue. I'd recommend her for anyone who has an important event and needs to be in tip top condition. "

- Katrina

" Super knowledgeable, uses a wide range of techniques to identify and address issues, and is always professional. I'd highly recommend to anyone looking for a sports massage or injury management.."

Amy - Sports massage & rehab client

" Alex has been an absolute lifesaver. Since lockdown and working from home, I’ve really suffered with neck and shoulder problems which had really started to negatively impact my life with the constant pain and discomfort. Alex’s targeted sports massage on the problem areas has given me much needed relief and I’m no longer in the position of having to take painkillers every day. Her knowledge and expertise are second to none."


- Pamela

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