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Sports Therapy or Physio?

What is the difference between a Sports Therapist and a Physiotherapist?

The biggest question we get is ‘Are you a Physio?’ OR ‘What’s different between Sports Therapy and Physiotherapy?’ OR ‘Do i need physio or sports therapy?’

The simple answer is that both professionals are trained and insured to treat musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders, the only difference really being their end goals. Both Physiotherapists and Sports Therapists are highly educated in dealing with MSK disorders, treating injuries and managing pain through hands on treatments often referred to as “physical/manual therapy”.

Both therapists are about to:

– Assess and diagnose injuries

– Deliver a rehabilitation plan to maximise recovery and promote physical independence

– Teach patients how to reduce their injuries and manage chronic pain

– Implement rehabilitation programmes

– Educate patients on staying fit and reducing injury in the future

Some treatment approaches are also shared such as:

– Massage, manual therapy and joint mobilisations

– Electrotherapy modalities

– Taping

– Stretching methods

– Biomechanical analysis

– Acupunture

– Exercise prescription

Key differences:

Sports Therapy is a newer profession within healthcare governed by The Society of Sports Therapists. Although Sports Therapy is similar to Physio, there are a range of differences:

Physiotherapists have a broad knowledge on illnesses and diseases from their work in hospital settings. They are experts in getting patients back to being able to safely complete daily activities.

Sports Therapists spend a lot of their education looking at how sport and exercise effects a person’s life. Rather than helping a patient get back to normal daily living, they aim to get the patient back to their pre-injury level of activity whether that be recreational or elite; from walking to the shops, to Olympic Sailing.

Physiotherapists are accessible through the NHS as well as privately, which does mean you may be able to be referred through your GP, however current waiting lists are around 12 weeks for treatment.

Sports Therapists are generally working privately so can be accessed much quicker, at a cost.

A Sports Therapist has studied and specialised in the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries throughout their degree, whilst also having massage and first aid skills which can be used within a sports setting. Whereas a physiotherapist (governed by CSP) has covered a broad range of aspects of healthcare such as: pediatrics, respiratory care, cardiac patients and musculoskeletal injuries. Upon graduation, physiotherapists tend to specialise in one of these areas of healthcare and then gain their sports specific skills from professional development courses or top up degrees. Whereas Sports Therapists specialise in sporting injuries from day one.

Sports Therapists differ to other healthcare professionals as we are able to take an athlete through the whole story of their injury.

As a Sports Therapist and healthcare professional, the knowledge, skills and ability in each treatment can:

  • utilise sports and exercise principles to optimise performance, preparation and injury prevention programmes
  • provide the immediate care of injuries and basic life support in a recreational, training & competitive environment
  • assess, treat Musculoskeletal problems/injuries and, where appropriate, refer on for specialist advice and intervention.
  • provide appropriate sport and remedial massage in a sport & exercise context
  • plan and implement appropriate rehabilitation programs

We are an amazing team of Graduate Sports Therapists. Why specify graduate? This means we have completed an accredited 3 year Degree in Sports Therapy to gain our qualifications. We are all members of The Society of Sports Therapists. We are Sports Therapists by BSc (Hons) and/or MSc (equivilent Level 6/7) not a weekend course (level 3-5).

For more information on what’s the right decision for you, get in touch to discuss your condition!

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