Sports Therapy can be described as a subsection of Physiotherapy. It was from an idea of leading Physiotherapist Professor Graham Smith in 1990. Having set up the Physiotherapy department at the Football Association’s centre of excellence he felt that Physiotherapy was moving in the wrong direction.
More and more physiotherapy treatment was solely based around exercise based solutions. Professor Smith was, and is, a firm believer in more of a hands on approach. The use of interventions by a therapist to speed and aid a persons recovery reducing the reliance on exercise based Physiotherapy. A more encompassing approach to treatment.
Since then Sports Therapy has grown from strength to strength and is now on the verge of being recognised by the government and the Health And Care Professions Council (HCPC). This will protect the title of Sports Therapist so you can be sure that anyone claiming to be one has been trained up to the highest standard. It will also allow people to claim back the cost of their treatment on their medical health insurance.
What’s The Difference Between Physiotherapy And Sports Therapy?
Physiotherapy is a huge subject comprising orthopaedics, musculo-skeletal, neurological and respiratory. Orthopaedics is physiotherapy before and after operations. Musculo-skeletal is generally pain and dysfunction anywhere in the body. Neurological is primarily concerned with nerves and nerve related conditions. Respiratory as you would expect is related to the lungs and breathing issues.
The first 2 years of the 3 year degree share it’s time equally between these 4 aspects of the subject. The final year of the degree is then spent on rotations around the different NHS Physiotherapy departments gaining experience in each of these disciplines.
A graduate Physiotherapist will then spend 2 years on further rotations gaining more experience in each of the fields mentioned above. They will then choose their specialism and become a senior in this aspect of Physiotherapy within about 2 years.
Sports Therapy on the other hand specialises in the musculo-skeletal aspects of Physiotherapy. The entirety of their 3 year degree is spent learning about and treating the musculo-skeletal system. They spend all 3 years learning and practising in class accompanied by many hours of hands on real life experience to compliment all of the theory.
How Does That Affect Physio vs Sports Therapy Treatment?
Not much is the answer. There are huge overlaps between the 2 disciplines and huge cross over in terms of the techniques both use. Traditionally Physiotherapists will use a more exercise based approach. Whereas Sports Therapists will use more hands on techniques such as Sports Massage.
However, many Physiotherapists now use Sports Massage as part of the treatments they do. Equally, Sports Therapists often give out exercises to compliment the hands on work they do. Similarly physios can be more focused on the joint side of treatment rather than muscle. But so too can Sports Therapists.
So you can see the answer is not clear cut. The most important decision to make is to find a therapist that you feel is able to help you and you feel comfortable with.
Hopefully this will help you to make a good choice when looking for a Sports Therapist or Physiotherapist in Brighton. If you’d like more information there’s an excellent article here from one of our local Brighton clinics that offers physiotherapy and sports therapy.