If you've been trying to recover from an injury that affects your ability to move in some way, and you haven't had luck with simple therapies like RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), please speak with your doctor about getting a referral to a sports rehabilitation clinic. This type of rehab focuses specifically on bringing your ability to move back to its original state, and it follows a series of steps that make it perfect for everyone who wants to be able to regain all of their original abilities, and not just general strength and range. Sports rehab involves general physical therapy, but it also zeroes in on the specific abilities needed in whatever sport the patient plays. For non-athletes, that's an opportunity to fine-tune your skills to reach a higher level of recovery.
Sports Rehab Is Physical Therapy, but Physical Therapy Isn't Always Sports Rehab
When you have physical therapy, you work on regaining strength and coordination to perform your activities of daily living. Forgetting about insurance limits on the number of appointments you can make, if you complete physical therapy after an injury, you will reach a stage in which you've recovered as much general movement as possible. For example, you will work to regain strength in your legs and coordination as you walk after a fall.
Sports rehab is a specific type of physical therapy that takes recovery a step further. Because the people going through it are athletes who rely on being able to make specific movements as they participate in their chosen sport, this rehab works on their strength and coordination, and then works on the specific movements needed in the sport. Physical therapy might help you regain full range of motion in your shoulder, but sports rehab works on letting you once again pitch a baseball or make a basket.
Why Would Non-athletes Need This Extra Work?
Because sports rehab is geared toward getting an athlete back into sports-specific shape, the rehab also emphasizes preventing more injury. For example, if you have your shoulder range of motion back, you will learn how to safely rotate that arm and shoulder to prevent another injury. This is not meant to cast regular physical therapy in a bad or incomplete light; sometimes you really do just need to rebuild strength. But if your injuries come from some sort of misuse or stress caused by certain movements, having the extra therapy and training to avoid new injuries is invaluable.
If regular physical therapy has left you feeling like something is missing, or you know that you need extra help with particular movements, sports rehab may be your next step. Try to get a referral from your doctor so that you can once again feel like you did before your injury. Contact a sports rehabilitation service near you to learn more.