Sports rehab is the incredible chemistry that enables athletes to recover from injury, restore their physical prowess and return to their competitive arena. In a world where athletes push their bodies to extreme limits in pursuit of athletic success, injuries are inevitable. However, being injured doesn’t have to mean the end of your season – in fact, an athlete’s recovery can be speeded up by days (even weeks) if they dedicate themselves to a structured rehabilitation program.
The first phase of any sports injury treatment is controlling pain and swelling. This is usually done through Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation – a process known as RICE. In addition to this, a variety of modalities may be used – such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound, laser and massage – which can help reduce pain and swelling and enhance healing of the injured area.
Once the athlete has reached the recovery stage, he or she will progress to a stretching and exercise routine. This will assist the muscles that have been shortened due to the injury or pain to regain their normal length to optimize pain-free movement. It will also include exercises that will improve strength, balance and endurance in preparation for their sport-specific activities.
This stage is often the hardest for athletes as they have to alter their training while they are recovering from an injury. However, a trained sports physical therapist will recognise that rehabilitation is not the same as training and will ensure that appropriate exercises are being performed in order to maintain the athlete’s level of fitness and performance.