Injuries are not only painful but frustrating. Whether you’re a competitive sportsperson or you have an active job, injury prevention is vital, so make use of your physiotherapist before you get sidelined.
You can think of a physiotherapist as a body mechanic. Just as you take your car for servicing before you have a breakdown, your physiotherapist can spot potential problems before they stop you functioning.
Let’s look at the role physiotherapy plays in injury prevention.
1. Risk factor identification
Physiotherapists are experts at assessing function. Even before pain develops, a physiotherapist can spot areas of weakness or parts that are being loaded excessively.
To do this, they may screen typical movement patterns, such as squats, rotation or gait. These can provide a lot of information about the way the body functions as a whole, and which areas are not contributing fully.
They may also evaluate the movements and postures that are relevant in your life. For example, they could look at your tennis serve, or they may check your desk ergonomics.
2. Personalised plan creation
Whether you’re aiming to run an ultramarathon or simply walk to the shops, a physiotherapist can tailor a programme that targets your aims and needs. Your plan might incorporate strength, coordination, flexibility and endurance exercises.
In addition, the physiotherapist will ensure that you’re performing each exercise correctly. That way, you can be sure you’re getting the maximum benefit from your programme.
A well-designed, individualised exercise plan reduces your injury risk by addressing any imbalances or weaknesses before they cause a problem.
3. Modifications for injury prevention
Sometimes, injury prevention may be a simple case of adjusting your technique or equipment. For example, a physiotherapist may suggest altering the grip size on your tennis racquet to reduce the risk of developing tennis elbow. Or they may be able to tweak your swim stroke to protect your shoulder.
Being able to assess how you function during your sport or activity can help a physiotherapist hone down on small issues that might affect you. If you can’t demonstrate your sport in the clinic, it might be useful to take a video clip with you.
4. Biomechanics analysis
We each have our own way of moving. We usually adopt certain patterns as young children by watching our parents or other significant people. And these patterns change as we grow and use our bodies in different ways, and as we learn to accommodate the legacy of old injuries or the effects of ageing.
Physiotherapists are experts in assessing biomechanics. Using minor adjustments, a physio can teach you how to move more efficiently, reducing strain on your body and, with it, your injury risk.
5. Ergonomic check
If you’ve ever suffered with repetitive strain injuries, you’ll know the importance of ergonomics and good posture. A physio can work with you to optimise your workspace, reducing awkward postures and overuse injuries.
Sometimes, certain equipment can help minimise strain, such as a laptop stand, wrist rest or footstool. But even simple changes, such as changing your screen height or chair settings, can make all the difference in preventing injuries. A physio can help find the best solution for you.
6. The proactive approach to injury prevention
As we all know, prevention is better than cure. So whether you’ve signed up for a big race or you’re a weekend footballer, taking steps to prepare your body will pay dividends. And it’s not just about sports. Research shows that a course of physical preparation improves outcomes for people undertaking surgery.
Physiotherapists can help with this ‘prehabilitation’ process. By working with you on your strength, condition, flexibility and function, your physio can get you in tip-top shape to take on your challenge and recover in the shortest timeframe.
In the unfortunate event that an injury does strike, a physiotherapist can help you get back on track as quickly as possible. Using a combination of hands-on treatment, exercise prescription and advice, your physio will help return you to your maximum ability. Proper rehabilitation is vital to prevent an injury from having a long-term impact on your function and putting you at risk of further injury.
In addition, your physio will identify and address any underlying causes that may have contributed to your injury in the first place, thereby allowing you to return to your activity without risking a recurrence.
Trying to prevent injuries? Enlist the help of your physiotherapist!
As you can see, physiotherapy plays a vital part in identifying risks, targeting weaknesses and making sure you’re in great shape for your sport. If you’re keen to avoid an injury putting you out of action, consider investing in your future health with a physiotherapist.