Physical Therapy as a Therapeutic Component in Resolving Sports Injuries

Published - January 12, 2015

Sports related physical therapy comes in many different forms and can address many different issues and injuries.  When the injury or pain are acute, doctors often focus first on decreasing pain with physical therapy and then working toward long term care, prevention, and healing. Some of the most common physical therapy treatments that can be seen when working in the field of sports medicine and rehabilitation include the following:


Heat and cold. Many sports therapy experts use heat and cold to soothe muscles, speed healing, improve blood flow, and ease pain. Alternating between hot and cold compresses is the most common form of therapy used to treat minor injuries. Ice packs can dull pain and soothe tight muscles and reduce swelling, then when followed up with a heating pad, blood flow is improved, cramps fade, and healing can begin. Each treatment of either heat or cold is applied at only ten to fifteen minute intervals in order to avoid additional damage being done.

Exercise. Those who have suffered from a sport related injury may also benefit from therapy sessions that give them the option using exercise as part of the recovery plan. Utilizing specially designed exercise programs can be a great way to shift the main focus of the recovery plan on stretching and strengthening of the muscles and the body overall.

Massage. Many sports therapy specialists will often use massage to help address issues with the bones, joints, and ligaments of the neck, back, and shoulders – as well as working on any damage or strain that the muscles have endured because of the injury. It has been shown that massages and targeted treatments of the muscles and joints can improve circulation, reduce swelling, ease pain, soothe cramping, and promote faster healing.  Massage can also help with mental and emotional relaxation and healing – which is often just as important as physical healing after a sports injury.

Ultrasound. Ultrasound is usually thought of in connection to OBGYN care or for imaging needs related to heat, lung, or brain disorders. But it is another popular therapy option that can be a great asset to those working in the field of sports therapy and medicine. Muscle tears, strains, swelling, bleeding and other signs of injury and damage can be easily seen by using ultrasound technology, so it makes sense to use it in the diagnosis and treatment of an array of sports related injuries.

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