If you’re an athlete, you know how demanding your sport can be on your body. Long hours of training can lead to injury if you’re not careful. But how can you avoid getting hurt while still staying at the top of your game. The answer is simple — physical therapy.

At SportsMED Orthopedic Surgery & Spine Center, we specialize in sports medicine and physical therapy to keep you in the best shape possible. Our team can formulate a physical therapy regimen to lessen your risk of injury by strengthening your body.

What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy is a conservative form of treatment that helps to strengthen your muscles and tissues, involving exercises that also help reduce pain and prevent injury. 

Traditionally, physical therapy has been used after an injury to promote healing and avoid more invasive treatments. It’s also used after surgery to help speed up the healing process so you can get back to your normal activities sooner rather than later. 

If you’re an athlete, physical therapy can be more than a treatment — it offers preventive benefits, too. It may just keep you from getting hurt in the first place.

How can it help athletes?

Athletes who compete on a regular basis are more prone to being sidelined by injury. If a potentially serious injury concerns you, we may recommend physical therapy as a training resource. 

Benefits that athletes experience with regular physical therapy sessions include:

Sports injury prevention

Physical therapy can be tailored to your needs and the type of exercise or sport you’re involved in. Your therapist works on the muscles and joints directly impacted by your activity.

Pain relief

After a strenuous practice or game, you’re probably feeling some aches and pains. Physical therapy can provide pain relief through the use of alternative pain management techniques such as heat or ice therapy, massage, and dry needling. 

Relaxation after a game

Athletes know just how important it is to warm up before a game or practice. The same is true about cooling down afterward. Letting your body unwind properly after physical exertion gives your muscles the time they need to recover. Your physical therapist can show you how.

Strength and conditioning

Your therapist shapes your workout plan around the type of sport you’re playing; this includes amping up strength exercises when you need it. Strengthening your tendons, ligaments, and muscles improves your performance on the field, and lowers your risk of injury.

Joint flexibility

Flexibility doesn’t always come naturally — for most of us it takes practice and time. That’s where physical therapy comes in. As part of your plan, your therapist may work on flexibility. Improved flexibility can lessen your chance of injury and boost your performance.

Improved cardio performance

While strength plays a big part in most sports, cardio is also key for most athletes. Your individualized training program could include conditioning exercises that improve your cardio performance. This helps you build endurance and benefits your overall health.

Physical therapy can improve your fitness, strength, mobility, and posture. All of this helps keep you on top of your game, and the preventive aspect helps keep you in the game.

If you’re an athlete looking to strengthen your body, boost performance, and avoid injury, call us at one of our locations in Huntsville, Madison, Athens, and Decatur, Alabama, or request your appointment online. We offer physical therapy centers at our Huntsville and Madison locations.