A big myth surrounding athletic therapy is that it is only for athletes!
Actually, athletic therapists treat many different people. Athletic therapy can help kids with a sports injury, people with concussions, seniors trying to maintain an active lifestyle, and the repetitive strain injuries that come with a physical and demanding job. Some examples of “everyday athletes” include:
1. Firefighter/Police Officer
The physical demands of a first responder are very high and, most importantly, unpredictable. A firefighter has to be strong enough to hold the “Jaws of Life” or other heavy tools in awkward positions for a prolonged duration. The police officer has to go from a seated position in their car to a possible on-foot chase, scaling fences and maneuvering around obstacles.
Athletic therapists can work with these “everyday athletes” to rehab their injuries and get them back to the physical demands of their jobs. They can also facilitate physical conditioning by designing and implementing programs specific to the patient. For example, in this population there may be more of a focus on heavy lifting and/or quick controlled movements.
2. Stay at Home Mom
There is a saying, “pregnancy is temporary, post-partum is for life”. After pregnancy and childbirth a woman’s body has changed and these changes can possibly lead to muscle imbalances, pelvic instability and/or movement compensations — if not properly assessed and managed.
Lifting and carrying a child (or multiple children), placing a child in a crib or car seat, and maintaining a home are all habits that could potentially lead to injuries. Athletic therapists break down their patient’s movement patterns and daily requirements to help build a rehabilitation program specific to these demands. For example, a mother would need instruction on repetitive lifting and specific pelvic stability exercises.
3. Industrial Tradesperson
Electricians, plumbers, and industrial workers are just a few examples of people with high physical workplace demands. Think about movements such as prolonged overhead reaching, kneeling, and crouching. All of these behaviours place high loads on the body, which then have the potential to lead to injury.
Athletic therapists work to educate their patients on proper workplace ergonomics. They can also advise on prophylactic aids, such as supportive tape or a brace, to help them perform their job effectively and safely. With this type of patient, the focus would be on sustaining the longevity of their careers.
4. Weekend Warrior
The typical weekend warrior does little to no exercise during the week and then tries to make up for it on the weekend. Although sporadic physical activity may produce health benefits, this pattern of long periods of inactivity followed by intense physical activity on weekends is especially demanding for unfit individuals.
Athletic therapists can work with these patients to rehabilitate and prevent future injury. Understanding the demands of a weekend warrior’s activities can help to build a tailored rehabilitation program. An athletic therapist can give a weekend warrior strategies for being more active on a daily basis — to lessen the bodily stress that occurs on the weekends.
Today’s entrepreneur could be characterized as someone who is highly motivated, takes risks, and works long hours. Because of this, they need to take time to care for themselves — although many neglect this!
An entrepreneur does not have time to be injured and thus an athletic therapist can help entrepreneurs by giving them at-work strategies to stay healthy. This could mean alternating between sitting and standing tasks or a more ergonomic office set up.
The treatment varies but the objective doesn’t: an athletic therapist’s goal is to help patients return to their usual activities, whether that means playing competitive sports or walking to the mailbox and back.
Still contemplating some athletic therapy, but not really sure if it’s for you? Book an assessment with us today and let us show you how we can help!