How Is Athletic Therapy Different from Physiotherapy?


How Is Athletic Therapy Different from Physiotherapy?

If you are suffering from new or chronic pain, finding the right physiotherapy clinic in Vancouver can make all the difference on your road to recovery. But before you can commit to a physiotherapy clinic, you need to understand the differences in the services offered. If you are active, two therapy options you may be considering are athletic therapy and physiotherapy. While both specialties aim to help patients achieve optimal health outcomes, the type of care and methods are quite different between the two.

Despite its name, athletic therapy isn’t only for athletes. Athletic therapy is for anyone who has suffered an injury, particularly a sports-related injury, that prevents them from returning to their previous level of activity. You don’t need to be a professional athlete; athletic therapists specialize in the treatment, prevention, and rehabilitation of all types of musculoskeletal injuries (bones, muscles, joints) in people of all abilities.

Athletic therapists are trained in providing immediate care and assessment of minor sports-related injuries to help determine the best individual course of treatment. Ultimately, the goal is to return patients to their peak physical performance. Therapists may utilize both active and manual therapy techniques to support patients while providing the tools needed to help prevent future injuries. Your sessions may include stretching, mobilization, instrument-assisted therapy, and reconditioning. While you often hear of high-level athletes requiring athletic therapy, a physiotherapy clinic equally provides these services to weekend cyclists, jogging enthusiasts, or anyone who is suffering from musculoskeletal injuries

Physiotherapy shares many similarities with athletic therapy and may often use similar techniques. However, physiotherapy encompasses a broader scope of knowledge. Physiotherapists are trained to diagnose and treat issues above and beyond musculoskeletal injuries. Where athletic therapy focuses on treating and preventing specific bone, muscle, and joint injuries, physiotherapy works to uncover and diagnose the underlying cause of acute or chronic pain and develop a treatment plan to restore normal function.

A physiotherapist must complete a 2-year master’s degree program. Their training includes the study of orthopedics, cardiorespiratory rehabilitation, pediatrics, geriatrics, stroke rehab, and neurological therapy. Some physiotherapists then chose to continue their education specialize in a specific field of treatment, including concussion therapy, pediatrics, or women’s health. Physiotherapy programs are injury-specific, but many include massage, soft tissue manipulation, joint mobilization, kinesiology taping, muscle strengthening, and other core exercises, and stretching.

Regardless of the differences in treatment and method, both athletic therapy and physiotherapy ultimately achieve similar outcomes – restoring a person’s ability to move freely and without pain. Your physiotherapy clinic may recommend athletic therapy if you are:

  • An athlete, fitness instructor, or performer, recreational or professional
  • Active in your daily life and need to rehabilitate and strengthen muscles post-injury
  • Suffering from a minor musculoskeletal injury

Other individuals may require care from a physiotherapist to help regain their full range of motion and restore strength. Physiotherapy is recommended for people who:

  • Work in a physically demanding field, like construction
  • Active in your daily life and need to rehabilitate and strengthen muscles post-injury
  • Are suffering from acute or minor musculoskeletal injury
  • Recovering from trip and fall accidents
  • Have been in a vehicle collision (ICBC MVA) or workplace accident
  • Experience vertigo or chronic dizziness
  • Suffer from arthritis or other forms of chronic pain

A good physiotherapy clinic in Vancouver is instrumental in recovering from pain or physical limitation due to injury or chronic condition. Both athletic therapy and physiotherapy have their place in the recovery process. The one that is right for you will depend on the nature of your injury and your goals for recovery. Physiotherapy is a broader field, with therapists trained in various techniques, while athletic therapy is focused primarily on sports-related injuries.


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