When you think of physical therapy, the first thing that likely comes to mind is injury recovery. And while that’s a common reason for seeking this treatment, it’s far from the only use for physical therapy.
As an athlete, prevention is always better than cure. If you’re interested in not only preventing injury but improving your overall sports performance as well, physical therapy is your answer. Read on to learn exactly how a physical therapist can help to improve your game from the ground up.
1. RANGE OF MOTION
Regardless of your sport, one of the most important aspects of your performance is your range of motion. Without a full range of motion, your ability will suffer greatly.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re a tennis player. If you’re unable to fully rotate your shoulder and flex your elbow, you won’t be able to play a great game, even if your skill level is high.
In addition, joint limitations gone unaddressed increase your risk of future injury. A physical therapist can work with you to improve your range of motion by identifying the obstacles that are preventing you from reaching your full potential.
Similar to the range of motion of your joints, your level of flexibility is a key factor in your mobility and athletic performance. Reaching and maintaining a high level of flexibility will boost your sports performance while keeping you feeling your best physically.
A physical therapist will evaluate your flexibility and address any existing key muscle group issues. Using this evaluation, you’ll work together to expand your range of motion and flexibility.
Along with improving performance, this will also help to protect you from injury. This is because a greater level of flexibility means greater resilience to stressors common in sports.
One of the main benefits of seeing a specialist in sports performance physical therapy is that they’re knowledgeable about the various techniques and movements needed for each sport. And whether you’re a bodybuilder or a baseball player, proper form is crucial to maximizing your potential in all areas of performance.
If there are any issues with your form or gait, you could be working with less speed, strength, endurance, and power, and not even realize it. A physical therapist will be able to identify and address these issues. Through this process, you’ll notice an improvement in your ease of movement and performance.
Impaired balance is a common cause of injury, as it increases your risk of falls and overuse injuries. This is because correct postural alignment and muscle balance are the keys to smooth movement. Unfortunately, many people with impaired balance don’t know that they have it.
During your physical therapy sessions, your therapist will evaluate your balance and, if there are areas that need correcting, create a set of exercises tailored to your specific needs and goals.
Beyond causing a decline in sports performance, a lack of endurance can make even the simplest activities more difficult to complete. Through activities designed to safely increase your heart and respiratory rate, a physical therapist can help to increase your endurance and stamina.
Physical therapy sessions can be beneficial even if you already have a fair level of endurance, as the intensity and duration of the exercises in your program will be specific to you and your goals. By strengthening your muscles, perfecting your form, and enhancing your endurance, you’ll find that you experience fewer cramps and feelings of fatigue.
No matter the sport or activity you participate in, your athletic performance depends largely on your level of muscle function. In order to provide the most powerful force, your muscles have to work together in a chain.
If certain muscles are weaker than others, your motion will be restricted, you won’t perform at your peak, and you’ll eventually suffer an injury. A physical therapist will be able to identify the problem and show you how to improve sports performance by unlocking your ability to get the most power possible behind your movements.
7. PAIN REDUCTION
Issues in any one of the areas mentioned thus far will result in a decline in your sports performance, but even worse, will almost certainly cause pain during or after activity. But activity doesn’t have to and shouldn’t cause discomfort beyond typical soreness.
By correcting any problems and enhancing your ability in each category, you’ll find that you can compete in far greater comfort, eliminating chronic pain from your life.
8. INJURY PREVENTION
As an athlete, it’s wise to be proactive with your health and performance. A physical therapist can identify and help resolve any missteps in your form and movement before an injury occurs, keeping you in peak condition.
An injury can mean months of rehabilitation before you’re able to get back in the game. And though there are non-surgical options for injuries that can get you there faster, it’s better to avoid becoming injured in the first place. It’s essential that you don’t overlook the importance of including preventative treatments in your performance regimen.
TAKE YOUR SPORTS PERFORMANCE TO THE NEXT LEVEL WITH PHYSICAL THERAPY
Don’t wait until you suffer an injury to take advantage of the benefits physical therapy can offer. Whether you’re a professional athlete or play for fun, your sports performance will reach new heights with the help of a physical therapist.
If you’re ready to take your game to the next level, contact us today. The expert team at Midland Sports Rehab will help you perfect your technique, increase your strength, and make sports-related pain a thing of the past.