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How Can Physical Therapy Help In Managing Injuries Caused By Sports?

Sports injuries and pain resulting from it can make life uncomfortable and debilitating. Here’s how physical therapy can help you in managing sports injuries.

A sports injury can lead to severe problems, which may worsen with time. So, pain resulting from sports is a common reason for seeking medical treatment. The causes of sports injuries and pain can be complex. There are unlimited sports injury physical therapy benefits that help sports enthusiasts to recover from a sports injury and get back on track.

Sports Injuries—Back injuries and back pain

Regular exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Many people turn toward sports to do their part of an exercise to keep their body fit and fine.

For people experiencing back pain, sports can be a viable option if done while paying attention to the back. Knowing the type of strain placed by various sports on the back may help prevent back injuries for other people who participate in sports.

Types of Sports-Related Back Injuries

Injuries to any spine part are possible when participating in any sport. Along with the spine muscles, there are significant chances of injuring the soft tissue and fascia that comprise the body’s makeup if proper care and protection are not taken in sports.

25% of all back injuries that occur in sports involve an injury to the lower back, and the rest of the significant injuries usually happen to the neck.

Lower back injuries resulting from sports

The lower back or the lumbar spine connects bones, joints, nerves, and muscles, all working together to provide strength and flexibility. However, this complex structure also leaves the lower back susceptible to injuries and pain.

When the lower spine is strained or sprained, the tissues and muscles of the spine become swollen, and this inflammation of muscles and tissues causes pain and hence causes, muscle spasms.

In numerous sports, lower back injuries are subject to a great deal of strain. Sports that involve repetitive impact, such as running, golf, or weight lifting, commonly cause damage to the lower back.

Neck injuries resulting from sports

Neck injuries can be a result of strained muscles from poor body posture. Poor body posture can be of any kind. For example, leaning over the computer or hunching over the workbench. The neck is the second most exposed body part that experiences injuries after back injuries. Neck injuries are often seen in sports that involve high impact and strength.

Apart from sports, Neck pain can also get caused by common infections, such as virus infection in the throat, leading to lymph node (gland) neck pain and swelling.

Additionally, neck injury and pain can also get caused by rare infections, such as neck tuberculosis and meningitis (accompanied by neck stiffness), a condition in the spine bones of the neck.

Another reason for neck pain relates to conditions directly linked to the neck muscles, such as Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Fibromyalgia, and improper neck positioning while sleeping on a pillow. Neck pain is called cervical pain in medical terms.

Risk factors for neck pain include neck injury from involvement in motor vehicle accidents, bull or bronco horse riding, contact sports, etc. Neck strengthening exercises and neck bracing are usually a part of physical therapy for sports injuries that causes strain on the neck to prevent injuries and pain resulting from such activities.

Upper back injuries resulting from sports

In medical terms, the mid-portion of the spine at the rib cage level, called the thoracic spine, is less likely to be injured as that part of the body is relatively immobile and has extra support than the neck and lower back.

Injuries seen on the upper back can involve rib fracture and intercostal neuralgia and muscle strains in sports, strains that involve rotation of the torso. For example, weight training requires body rotation, golf, tennis, skiing, swimming, etc.

Other sports injuries

Knee injuries, neck splints, sprains, strains, broken bones, swollen muscles, and dislocations are among the most common sports injuries. It’s essential to treat the Injuries appropriately to ensure the athlete’s safety. According to the therapist, it is critical to investigate the biomechanics of specific sports.

What are some of the most common ways that athletes get hurt?

Depending on the sport, you may sustain one or more of the following injuries:

Ankle injuries

Almost every athlete who spends a significant time running is at risk of an ankle injury. Curling or twisting your ankle can stretch or tear the connective tissue.


Contact sports carry the risk of concussion, and concussions happen when your brain collapses due to a sudden collision in your skull.

Muscle strain

Excessive use of your muscles, and tired muscles after a long period of exercise, can result in stretches or tears. It is common in various areas of your legs during continuous running, jumping, and switching back, which takes a lot of practice.

Neck brace

Inflammation of the muscles and connective tissue around your neck can occur over time.

Knee injuries

A sprain or tear in the knee can result from a sudden twisting or bending of the knee in the wrong direction. ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears are among the most common knee injuries relating to sports.

Activities recommended by physical therapists before involving in sports

As per the best physical therapists, stretching and warmup sessions before exercise are the key to avoiding injuries. Several studies have recommended that stretching the muscles before exercise helps prevent injuries.

Similar to exercise, a thorough warmup session should get completed before involving in sports of any kind. The warmup session will target the muscles used in the sport while preparing the back for the stresses as part of the sport.

The warmup session should be specific to the sport to get played. The following get included in a typical warmup session:

  • Increases blood circulation in the entire body by doing easy movements such as walking. Such easy movements increase the circulation of muscles and ligaments of the back.

  • Stretching the lower and upper back and muscles related to the sports, including hamstrings and quadriceps.

  • Starting slowly with the movements involved in sports such as swinging of arm in golf, movement of serving the ball in football, movement of arms, hands, neck, legs, and back in swimming, etc.

Management of sports-related pain

There are numerous causes of sports injuries and pain, including accidents, strains, etc.

Two common types of back injuries are spondylolisthesis and cervical radiculopathy, and both injuries have their symptoms, causes, and treatments.

Structure of Spine

The backbone or the spine comprises a 33-bones column and tissues expanding from the skull to the pelvis. The bones or vertebrae (in medical terms) are enclosed and protect a cylinder of nerve tissues known as the spinal cord: an intervertebral disk or a band of cartilage serving as a shock absorber between each vertebra.

How can physical therapy help in dealing with a sports injury?

If you ever got injured as an athlete or a person who plays sports daily, you know how important it is to get back to doing what you love.

Athletes of all levels are eager to participate and compete in tournaments and frequently sustain injuries during this process. Some sports injuries are unavoidable, but others can be—various factors causes sports injuries, including poor training methods, inadequate preparation, and insufficient warmup.

Injuries are frequently sustained during competitions, organized sports, fitness classes, or exercises. Physical therapy is required to recover from a fracture, joint dislocation, sprain, or strain.

Physical therapy for sports injuries assists people in regaining strength and movement in injured areas of the body. It can also aid in the relief of pain and the prevention of permanent damage and recurring problems.

Treatment of sports injuries with physical therapy

Even if you are healthy, improper exercising, warming up, and stretching can cause injury. If you are an injured athlete, it is good to consult an expert physical therapist to develop a sports injury physical therapy plan.

To avoid future injuries, a physical therapist with knowledge of physical therapy in sports can help you regain strength and mobility and become fitter than ever.

They also provide training services to help athletes improve their performance and coordination.

Methods of physical therapy for sports injuries

Therapy with cold compression

Cold compression therapy devices combine the analgesic properties of ice with the advantages of reducing compression swelling. Because there are so many wraps available, cold compression devices can treat almost any body part.

Stimulation with electricity

An e-stimulation tool is another common form of physical therapy in sports. It can help strengthen and rehabilitate damaged muscles, increase blood circulation, and reduce swelling in affected areas.

Ultrasonography for therapeutic purposes

Ultrasonography helps treat deeper muscle injuries and injuries close to the skin’s surface. Ultrasonic devices improve local blood circulation, relax tissue, and aid in scar healing.

Exercises for rehabilitation

Physical therapists work with injured athletes to return to full strength and function without pain, using techniques such as an underwater treadmill and functional exercises.

Whirlpool treatment

Hydrotherapy with spa therapy is beneficial because it can relax stiff muscles and aches while relieving pain without straining the body’s joints. It is often included in most sports therapy rehabilitation programs.

Other sports injury treatments include:

  • Rest

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)

  • Immobilization

  • Surgery

Sports injury rehabilitation is critical to returning to your favorite activities as soon and safely as possible.

The physical therapist strives to provide advanced clinical care skills to athletes of all ages. Even if you are injured, you can still stay in shape and use the injury period to strengthen other areas of your body. A personal commitment to healing is a strategy that will help you achieve the best results.

How does physical therapy assist with sports injuries?

Your physical therapist will collaborate with you to develop individualized care plans to restore your ability to move and compete. Your treatment plan will most likely include the following:

  • Exercise and stretching

  • Massage therapy

  • Extensive massage

  • Cold and hot therapy

  • SCENAR Therapy: A treatment that enhances the body’s healing abilities.

  • BEMER Therapy: An electromagnetic treatment that improves blood circulation and speeds up cell healing.

Benefits of physical therapy in sports injuries

What specific benefits can you expect from physical therapy? Several advantages can help you recover quickly and return to your prior fitness level. You can anticipate certain things from sports injury therapy, such as:

  • Prompt assistance

Physical therapy has the advantage of being able to begin right away. Almost immediately after suffering an injury, you can begin treatment, allowing you to start your recovery and relieve your pain.

  • Speedier recovery

Utilizing sports therapy as soon as possible can hasten your recovery, jump-start your healing process, and make all the difference in your ability to get better.

  • Specialized rehabilitation

Physical therapists with experience and training can locate a problem’s root cause. It is much simpler to target particular body weak points by working with a physical therapist.

  • Managing pain

Physical therapy can significantly enhance your quality of life as you recover from an injury by assisting with the relief of pain and stress. Common sports-related injuries can get treated using such procedures (e.g., tennis elbow). Muscle stretching increases the range of motion.

  • Stretching constrained joints and muscles

Injuries may restrict your range of motion due to muscle scarring. Your therapist can offer advice on regaining strength without worsening your wounds. Physical therapists can provide helpful stretches that can aid in regaining full mobility.

  • Exercising for Strength

To fully recover, it is critical to begin muscle building after an injury. You’ll be able to do so safely and effectively with the assistance of an experienced physical therapist. The tailored care plan can help you regain strength and ensure your safety.

  • Core strengthening

Core strengthening is a relatively new and highly effective development in physical therapy. Core strengthening exercises target the muscles of the back and pelvis. Increasing core strength and stability benefit your overall health and fitness, making it a must for any athlete. Consider the core to be a house’s foundation. A solid foundation makes it more stable.

A strong core helps you avoid injury and improves your performance once you can exercise again.

  • Specialized care

Injuries may necessitate specialized treatment to promote recovery. Ultrasound treatments, which use high-frequency sound waves to stimulate deep muscle tissues, can increase blood flow to the injury and speed up the healing process. Depending on the severity of your injuries, your therapist may incorporate these treatments into your treatment plan, speeding up your recovery.

  • Augmentation surgery

If surgery is required, physical therapy can benefit. Physical therapy can help you stay fit before surgery, allowing you to recover much faster. Scars from surgery, for example, can limit mobility. Stretching exercises are highly beneficial for maintaining mobility and preventing scar tissue buildup.

  • Increasing balance

Many physiotherapy programs include exercises that carefully test your balance. These exercises simulate real-life situations where you must maintain balance (e.g., walking up and down the stairs). Physical therapists can identify any issues affecting your balance, help address symptoms such as vertigo, and provide exercises to help with coordination and devices (such as canes or custom-made knee braces) to assist with walking when necessary.

How do Therapists diagnose pain?

The healthcare provider generally diagnoses pain after asking about symptoms and physical examination. An imaging scan along with other tests may be required if:

  • The pain persists over a long period

  • The pain appears to result after suffering sports injuries

  • There may be underlying causes that require treatments

An X-ray, MRI, or CT scan can give the state of the tissues in the spinal cord.

EMG or Electromyography

EMG measures the electrical impulses produced by the nerves in response to muscles. The measurement of electrical impulses can confirm nerve compression, which may occur with a herniated disk or spinal stenosis.


These can show the alignment of the bones and detect signs of broken bones. However, X-rays do not reveal damage in the muscles, spinal cord, discs, or nerves.

Bone scans

Such scans can detect tumors or compression fractures caused by osteoporosis. The bone scan is done by injecting a tracer or a radioactive substance into a vein. The tracer collects in the bones that help the doctor detect bone problems with a medical camera.

CT or MRI scans

Such scans can reveal herniated disks or problems with tissues, nerves, ligaments, muscles, bones, and tendons.

To conclude:

Sports injury physical therapy relieves the players and the athletes without minor to no side effects. Many athletes have missed seasons, games, and even careers due to sports injuries. Injuries are common while competing, participating in organized sports, fitness activities, or training exercises. Various factors, including poor training methods, a lack of conditioning, and insufficient warmup lead to sports-related injuries.

Physical rehabilitation is frequently required when dealing with these types of injuries. Physical therapy in sports assists people in regaining strength and movement in injured areas of their bodies.

How Can Physical Therapy Help In Managing Injuries Caused By Sports