What Are the Stages of Sports Rehabilitation?

Sports Rehabilitation Ooltewah, TN

Sports rehabilitation is the first step toward getting back to what you love after a serious injury. Injuries are an unfortunate yet unavoidable part of sports, and many professional athletes have to rehab from some serious injury at some point in their careers. Sports injuries from contact sports like football, basketball, and soccer are the leading cause of emergency hospital visits in the U.S.

The road to recovery can be a long and challenging journey, but sports rehabilitation can get you back to your former form. Proper rehabilitation of injuries should occur in stages that are aligned with the natural healing process.

The different stages of sports rehabilitation

The successful rehabilitation of serious injuries is a personalized, progressive, and responsive process that is customized for each patient. There is no general solution that addresses all patients or injuries. It is broken down into stages that are tailor-suited to each patient’s needs.

These stages are:

1. Protection and rest

The first part of rehabilitating any injury is addressing any pain caused by it, protecting the area from further trauma, and restricting movements that affect the injured area. Resting an injury does not mean stopping daily activities or staying in bed all day. It simply means not engaging in activities that aggravate the injured areas. Activities that take pressure off the injured area are fine. For example, an athlete with an injured knee should not engage in activities like running on land, but running in water is fine since it takes pressure off the injured area while stimulating the muscles.

2. Flexibility and mobility

Injured parts of the body often feel stiff after being rested for a while. Regaining mobility and flexibility in these areas is what the second stage of sports rehabilitation is all about. Personal trainers might use flexibility training, therapeutic exercise, and muscle stretches to loosen these areas. Exercises like shoulder pass-throughs, wall angels, and spine windmills can help to improve flexibility and mobility at this stage.

Muscular strength depends on mobility in the joints and their range of motion. These things all work together to power all your movements. The injured part of the body cannot perform as it once did if mobility is not restored.

Chiropractic care can be invaluable at this stage of the recovery process. A chiropractor can use techniques like joint manipulation and stimulation to improve flexibility in injured areas. These treatments aim to improve how the body works together as a whole.

3. Stamina and strength

This is when the rehab process starts to become more fun. At this stage, athletes are cleared for light exercises like calisthenics or working with light weights. These exercises help to reforge the body-mind connection and strengthen the targeted areas. The goal at this stage is to induce muscle fatigue without putting excessive force on your body, then gradually increase the load.

4. Reestablishing coordination

The body puts movements together in intuitive and automatic ways. For example, you can close your eyes and touch any part of your body because you instinctively know where they are. This behavior is called proprioception, and it is responsible for many of the movements athletes make.

Severe injuries can throw off a person’s coordination and spatial awareness. Injuries like an ACL or hip injury can drastically affect a person’s coordination, muscular movements, and balance.

This part of the recovery process involves athletes performing exercises that challenge their coordination and spatial awareness like the t-stance balance exercise or standing on one leg on different surfaces. This prepares patients for the final stage of the rehabilitation process.

5. Reinforcing sport-specific movements

This stage of the process aims to get the patient back to performing sport-specific movements they use in their respective sports. It involves complex movements that involve catching, hitting, pivoting, cutting, swinging, and rotating. If the patient’s injuries were sustained when performing such movements, precautions will be taken to prevent the same conditions that led to the injury.

An effective approach

Sports rehabilitation diagnoses, treats, and prevents injuries that occur when engaged in physical activities or sports. Your brain might enjoy such activities, but they take a toll on your musculoskeletal system.

The first step towards recovery is getting properly diagnosed, which is not as straightforward as many people think. The complex movements used in sports can make it challenging to target the source of pain. Once a diagnosis has been completed, a chiropractor or other qualified professional can craft a custom treatment plan. Dealing with a sports injury? Call or visit our Ooltewah clinic to set up an appointment.

Request an appointment here: https://sjrm-tn.com or call Spine & Joint Regenerative Medicine at (423) 424-1529 for an appointment in our Ooltewah office.

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