There is a difference between osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists. Physiotherapists’ background is often based upon rehabilitation and, in this sense, physiotherapists learn to assess the biomechanics of the joints of the body and then how that movement is coordinated in function. For this reason you see physiotherapists associated with professional sports teams.
Understanding the biomechanics of the body helps to identify the cause of an injury or, if an injury has already occurred, how to rehabilitate a person back to sport. A trainer’s role is to strengthen the body and, in this sense, they will look at how to control movements with specific strengthening exercises. The physiotherapist can complement the trainer by looking at the finer points of joint movement and by integrating other systems of the body, such as neurophysiology, pathology, and the cardiovascular system.
When training for the first time in the gym, or looking to achieve a goal, it helps to have your biomechanics assessed to aid in avoiding injury. An experienced physiotherapist and trainer can work together to protect from potential injuries which can occur if the body already has poor biomechanics. No two people are built the same, and therefore an assessment should be very bespoke. An example of poor biomechanics would be: a person who has a restriction in the ankle joint such that when they do squats, lunges or step-ups this causes a secondary movement in the knee, hip or back – and somewhere pain will start to occur. This is a very simplistic example of how to assess biomechanics, but it illustrates the importance of identifying these problem areas.
Biomechanical issues may not be a problem in the initial stages of training, where the number of repetitions or length of training is low. However, when training distances and intensities increase, these biomechanical issues will start to cause injuries. It is advised that you do not try to work through these injuries, but rather have them assessed, to allow your training to progress smoothly and with minimal chance of injury. The synergy of a physiotherapist and trainer working together is a formidable team in helping to prevent injury –and exists in many professional sporting environments.
No two people have the same body; and even if two people look the same their ability to withstand load can be vastly different. Commonly in the clinic my clients complain about holding good posture. They report how other colleagues in their places of work can sit with bad posture but never develop pain. Why is this?
There are some people who have a musculoskeletal system which is able to withstand the abnormal loads on their bodies in poor sitting postures: there are others who have a very low tolerance to the stress of sitting with poor posture. There may be many reasons for this but I think a major factor is simply genetics. Genetics cannot be changed. Therefore, two people should avoid comparing themselves when it comes to posture, movement and pain.
Another example of this is athletes – who play sport regularly – and get more injuries than others who may sit at home with an unhealthy lifestyle and watch TV. If you play sport you are generally going to be healthier on the inside but maybe more prone to injuries on the outside. Unfortunately this cannot be avoided as sport does put abnormal loads on the body. If the body cannot adapt to these loads then injuries will occur.Those people who sit on a sofa and eat unhealthy foods do not expose their body to the stresses of sport and in the long run may have fewer injuries and actually better joint condition.
When a physiotherapist assesses a person a bespoke testing protocol is followed; this protocol will take into consideration the movement patterns this person puts themselves through in normal daily life as well as in their sports or hobbies. This assessment is a very functionally based assessment whereby the client can see where their issues are in daily function or sport – and then has a goal to achieve in the rehabilitation process.
The physio will do a thorough examination of the musculoskeletal system and identify individual variances within each person. Physiotherapists can then report to the trainer what the potential consequences of training that person will be. This method will also identify what limitations this person may have when setting goals. When a physiotherapist and personal trainer work closely together you get a synergy like no other. The client gets fully assessed at the start and the constant feedback throughout the training process will provide a bespoke feedforward system for goal attainment and injury prevention.
When a physio and trainer work closely together injuries due to movement can be predicted. Sometimes a client can do an awkward movement once, twice, ten times but if they decided to run a marathon with the biomechanics that they have they will develop an injury. The training process must be adapted to provide help to prevent this injury increasing strengthen and flexibility in various parts of the body to enable that person still to run a marathon.
It is my intention that a client is able to train with very few major injuries; continue to train if they have minor injuries; and attain their goals on time. The client also has the benefit of knowing the physiotherapist, and of knowing that the trainer and physiotherapist are working together as a team.
I believe being healthy is important, as it affects every area of life – if you are healthy you can do more and feel better doing it. Often people find it difficult to motivate themselves to go to the gym or to do sport; they need someone to direct them in their training, give them focussed goals, and keep them motivated along the way. Personal trainers play a significant role in this regard – helping people achieve their physical goals. Today personal trainers often work in one-on-one training facilities, to offer functional gym training in a smaller more intimate environment;the gym generally has better equipment, is cleaner and the trainers can offer state of the art functional training.
Having spoken with several high profile trainers in London, we have identified the need for physiotherapists to work with trainers.People find it frustrating when they get injuries and the trainer sends them to a physiotherapist they do not know; the physiotherapist may not clearly communicate back to the trainer what the client’s injury is, and how to help heal that injury during training. Sometimes training is stopped for no reason and the client is taken away from his / her training goals.
The way to improve the training process is to have a physiotherapist work with the trainer from the very start. By getting assessed by a physiotherapist before training starts, a person can discuss their injuries and how their body operates with a medical professional. The physiotherapist will identify the injuries, past and present, which may present during training sessions; even if there are no current injuries, the physiotherapist can identify potential pitfalls a person may encounter as they go through their training regime towards their goals. Once the person is assessed by the physiotherapist the physio can feed back to the personal trainer what to look out for during the training process, what limitations there are for that person in training, and whether the training goal is appropriate. The trainer can then confidently train a client knowing that he/she is supported by a medical professional who understands injuries and how the body functions in response to them.
The personal trainer will continue to communicate closely with the physiotherapist during the training process; the physiotherapist will continue in their assessment of a client throughout their training regime in order to maintain correct movement of the body and further direct the trainer towards more advanced training goals. By working well together in this way the physiotherapist and trainer help to provide a better service to their clients. If an injury does occur during training the physiotherapist will already know the client, and the trainer will be able to communicate immediately with the physio on how to proceed. The synergy of this relationship far exceeds any personal training system by itself.
The benefits to the client are:
- Prevention of injuries during training
- Faster goal attainment
- Faster return to training if an injury does occur.
If you are interested in working with a physiotherapist and personal trainer contact us at http://www.physical –edge.com