Who should You See for Your…?

With the growing list of allied health pro’s that seem to be popping up all over the place, some being fantastic at what they do, whilst others claim to have the cure for all ailments yet only sell off rancid snake oil…

The health, fitness, and performance industry is growing, yet there still seems to be some confusion amongst athletes about which allied health professional they should be going to see about a given injury, illness, or disease. Many athletes I’ve come across seem to know one or two allied health pros who they go to for every single problem that comes by, even if the problem is outside the scope of that professional. In addition, there is also some grey area that overlaps each profession which can lead to professionals unintentionally (or, at times, intentionally) stepping on the toes of other professionals within the industry.

So here I will shed some light on who you should see, and for what reason.

See the Physiotherapist When…
You have suffered an acute sports injury, or have been suffering from a consistent muscular, bone, or joint problem for an extended period of time. Physiotherapists are here to provide an injury diagnosis, and provide early stage injury rehab.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of physio’s out there who specialise in neurological, cardiac, and a bunch of other areas, but in an athlete performance context, these physios are rarely needed.

See the Podiatrist When…
You have problems with your feet. If you suffer from any walking abnormalities, diseases that affect the feet, or have any other foot complications.

See the Dietician When…
You need help with your diet or supplement regime. Diet is so important for athletes, yet few actually seek out what it is they should be eating to get the best out of themselves for not only their performance, but life.

See the Masseuse When…
You need tense muscles and/or connective tissue such as fascia loosened to improve the range of motion of a joint, and overall general well-being.

See the Chiropractor When…
You have any muscle or joint pain that may be stemming from the nervous system due to derangement of the spine. A chiro can help “restore the structural integrity of the spine and reduce pressure on neurological tissue.”

See the General Practitioner When…
You have an illness or feel as though you need treatment for something via medicine that can only be prescribed by a doctor. If you require any blood work to check for any deficiencies in the body a GP can sort this out for you.
GP’s tend to be the first point of call for most people, it’s vital GP’s become educated in the role of each allied health professional so they can refer out appropriately.

See the Exercise Physiologist When…
You have an acute or chronic disease or illness where symptoms can be improved through an appropriate exercise intervention. Exercise Physiologist’s are clinical by nature, and can provide assistance for “pathologies that stem from neurological, cardiovascular, metabolic, musculoskeletal, cancers, kidney, respiratory/pulmonary, and mental health.”

See the Psychologist When…
You need to help improving your mental state for on-field performance (i.e. you suffer during the clutch moments), or if you are suffering from any personal issues away from the sport which is reducing your ability to perform.

See the Strength and Conditioning Coach When…
You need to improve your athletic performance. If you need to improve power, run faster, jump higher, change direction quicker, and reduce your injury risk, the strength and conditioning coach should be your point of call. If you have an injury that requires rehabilitation but is past the initial stage of rehab, such as the middle and return to play stages, you should see an S&C coach.

Referral Between Professionals
To develop a complete performance program for the athlete, professionals must be able to refer out to those who are more specialised in a given area. For athletes that may require surgery on a particular joint, limb, muscle etc., they will be referred to the appropriate surgeon who will perform a suitable analysis on the injury to determine if, and to what extent, surgery is required.

If you’re an athlete, you may need to see multiple professionals at once for different problems that need solving. Don’t leave all your eggs in one basket, and don’t be afraid to ask around for different opinions and find what works for you and your needs.

References

https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/chiropractic/what-a-chiropractor

https://www.essa.org.au/essa-me/about-us/ourmembers/how-can-an-accredited-exercise-physiologist-help/

 

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