Sports injuries are common, and gymnastics has more than its fair share. The majority of gymnastics injuries are caused by poor form, accidents, and poor preparation. Physical therapy can help your prepare for intense gymnastics, and can also help you recover from a serious injury. Here is how to use physical therapy to prevent and heal gymnastics injuries.
One of the most important aspects of physical therapy is load balancing. Your body is designed to handle heavy loads in specific ways. For example, you can walk on your hands with training, but your body was designed to walk with your legs. Your legs are much stronger than your arms in part because they can handle the weight more efficiently. In gymnastics, your body is trying to handle loads in different and new ways. While there is nothing wrong with this, your body needs to be able to balance those loads across whatever parts are carrying it at the time.
Physical therapy can be a useful tool for teaching your body about load balancing. By practicing a range of low intensity recovery exercises, your body can lean to hold its weight more efficiently. This is especially true since many of those exercises are performed at low speeds and with low weight intensities. That way, your body can focus on improving its agility and efficiency rather than getting stronger.
Alongside load balancing is body alignment. To properly handle your weight, your body must have all of its parts working properly. Your spine, for example, is made up of many smaller vertebrae, ligaments, and muscles. If one of your vertebrae is out of alignment, your spine cannot work efficiently and you will likely be in pain. Through physical therapy, you realign that vertebrae and strengthen the muscles around it to keep it in place. That way, your body can work efficiently and without pain so that you can enjoy what you are doing.
If you are injured, you need to retrain your muscles to be more effective and stronger than they were before. Fortunately, physical therapy is used for muscle retraining after an injury. Your physical therapist works with you to practice using an injured muscle with low intensity exercises. This promotes faster healing by helping the muscle create new tissue. It also promotes more efficient movements so that your body is less likely to experience an injury the next time.
Learn to Move
One of the most useful effects of physical therapy is that it helps you learn to move efficiently. In many cases, physical therapy is needed due to an injury where something was used incorrectly. Your physical therapist can teach you ways of moving your body, as well as the concepts behind why each method is right so that you know how to move without getting hurt. Much of this learning happens subconsciously as well since your mind internalizes the movements and becomes more efficient at them the more you practice.
Gymnasts face a high chance of being injured, but physical therapy can be an effective tool for preventing and recovering from injuries. Working with a licensed and certified physical therapist can lead to significant health improvements. It can also lead to better gymnastic performance through training and development.
Ready to Get Started?
If you are ready to start your physical therapy journey with a team you can trust, contact Raritan Physical Therapy at (732) 662-4400 to schedule your appointment.