Category Archives for "Uncategorized"

The difference between Athletic Therapy & Physiotherapy

At Prairie Therapy Physiotherapy and Athletic Therapy are similar.  Both will assess and educate you about your injury and healing process.  Our therapists treat hands-on as well as give you some exercises to do at home. So what are the differences and what is the best type of appointment for you?

Athletic Therapy:

Athletic Therapy is effective in treating musculoskeletal injuries. In the same way as Physiotherapy, the therapists assess and educate you about your injuries. Much like Physiotherapy, Athletic Therapy will use manual therapy, exercise, and sometimes bracing and taping. The goal is to prepare you for safe recovery into an active lifestyle. 

Three key areas for recovery:

  1. Injury prevention (warm-up, conditioning program, taping, etc)
  2. Immediate Care (injury assessment, )
  3. Rehabilitation (using a variety of procedures to promote an environment conducive to healing)


Physiotherapy can restore and maintain strength, function, motion and overall well-being by addressing underlying physical issues. Like Athletic Therapy, Physiotherapists do this with a combination of manual techniques, exercises, and therapeutic modalities.  Your treatment will be tailored to regain lost function, as well as improve and optimize existing function​.

Physiotherapists use a variety of techniques such as:

Manual manipulation techniques, needling, functional testing,  fabrication and application of assistive, adaptive, supportive and protective devices and equipment.

What are the differences between Physio and Athletic Therapy?

How it’s different from Physio

At Prairie Therapy we believe in Rehabilitative Collaboration. While there are some differences between Athletic therapy and Physio, at our clinic they are similar. Some differences are:

  • Athletic Therapist’s focus primarily in the area of assessment and rehabilitation of orthopedic conditions–the muscles, bones, and joints
  • Physiotherapists training is much broader and encompassing; trained to assess and rehabilitate burn patients, stroke patients, etc.


To summarize, at Prairie Therapy, both physiotherapists and athletic therapists use therapeutic modalities,  rehabilitative techniques, physical reconditioning to promote healing. We want you to feel better and believe in working as a team.  If you start with one therapist and they think that you would be better served by another therapist, they will be happy to refer you to them.

Insurance plans can vary and this can be a determining factor in choosing which service to book. Do you know if your insurance plan covers Athletic therapy, Physiotherapy or both? Make sure to review your insurance coverage, insurance plans vary in their coverage of Physiotherapy and Athletic therapy. Also, Physician referrals are not required to receive an assessment by a physiotherapist or athletic therapist.

At Prairie Therapy our goal is to help you return to your regular activities at 100%

Learn more about Athletic Therapy and Physiotherapy here: http://prairietherapy.ca/athletic-therapy-calgary/


Physiotherapy Rehabilitation and neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity is the ability for the brain to make changes.  It is what allows us to grow and to learn: intellectually, physically, and emotionally. 
In physiotherapy rehabilitation, the goal is to help you recover as much function as possible.

What is neuroplasticity?

With respect to injury and disease, neuroplasticity is often used with stroke and dementia.  From a Physiotherapy perspective, there are two ways to heal from stroke and to slow the progress of the effects of dementia.  They are through remediation and compensation.  In remediation, parts of the brain can heal.  In compensation parts of the brain that previously did not do a task can be trained to take on a new task that they previously didn’t do.  This is accomplished by building new synapses: connections in the brain, somewhat like new railway lines.  It is important to provide rehabilitation opportunities that target both remediation and compensation during Physiotherapy appointments.

Treatment techniques require practice and repetition.  From a movement perspective, it is important to consider open kinetic chain activities as well as closed kinetic chain activities as they stimulate joints and their neural receptors differently.  Another treatment technique is to ask a person to perform a task that is currently too hard for them but that is a related, higher level task to what they want to achieve.

How Does It Work?

In sport, we tend to use the term neuromuscular training.  It is not possible to train just the nervous system or just the muscular system in isolation.  When physiotherapists say that they focus on neuromuscular training they usually mean that they are considering the most functional and optimal movement patterns that the body needs to use to accomplish a task.  The more patterns that a person can develop, the more choice they have.  In sport, this often translates to the subconscious, natural movement selection.  When you see a highly skilled athlete perform an amazing catch, or leap, or defensive dodge, it is because stored somewhere in their brain, they have practiced some type of task related to it.

Physiotherapy Rehabilitation Exercises

Let us take the hamstrings.  People will ask, can I do a prone leg curl to strengthen my hamstrings (laying on your tummy and pulling your knees toward your bum against resistance)?  The answer is, you can.  And it will strengthen your hamstrings.  However, I would encourage you to consider if your hamstrings ever act that way in function.  In function (weight bearing positions & natural movement positions), the hamstrings control hip flexion and knee extension.  If you wanted to practice a movement that will both strengthen your hamstring, but also teach your brain how to use that strength in natural movement patterns consider using a squat or a lunge.  These specific exercises look more like what the hamstring does in a functional task like getting on and off the toilet, or like walking and running.

Another example is crawling.  Did you know that crawling is the fundamental building block of throwing?  That’s right, one needs to be able to reciprocal crawl (monkey crawl) in order to develop the cross pattern for throwing a ball.

3-D Movement Patterns

We typically think of jumping jacks in the frontal plane (side to side), but consider doing them in the sagittal and in the transverse planes.  Furthermore, consider dissociating the upper extremity from the lower extremity and mixing and matching the planes that they are moving in.  When you think of it this way, you have just created an exponential number of combinations and permutations as compared to just the typical jumping jack.  The creation of these diverse movement patterns will add to your brain’s “library” of movement patterns when it comes to activity selection.  To bring this back to pathology and disease, or even to ageing, these patterns can also be applied to something like a slip and fall.  For those of us who live in Alberta, we know how icy roads and parking lots can sometimes call for a unique pattern of reaction to stabilize us from a fall.

To learn more about remediation, compensation, crawling, squatting, lunging, and jumping please join Zenia at Prairie Therapy for an assessment and treatment plan. http://prairietherapy.ca/physiotherapy-calgary-sw/