Oftentimes, these cases are complicated even further due to the time lapse between the initial injury and the point of first contact with a medical professional. As time passes, secondary conditions often develop, and the time for recovery will increase proportionately.
In contrast, individuals who see Athletic Therapists during the most acute phase of injury - and we're talking as early as within 24 hours of the incident - will benefit the most quickly and efficiently from treatment. Here's why.
1) Optimizing Inflammation
Contrary to popular belief, inflammation does not need to be completely eliminated. Being the active mechanism for initiating healing, an inflammation response should be allowed to occur during an injury, to an extent. What does need to be prevented is excessive swelling around the injury site, but outside of controlling that, there are always mild-level techniques and movements that can be done to maximize the bloodflow and metabolic activity that accompanies inflammation itself.
2) Maintaining Range of Motion
As many people try to "rest away" an injury and wait for it to "settle down" before initiating treatment, the joint is often kept immobilized in order to protect it from further injury and pain. We need to remember the body's strict use-it-or-lose-it policy, however.
By immobilizing an injured joint, the joint becomes conditioned to that state of low-movement. As a result, it creates an extra step in the rehab process where range needs to be reattained. By seeing a therapist in the acute phase, however, we can eliminate this step by making sure the range is maintained in as tolerable a volume as possible.
3) Activity-Specific Treatment from Day One
Every individual has their own unique life demands. As such, why would we treat every injury - even if it's a similar or identical type of injury - the same?
Athletic Therapists gain a lot of experience working on-site with competitive athletes in order to fast-track them back to play as quickly as it is humanely possible by making the rehab as applicable and practical to their exact sport from the first day of treatment. This concept jumps immediately from sport to any other type of activity, occupation, and lifestyle. If a 30 year old construction worker and a middle-aged client who enjoys gardening have the same shoulder injury, the rehab processes still aren't going to look alike.