Physiotherapists vs Sports Medicine Specialist Doctor downtown Toronto
Ace Physiotherapy does not offer Sports Medicine Specialists as part of our Sports Injury Clinic services, however, there are certain situations where having a Sports Medicine Specialist or Orthopaedic Specialist is advantageous for our patients. This blog is dedicated to differentiating Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine so that our patients better understand how these two fields work in synergy with one another.
What is the difference between Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine?
It isn’t unusual for many people to use the terms sports medicine and physiotherapy interchangeably, however, the two aren’t the same though you may find yourself requiring both services at the same time.
Sports Medicine Specialists will spend most of their practice ordering diagnostic tests such as x-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs to assist in diagnosing the injuries or disorders, and then referring patients to subspecialists such as Physiotherapists for treatment or to an Orthopaedic Surgeon if necessary. Sports Medicine Specialists may also prescribe medicines and perform medical procedures such as corticosteroid injections or PRP injections.
Physiotherapists focus on non-invasive, and non-pharmaceutical treatment techniques. Arguably, Physiotherapy is a more hands-on approach to treatment. Physiotherapists will often spend more time with the patient. A Physiotherapist will first assess the patient’s physical abilities and limitations. The Physio will provide education and advice; instruct patients on how to perform exercises to strengthen, stretch, and stabilize the muscles or joint; and also provide direct treatment such as manual therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, laser therapy, shockwave therapy, spinal decompression, electrotherapy and more.
Who qualifies as a Sports Medicine Specialist?
In order to refer to oneself as a Sports Medicine Specialist in Toronto, you must first be a Medical Physician registered with the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons. In addition to basic Medical training, you must also complete a 1-2 year Sports Medicine follow-up and pass a certification exam by the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine (CASM). Physicians who have completed this training will display a “Dip Sp Med” abbreviation beside their name.
Do I need a referral to see a Sports Medicine Specialist?
No, you do not need a referral for most Sports Medicine Specialists and can call and make your own appointment, however, we usually encourage patients to involve their family Doctor. In the case of an Orthopaedic Surgeon, referral will be required.