Below we discuss the similarities and differences between Physiotherapy and Sport Rehabilitation.


They are both MSK practitioners. What is meant by this is that they are both taught to treat disorders regarding the musculoskeletal system (bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and nerves).

The Musculoskeletal system can become off balance, which may or may not be due to injury. This then affects the whole body and every-day tasks can become difficult. This is where a Physiotherapist or Sports Rehabilitator both aim to help you heal the problem.

What you can expect from seeing both type of practitioner at our practice;

  1. Initial Assessment and diagnosis.
  2. Health advice and Injury prevention.
  3. Injury/problem specific exercise prescription to help improve quality of life by pain relief, increasing mobility and flexibility and increasing strength.
  4. Education on injury prevention, pain relief and risks.
  5. A range of therapeutic ‘hands on’ treatments (described below).

Treatments often used to aid recovery

Physiotherapists and Sport Rehabilitators use most of the same techniques and treatments when it comes to recovery and injury prevention. They both help improve quality of life by increasing movement and restoring function, without any pain. They use non-invasive techniques as described below;

  1. Flexibility work and targeted exercises.
  2. Joint Mobilisations.
  3. Dry Needling and Acupuncture.
  4. Soft tissue Manipulations.
  5. Electrotherapy- Ultrasound/TENS
  6. Deep tissue/ sports massage.
  7. Tapings and strappings.

These techniques can be used in short and long term rehabilitation plans to help with pain. All can be used by Physiotherapists and Sport Rehabilitators.


Both practitioners are trained to help you recover to the point that you are able to resume your normal level of activity.

Sport Rehabilitators will help you if your main aim is to return to sport or to be more ‘conditioned’ for your sport. They can help with sports injury prevention and general conditioning.

Physiotherapists have a broader knowledge base and medical background, i.e. are taught to evaluate a pain, assessing if the pain and dysfunction is cause for alarm or not. They are trained to treat and assess for a variety of problems (neurological and respiratory).

The main Stereotypical difference is generally that Physiotherapists work within the NHS or in private practices, and Sports Rehabilitators often work alongside athletes and often within sports clubs.


If you are suffering from injury or pain, both types of MSK practitioners can help you.
However, if your aim is to get back to your Sport or improve your performance it would be better for you to see the Sports Rehabilitators.However, if you are concerned about your pain or dysfunction and are worried that there may be cause for concern – you would be better to see the Physiotherapist.