If you have suffered a sports injury, you may be wondering where you can receive the best treatment. Here at Valley Sports Physicians & Orthopedic Medicine, we serve patients from throughout New England and even from across the country. If you are suffering from problems such as Achilles tendon injuries, bursitis, cartilage injuries, golfer’s elbow, knee injuries or any other sports-related issues, we can help you with our non-surgical treatment methods. Read on to understand more about sports medicine in general, our physicians and our doctors’ osteopathic approach to sports medicine.
Sports medicine is that branch of the healing arts profession that utilizes an integrated, comprehensive approach to the prevention, diagnosis, and management of sport- and exercise-related injuries, disorders, dysfunctions, and disease processes.
Yet sports medicine is more than just physical therapy, a knee brace, a cortisone injection, or arthroscopic surgery. While all of these may be important, sports medicine involves knowing not only the athlete but also the sport. What are the demands placed on the athlete’s body by a given sport? What specific skills are required to perform a sport? And how does the body respond to these demands and required skills? Knowing this is crucial to understanding not only how injuries occur but also to know what the best way to treat them is.
Athletes have medical needs also. Asthma, diabetes, and other medical conditions affect athletes as well as the non-athlete. Yet the athlete often needs special treatment because of the demands he or she places on the body. Physical therapists, chiropractors, and surgeons are not trained to manage these aspects of sports medicine.
What is a Sports Medicine Physician?
The field of sports medicine consists of health care providers who work in synchrony to provide a “team approach” to achieve better health for the patient. At the head of this team of professionals is the physician who diagnoses the condition and directs the treatment plan.
Any doctor can claim to do “sports medicine,” but only physicians specially trained in sports medicine are uniquely qualified truly to practice sports medicine.
The evolving standard for sports medicine training is the completion of a sports medicine fellowship. A fellowship is a specialized training program completed only after the physician has already done an internship and residency. For example, to become a cardiologist, you first complete a residency in internal medicine, and then you would do a fellowship in cardiology. The same is now true for sports medicine. While there may be many good sports medicine physicians who have not done fellowships, completion of a sports medicine fellowship assures you that the doctor has undertaken a comprehensive and advanced level of specialty training.
In addition, you would also want a physician who is an active member of one of the large national sports medicine organizations. These include:
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
- American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM)
- American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine (AOASM)
- American Orthopedic Society of Sports Medicine (AOSSM)
There are two types of sports medicine physicians: surgeons and non-surgeons. There are also two different types of sports medicine fellowships: surgical and non-surgical (also known as “primary care” fellowships). No surprise here– surgeons do surgical fellowships, and non-surgeons do primary care fellowships!
Surgical fellows learn the latest and greatest in surgical techniques. Primary care fellows learn everything else! Since over 90% of sports injuries don’t require surgery, more and more people—and an increasing number of college and professional teams—are turning to primary care sports medicine specialists. If your problem needs surgery you can always be referred to a surgeon. But if surgery is not indicated—or desired—you will generally be better served by a primary care sports medicine specialist.
Our Doctors At Valley Sports Physicians
At Valley Sports Physicians, all of our physicians are fellowship trained and board certified in primary care sports medicine. We have the training, skills, and experience to help you with your sports medicine problem.
Integrated Approach to Sports Medicine
Our philosophic approach is patient-oriented, not disease-oriented. This approach lends itself to the active population because athletic patients are generally healthy and more motivated to return to better health. We look at the entire scope of an athlete’s problem, including the mechanism of injury, environmental influences, inherent postural and muscle imbalances, the psychological effects of injury and rehabilitation, and finally their safe return to play.
When indicated and appropriate, we also integrate physical therapy, nutrition, changes in rehab and training regimens, naturopathic treatment, and manual treatments such as Osteopathic manipulation or chiropractic.