Exercising is an important part of many people’s live, as regular physical activity is crucial for maintaining a good health. However, there are people who are more invested in the fitness aspect of their lives than others. Many of them seek out the help from professionals in the subject and some of them reach a point in which they’re not very sure if they should turn to a personal trainer or physical therapist to achieve the results they want. (Related topic: rotator cuff physical therapy)
This is not a choice that all occasional joggers or pro athletes will face; chances are the latter works with a team that includes both, and the former won’t have this need either. Nevertheless, for fitness aficionados and people who have sustained some kind of injury, the dilemma might be more common than you think. If you have to do so or even if you want to learn how to choose, keep reading.
Perhaps, the reason you’re not seeing progress from your exercise routine is related to pain that you might be experiencing somewhere in your body that won’t let you do the exercises correctly. But, maybe, the reason you don’t see progress is because you’re not exercising in the way you’re supposed to. Now, how do you choose who you would ask for advice?
Whilst the role of a personal trainer and a physical therapist overlap here and there, a physical therapist’s scope of practice wildly differs from what a personal trainer does. Hence, making the choice doesn’t have to be very difficult.
If you’re facing mobility limitations of any kind caused by an injury or pain, you must see a physical therapist who can evaluate and diagnose whatever problem you might have before it turns into a more serious condition. Once you have a diagnosis, you can start a program to help you maximize movement by tailoring a personalized recovery program that includes exercises you’ll be able to execute independently later.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to be injured to see a physical therapist because they also provide preventative care. For example, if you suffer from low-back pain, they can help you avoid getting injured to prevent surgery. People who have had a baby also seek physical therapy to build strength before going back to their pre-pregnancy exercise program while others look for help with their posture or stiff neck from sitting at a desk or carrying weight.
If what you’re looking for, on the other hand, is assistance with your regular exercise routine or have been medically cleared to exercise, a personal trainer is your go-to solution. A personal trainer can take you through a series of exercises to test your flexibility and strength, and then create a program of exercises based on the areas that you need to improve. However, as a general rule, trainers don’t have the same education credentials as a physical therapist, and, therefore, they’re somewhat limited.