Sports Medicine Physician and Sports Medicine Definition

It is essential that you understand what a sports medicine physician is and what they are capable of. Many athletes get hurt and automatically seek the care of a family doctor. Knowing a sports medicine definition will help you to understand it better.

Seeing a family doctor for athletic injuries often leaves you frustrated with the lack of help in helping to get you back in the game. Family doctors avoid giving aggressive advice to help come back from injuries for a variety of reasons. Seeing a sports medicine physician is one of many different options for coming back form athletic injury. As you will see in the sports medicine definition below and the rest of your article, you have plenty of options to get healthy.

Sports Medicine Definition

Sports medicine is a specific branch of medicine that deals with athletic injuries, physical fitness, and the prevention of injuries related to sport and fitness. The field has only been recognized since the 20th century so it is still relatively new which is why it can be tough to nail an exact sports medicine definition.

Sports medicine doctors have completed medical school like other doctors but after they choose to specialize in the sports medicine branch. They specialize in the treatment of athletes and other physically fit individuals. Unlike normal doctors, they have extensive educations in musculoskeletal medicine. These doctors treat issues with muscles, ligaments, bones, and tendons but can also help with more chronic conditions that affect athletic performance like asthma and diabetes.

Why a Sports Medicine Physician Over a Family Doctor?

Doctors are often sued for telling people the wrong information. What this has done over time is make physicians very conservative with the information they give. When it comes to athletic injuries, most physicians don’t have as much training with athletic injuries as many would think. Doctors have to cover a lot of information in med school, and athletic injuries often fall to the waste side.

Doctors approach athletic injuries conservatively by recommending ice and rest or surgery most of the time. Ice and rest are safe because you stop the activity you are doing so the pain will not get worse. Most athletes want to avoid rest at all costs and it is often not using your body is not the best way to heal it. Surgery is a good move from a doctor because it passes the liability to another healthcare provider.

The Advantages of Seeing a Sports Medicine Physician

A sports medicine physician is going to have much more training with athletic injuries. Seeing a sports medicine physician is a great place to start when you have a muscular injury, but you are much more comfortable with traditional medicine. A sports medicine provider will give you the setting of a family doctor, but with the understanding, you need to know the best move to take next.

Other Options for Healthcare Providers If You Don’t Like The Sports Medicine Definition Above

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is a great choice when dealing with high-stress levels, or muscular injuries. A massage therapist will not be able to diagnose an injury so they may not be the best first option after an injury but they are a great option to have available as you recover. Massage therapists are inside of sports medicine but are not sports medicine physicians. 


Chiropractic is often known as being doctors for the back. Though they do an extensive study of the spine, chiropractors can do a lot more, but it depends on their skill set. Some are good with athletic injuries because they are certified in skills like Active Release Technique and Graston Technique.

Physical Therapy

Most people are familiar with a physical therapist because they are much more integrated into the traditional healthcare system. As an athlete, you may see a physical therapist after having an injury or surgery. Physical therapists will be able to use modalities, do manual therapy and also give you rehab exercises to help get you healthy again.


Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is important to know that it is a TCM because its principles are not from the Western world. Acupuncturists use meridian points around the body to help release energy blocks. They do this by sticking needles into these points. Acupuncture can be great for injuries that hands cannot get to well. It is one of the harder treatments for western world athletes to understand though.

Registered Dietician

A registered dietician will help you improve what you put in your mouth on a daily basis. A lot of foods we eat often create inflammation which does not help our natural recovery process. Seeing a registered dietician can have a lot of benefits, but most don’t even think of them. Dietitians are not inside sports medicine or sports medicine physicians.

Should You See a Sports Physician First?

It all depends on what you are the most comfortable. When you read the sports medicine definition above, does that excite you? A sports physician has the all the abilities that a family doctor. If that is the most comfortable starting place, then start there. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with skipping over the sports medicine physician.

Some people don’t like physical therapists, some that don’t believe in chiropractors. It is about finding what is most comfortable for you. The problem is that most people don’t even know what other options are also available. The family doctor and the sports medicine physician are just one of many possibilities. 9INE POINT Health is a great place to begin your search for the right healthcare provider.

KHO Health was acquired by was acquire by 9INE POINT in the summer of 2019 and is now referred to as 9INE POINT Health.

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