Sometimes there can be confusion in the world of rehabilitation when it comes to who does what with whom and the lines between various professionals including physiotherapists, kinesiologists, personal trainers and athletic therapists can be blurred. While there can often be overlap between professionals, today’s blog post, we are going to answer four common questions when working with a Kinesiologist.
What is Kinesiology?
Kinesiology is the scientific study of human movement which focuses on using active techniques (i.e., movement and exercise) based on anatomy, exercise physiology, and biomechanics to help promote and optimize health and well-being (Weir & Vincent, 2020).
Kinesiologists help prevent, manage, and rehabilitate a variety of acute and chronic injuries, illnesses, and conditions using a full body approach focused on improving movement and function. Kinesiologists are trained to treat clients of any age and all physical abilities.
How can a Kinesiologist help?
There are a variety of different reasons and conditions that a kinesiologist can support in achieving your goals. The scope ranges from personal training services to specialized condition or injury rehab. At Bump, our Kinesiologists typically work with clients in the following areas:
- Postpartum Recovery
- C-section rehab
- Diastasis Recti
- Pelvic Floor Muscle Training
- Acute and Chronic Injury Rehabilitation
- Chronic Disease Prevention and Management
- Post Motor Vehicle Collision (ICBC)
- General Strengthening/Stability/Mobility
- Sport Specific Athletic Training
- Personal Training
Kinesiologists have a wide range of skills, experience and expertise so if you are seeking help with something specific, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask. We will do our best to help you achieve your personal rehabilitation goals.
What can I expect during my kinesiology session?
Your very first session with a kinesiologist will be your initial assessment with them. It’s typically the longest visit as your kinesiologist needs the time to get to know you and gives them the opportunity to better understand everything that is going on with your body! The initial assessment often times consists of your subjective assessment (the talking portion), your objective assessment (the movement portion) client centered education, exercises and movements to practice at home.
The first thing your kinesiologist will want to do is go through your personal, medical and injury history. We want to know your WHY; how is this condition/injury etc… impacting you and your life? What is it stopping you from doing? Why does it matter to you? Often times shoulder pain isn’t enough of a reason to get help, but if that shoulder pain is limiting you from playing with or picking up your children, or getting your work done, that often is more impactful. Once we’ve done all the talking, you and your kinesiologist will work together to set some collaborative goals to identify what you would like to achieve during your sessions.
Next, your kinesiologist will take you through a physical movement screen where they will look at a variety of different things including:
- Gait Analysis
- Functional Movements
- Muscle Strength and Range of Motion
- Abdominal Function
Some kinesiologists also have training in fascial release, taping and other hands on techniques. Based on your objective assessment, your kinesiologist will provide you with information and education to give insight into your symptoms and potential underlying causes. They will help you understand what needs to be addressed so you can see improvements in symptoms. This education is intended to help you better understand what you are experiencing, how your current function and movements patterns are helping or hindering you, and what you can do to start feeling better!
Following the assessment, your kinesiologist will discuss your individualized treatment plan. This will usually include a discussion of:
- Recommended exercises to help you move and feel better.
- The frequency of sessions to help you achieve your individualized goals.
- How many sessions we anticipate you might need and the length of time to get you moving and feeling better.
- What you can do at home to help! This might include stretches, cardiovascular training, strength training, manual releases with a ball or band etc…
Your follow up sessions are focused on helping you complete the exercises and/or movements you collaboratively chose alongside your kinesiologist as part of your active rehabilitation program. Your kinesiologist will work 1-1 alongside you to ensure your mechanics are good throughout your session, your breath is coordinated through movement, they will help you identify specific muscles to activate or lengthen and provide individualized tips, tricks and modifications throughout your session. This will ensure you are doing movements in a way that will benefit your recovery. They will be able to identify when to progress (or regress) certain movements depending on how your body is feeling.
Kinesiology vs. Physiotherapy: What’s the difference?
One of the biggest questions we get asked as rehab professionals, is what’s the difference between kinesiologists and physiotherapists?
Physiotherapists and kinesiologists share a love of exercise and movement. Both professions use active based movement techniques to treat and will often work together with the shared goal of improving function and quality of life (Fransen, 2004). The biggest difference between the two is that a physio can provide a diagnosis for your injury/disease – whereas a kinesiologist identifies dysfunction and imbalances within your body, after your injury/disease has been diagnosed. A physio will usually refer you to a kinesiologist after your initial symptoms have improved.
Physios assess, diagnose, and treat clients with more passive/manual techniques such as massage, mobilization, and manipulation (Fransen, 2004), whereas a kinesiologist will focus on the active rehabilitation component of the rehab. This means that as a client, you will be moving your body under the guidance of a kinesiologist during your sessions. They say movement is medicine and kinesiologists continue to be a vital part of the rehab process.
Curious to learn more about kinesiology? Here’s a few resources to help.
Ally Ferronto, Bkin
Bump Physio & Co is a community of health care providers dedicated to changing the way pelvic health and obstetrical services are delivered. Our two clinics locations are Port Moody and Langley BC, where we treat beyond the Bump and welcome clients from all stages and phases of life. Our team has advanced training in Pelvic Health, Orthopedics, Obstetrics, Clinical Pilates, and Active Rehabilitation.
Please follow us along on our socials @bumpphysio.co keep updated on all that is going on and for more information about how the Bump Community can help YOU!
1. Fransen, M. (2004). When is physiotherapy appropriate?. Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology, 18(4), 477-489.
2. Weir, J. P., & Vincent, W. J. (2020). Statistics in kinesiology. Human Kinetics Publishers.