This article is from the Aerobics Fitness FAQ, by firstname.lastname@example.org (Robles) with numerous contributions by others.
Exercise professionals are *strongly* encouraged to refrain
from the process of diagnosis and/or prescription of treatment
or rehabilitative exercise. Our scope of practice is limited
to encouraging rest, RICE, and a visit to the doctor.
Statements such as "that sounds like chondromalacia - why don't
you try and strengthen the medial quad to help out" or "you've got
low back syndrome" involve a judgment by the exercise professional
that can be construed in a court of law as a diagnosis and/or
prescription of rehabilitative exercise.
If such advice causes the individual to sue at a later date,
the charges can be much more serious than mere negligence - the
exercise professional can find themselves in the position of
being charged with practicing medicine without a license.
Exercise professionals are best advised to speak in general
terms without reference to an individual's condition, to focus
on general preventive behavior, and to refer individuals
to a physician when a diagnosis needs to be made or an
injury does not respond to first aid/symptomatic relief (such as
An appropriate example: "well, there are a number of causes
for the shin pain you're experiencing. You can apply RICE
to relieve the symptoms, but if it doesn't feel better within
a day or two you should consult with your physician." Here we
sidestep the issue of diagnosis, stress symptomatic relief, and
incorporate a physician referral in one sentence.
Or: "Now we're going to do some exercises for the back. It is
believed that strengthening the low back can help prevent low back
pain." In this case, only a general discussion on preventive
(not rehabilitative) exercise is provided.