As a physiotherapist I see my job as getting people who are injured back to fitness, getting those who are in pain, back to normality, or as close as possible. The main way in which we do this is through physical interventions. Or, in more common place language – exercise.
It is no secret that when we as humans learn to do something, practice makes perfect. If you tried to learn the 6 times table by doing it once, you probably wouldn’t remember it. Equally, if you try to throw a javelin once, you probably wouldn’t be as good at it as you would be if you went out and practiced.
You might be lucky and have perfect form, and with a bit of practice you might be throwing it further than Jessica Ennis. More likely, your muscles will be put under new and exciting strains, you’ll end up with muscles that hurt and you won’t be able to lift your arm for a week.
What we do here at Global Therapies is look at movements that are causing pain and work out ways in which you can move without pain: Movement Modification. It is rare that we tell people to not do sports or a particular activity, but there has to be a degree of change in what they are doing…. if they keep doing what they’ve done until now, the likelihood is, they’ll keep being in pain.
We try not to overwhelm people with a myriad of exercises, simply because a lot of new things will take time to learn and do. If it takes up too much of their time, the exercises simply won’t get done, and if they don’t get done, then the issue does not change. It’s a little bit like my piano practice when I was a kid. You can do it once in a week and fool yourself that you’re doing LOADS, but when it comes to the lesson next week, there is no improvement.
To remedy this we now use exercise diaries, just simple sheet of paper which shows the person doing the exercise just how much they are doing (in comparison to how much they think they’re doing). Every time you do the exercises, write it down, write down how you feel, and the amount of pain you’re in. That way you have a diary of just how much you’re doing, and also how it is affecting you. Simple, easy, and much more reliable than memory.
If you are living in discomfort or pain it is likely that physiotherapy will help. But, you need to be prepared to do the hard work. We have seen with clients who have dedicated time and effort into doing their exercises – and they see improvements and return to normality.