Do you dread completing your exercises at physiotherapy appointments?
Do you find that your physiotherapy exercises are painful, uncomfortable, or increase swelling? This is because exercises make the muscles work, helping them to get stronger and build endurance. Unfortunately increased discomfort and swelling comes with this but does not necessarily mean that it is making your injury worse. Research states that you will see improvements with passive physiotherapy, however, there are greater improvements with active treatments.1 Passive physiotherapy includes heat, ice, machines (such as ultrasound), and traction. Exercises are needed to improve muscular strength, muscular endurance, and joint range of motion.1 The increased strength, endurance, and range of motion decrease the pain experienced with exercise and daily tasks. As a result, activities of daily living, work tasks, and recreational activities become easier and more enjoyable. The most beneficial component of your recovery is the strengthening exercises your physiotherapist has you complete.1-4
Do you have physiotherapy goals?
Physiotherapy goals help guide you and your physiotherapist through the treatment process. Physiotherapists focus on adding in exercises that simulate work-based activities and activities of daily living. For example, squats simulate picking up items off of the ground, getting up from a chair, and picking up a small child. Every exercise selected is designed to strengthen the specific muscle(s), replicate movement patterns, or loosen tight muscles to increase joint mobility. Having specific goals allows you and your physiotherapist to see your progress and determine if exercises can be progressed further.
What happens if exercises are not helping?
Sometimes exercises are not the answer, however, this can only be determined if you try the exercises and do not see the desired results. If exercises in physiotherapy are not working, then other avenues need to be explored. Sometimes it is a matter of selecting different exercises, getting a diagnostic test (e.g. x-ray or MRI), or seeing a specialist (e.g. surgeon). In most cases further exploration will not happen unless conservative treatment has been attempted. Therefore, it is in your best interest to complete exercises to the best of your ability at all times so that, if further avenues need to be explored, they understand that you have been trying everything available to you.
Is your physiotherapist prescribing exercises?
Have you been going to physiotherapy for a few weeks without exercise? Perhaps it is time to question if this is the right treatment for you. I discussed above how exercise is an important part of the recovery process. It is important for you to be doing exercises at all stages of physiotherapy. This doesn’t mean that if you had a shoulder surgery you will be lifting weights right away. You might start with stretching exercises, or passive movements of the arm (the arm is moved by your good arm or your physiotherapist). Gradually these exercises should be progressed back to what you could do before the injury, which includes lifting weights or completing movements against resistance.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact reception and ask about physiotherapy in Grande Prairie.
Post written by
Lorelle Warr, Kinesiologist
- Cho M., Jeong H., Hwang B. Effects of active and passive intervention programs applied to patients’ necks on their muscular strength, muscular endurance, and joint range of motion. J Phys Ther Sci 2012; 24(3): p.283-286.
- Andersen CH., Andersen LL., Zebis AM., Sjogaard G. Effect of scapular function training on chronic pain in the neck/shoulder region: A randomized controlled trial. J Occ Rehabil; 2014, 24(2): 316-324.
- Ylinen J., Takala EP., Nykanen M., Hakkinen A., et al. Active nect muscle training in the treatment of chronic neck pain in women: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA; 2003, 289(19): 2509-2516.
- Telci EA., Karaduman A. Effects of three different conservative treatments on pain, disability, quality of life, and mood in patients with cervical spondylosis. Rheumatol Int; 2012, 32(4): p.1033-1040.