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How to get the most out of physiotherapy

How to get the most out of physiotherapy

After a tough day at work in the Northern Beaches, all we often want to do is go home and put our feet up in front of the tv. Please can I just have half an hour to re-coup. However, as we know all too well that half an hour runs in to dinner time and before you know it another day is almost over. As you get in to bed and lean awkwardly to plug your phone in to charge, you feel that little twing in your neck and that’s when you remember the exercises your physio had set you the evening before. Oh well, I guess I’ll start that tomorrow.

That’s the thought a lot of us have (and on often more than one occasion) during ongoing physiotherapy. Before you know it two weeks have passed, and the exercises have been completed all of two and a half times. But does this really matter? Surely just going in for a 40 minute session every week will do the trick. Every physio will tell you otherwise, and for good reason too.

Physiotherapists are expertly trained in how the musculoskeletal structure affects body movement and function, and how to optimise the recovery process. As part of their treatment plans, physiotherapists routinely prescribe exercise in the form of a home exercise programme (HEP). HEPs are typically long term, and their success often requires patients to adhere to them for several weeks, even months[1]. Although it is widely recognized that adhering to a HEP facilitates effective treatment, the rate of non-adherence to physiotherapy HEPs is overwhelmingly high, and it is not uncommon for it to be more than 65%[2].

Completing these exercises can often mean the difference between an average recovery and one that actually improves not only the performance of the targeted area, but also your overall physical and mental wellbeing. Physiotherapy exercises have been scientifically proven to be one of the most effective ways that you can solve or prevent pain and injury. As physiotherapists, we are highly skilled in the prescription of the “best exercises” for you and the most appropriate “exercise dose” for you depending on your rehabilitation status[3]. However, by not effecting the assigned home exercises there is the potential to prolong the recovery process; something nobody wants!

A useful trick to help as a reminder of when to do some of your exercises is to pair them with common daily activities, such as getting up to go to the bathroom, or grabbing your morning coffee. Having your exercises written down will also help with jogging your memory, and we will always be happy to jot them all down for you. Just make sure to place the notes somewhere you can see them every day, such as on the fridge door or on the bathroom mirror.

Life is busy in Dee Why, and as physiotherapists we get it. There isn’t always time to complete 30 minutes of exercises when you’re having to fit in the school run, cooking dinner, attending that meeting and cleaning the house. That’s why we always offer a tailored approach and will suggest either spreading out or compacting the time in which you should complete the exercises. As a Northern Beaches physio, we understand the need to stay active and on your feet in this beautiful part of the world. The elite training of our physiotherapists here at Fixio allows us to do just that, however there is one thing that we can’t do for you… Remember your exercises!

 

[1] Abramsky, H., Kaur, P., Robitaille, M., Taggio, L., Kosemetzky, P. K., Foster, H., . . . Jachyra, P. (2018). Patients’ Perspectives on and Experiences of Home Exercise Programmes Delivered with a Mobile Application. Physiotherapy Canada, 70(2), 171-178. doi:10.3138/ptc.2016-87

 

[2] Sluijs, E. M., Kok, G. J., & van der Zee, J. (1993, November). Correlates of Exercise Compliance in Physical Therapy. Physical Therapy, 73(11), 771/782.

[3] Common Physiotherapy Treatment Techniques. (n.d.). Retrieved from Physio Works: https://physioworks.com.au/faq/common-physiotherapy-treatment-techniques/

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