Recovering From Injury
An injury can be life changing and often requires rehab to fully recover- here’s what you should consider.
Identify the root cause
Just because an area is painful does not mean that this is necessarily the problem area; especially when it comes to knees and elbows. These joints are sandwiched between the ankle and wrist, and the hip and shoulder, and are often put under greater strain when one of the above joint’s muscles are compromised. This can result in overuse or imbalances which over time lead to injury.
Have you suffered with niggly knees or tennis elbow for example?
Have you had treatment directly to the area with some short-term relief?
Have previous injuries been considered in your rehab process?
These could be the mechanisms which lead to your current issue, and unless dealt with, your body will continue to compensate, and you may continue to only experience short term relief.
Using generic rehab for the specific area may not ever produce lasting results. For example, when treating lower back pain or a ‘slipped disc,’ only treating the area may provide short term relief, but may not lead to the long term results you would prefer. This is why identifying the cause of the injury is so important. Two people can share the exactly the same symptoms, but the cause of the issue will be what defines the best course of treatment. If the same rehab protocol was used on both patients, who had differing causes, this would likely not lead to the long-lasting results needed.
The best course of treatment will always be the rehab protocol that is tailored to the individual’s specific needs, history and injuries, taking into account the root cause. It is therefore so important to identify the mechanisms which have led to the injury in the first place.
Pain free does not mean fully functional
I often see people who find themselves pain free and so they stop their rehab exercises and return to their chosen activity. Whilst being pain free can lead you to believe everything is back to normal and fully functional, this is often not the case.
In cases where the individual has rested and waited for the pain to dissipate; it is likely that the inflammation has settled and the overworked muscle has had a respite. This doesn’t mean that the underworking muscles have suddenly become active though. Once activity is resumed, the old pattern is continued and over time the injured muscles will begin to take strain again. This can cause the inflammation to reoccur; taking you back to reduced function and pain. Untreated injuries can regress quickly or take some time depending on the severity of the injury, and other factors. The only way to encourage full function post-injury is through rehab, but what rehab works best?
Rehab should replicate activities
This is so important to consider when deciding your rehab journey. Doing a generic programme for a specific injury is not necessarily going to get you the results you want. A rehab programme should be tailored to the individual’s injury, history, and the activity they wish to return to. Rehab should replicate what your body needs to be able to do during activity; increasing the chances of being able to move correctly and having full function for your lifestyle.
Take, for example, two people may have the same symptoms but one wants to get back to playing golf while the other wants to return to horse riding. Whilst there are similar stresses to the body from the two different sports, there are also very different ones. If the rehab programme for both individuals was the same, they would likely not be able to regain the full function needed for their lifestyles and activities.
By mimicking relevant movements in a safe and controlled environment, any flare ups or issues can be dealt with which will ensure a smoother transition back to activity, and less chance of injury recurring.
- As featured in Mantra Magazine (RH Uncovered)