Injuries are bound to happen if you regularly do any kind of physical activity. Whether it’s lifting weights, playing basketball, running, swimming, even yoga, injuries are common. We overuse a joint, we land awkwardly, we slip, fall, and break something, if you spend a lot of time pushing your body to its limits, and you are bound to get into Injury.
With proper rehabilitation, you can fix most issues you get. However, the key word here is “proper”. Too many people spend a lot of money on appointments, private rehab sessions, things of that nature, without actually seeing any results. And while there may be certain unprofessional physical therapists who are not very good at their jobs, most often, it’s the cfclients who are unfortunately at fault. They don’t follow instructions, or simply make errors that slow down, or even prevent, the healing process. Below are the common mistakes people make when rehabbing an injury.
Thinking there is a Quick and Easy Fix
You need to accept one thing when it comes to therapy – you will not fix it overnight. Many chronic issues, like kyphosis or lordosis, have been developing for years. So what makes you think that you will be able to fix it in a week? We understand how tempting it is to go with the quick fix, the latest fad, this crazy new method. However, unless you have evidence that can convince you of just how amazing this new fast treatment is, it is best if you stick to what your regular physio tells you.
Now, this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to feel instantaneous relief for some issues. A good full body massage, while painful at first, will definitely improve your entire day once it’s over. Stretching a tight muscle you didn’t even know you had is one of the best feelings in the world. Just be wary of miracle cures.
Pushing through the Pain
Pushing through the pain does not make you tougher, more dedicated, or more disciplined. What it does make you is a ticking time bomb of pain, and a private practitioner’s long-term primary source of income. Pushing your body to its limits, feeling the burn in your muscles, and the fire in your lungs, this is what dedication is. But doing the same movement that causes intense pain, that makes your shoulder crack, your hand to go numb for a second, and your neck to freeze after every workout just makes you seem stubborn. Learn how to recognize this type of pain, and try to work around it. One type of pain helps you build muscle and improves your endurance. It can increase your flexibility and strengthen your body. The other type of pain makes whatever issue you have worse.
Not Sticking to your PT Routine
The most obvious and glaring mistake – not sticking to your rehab routine. You may have invested money into the best professional physical therapy, and spent hours working diligently for weeks. However, once people have to do this work at home, and not under the supervision of a PT, they simply stop. If your doctor gave you a routine that consists of exercises that need to be done in a certain way, for a certain duration, on certain days, then you need to stick to it. Skipping your daily or weekly exercises that are needed to get your injury better will obviously not help you recover sooner. Sure, some issues need time and rest. Other problems, however, require hard work, dedication, and regular disciplined stretching and working on your issues.
Not Being Patient with your PT Routine
We already mentioned how quick fixes do not exist. However, there is another notion you need to consider, and that is not going overboard with your PT routine. Contact any good physical therapy office, like the professionals at Mascot physiotherapy for example, and you will get the same advice – do what we tell you, no more, no less. Namely, if your doctor says you should do your exercises three times per week, then do them three times per week – no more, no less.
Doing them too much can just aggravate whatever issue you may have, and may even cause new ones. Remember, with physical therapy you are basically doing two things, either separately, or at the same time. You are resting, letting your body heal, and you are correcting imbalances in your body. The former means you need your rest, and you need your off days. The latter means if you do it too often you stand a chance of “overcorrecting” your issues and basically developing new ones.
Ignoring the Problem
Too many people simply ignore an issue. Instead of seeking out proper physical therapy, they try to pretend like the issue doesn’t exist. That nagging shoulder pain, the fact that you have to put ice on your left ankle after every run, back pain that forces you to sleep in only one position – all of these problems are ignored until they become too much to handle. Too many people are afraid of going to the doctor’s office or believe they will be seen as lazy and weak, and they just procrastinate until it’s too late. Just to give you an example, that nagging shoulder could have been fixed with proper rotator cuff work. Instead, it morphed into chronic bursitis.
Not Changing your Habits
Some people just don’t want to change their lifestyle and their habits. For example, an individual may have a weight problem that makes their injury worse. However, this individual simply doesn’t invest the effort into losing the weight, he or she doesn’t want to change their dietary habits. This then makes rehabilitation much more difficult. Or they may be a workaholic who doesn’t want to get enough rest, which is sorely needed for the healing process.
If you really want to get the most out of the rehab process, you need to get the rest of your ducks in a row. This means minimizing any bad habits you have, focusing on the positive, and in general approaching the healing process holistically. So, you want to eat properly, to drink enough water. Get some healthy fats in, you want vitamins and minerals, and lots of protein. Always aim for 8 hours of sleep per night, and minimize your alcohol intake and quit smoking. Too many people, once they get injured, cope by descending deeper into their detrimental habits. You want to avoid that, to stop yourself the moment it happens.
Not Exercising Anymore
Sadly, getting discouraged by an injury is common, and somewhat understandable. You can’t move or play the way you used to before, and so you don’t want to do anything at all. People fall into a rut and refuse to do any type of exercise, even if their PT allows them too. The problem here is that while rest is of course very useful, exercises that do not aggravate the injury help it heal. When we exercise, we are healthier, more energetic, and even feel the urge to clean up our diets and eat better.
Furthermore, a big part of recovery is getting your emotions under control, improving your mood, and focusing on the positive. This isn’t just hippy mumbo jumbo, it’s been scientifically proven that stress hinders any kind of recovery and healing. Exercise can mitigate this issue, and it can remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Not following up
So you’re at the end of the line. You have been working on your healing for a couple of months now, you did everything your physio told you to do. Sticking to your routine, eating healthy, sleeping enough, these are all the things you followed through on. In fact, now you feel stronger and better than ever, your injury or nagging issue seems completely healed, and then some. So, why even go to your physical therapist for a check-up?
This is where problems come up you see. Namely, you may feel amazing, and great, and better than ever, but your doctor might disagree. They need to check if you developed any imbalances, if the area healed properly, and they need to tell you whether you need to change things up from now on. Even do the pain is gone, you may need to approach your workout a bit differently. Maybe you will need a different type of warm-up, or a special stretching routine. If you don’t pay attention, you will have these issues happen again and again in the future.
One of the best habits you can develop is the habit of exercising regularly. However, anyone who does it regularly, whether we’re talking about a professional athlete or a regular gym goer or an avid jogger, should know that injuries are common. They can and do happen, and if you want them to heal as quickly as you can, you should try to listen to your PT, rest enough (but not too much), change your lifestyle a bit, and never push through the pain.