When will I get better? How long will this take? Why does it hurt so much, and it’s not better yet?
We hear these questions all the time in physical therapy. After surgery or an injury, your body is trying to heal itself through regular and predictable stages. Unfortunately, we cannot rush through the stages by just trying harder. You certainly can slow down the recovery by doing too much or too little during each stage.
For example, during the early phase of an injury or after surgery, your body goes through an inflammatory phase which is a natural reaction to the injury. By simply exercising “harder”, you can further aggravate this inflammatory process. By doing nothing and just lying around for weeks on end, your body will also stiffen up, ultimately causing loss of range of motion to be able to perform your activities.
There is a balance between how hard and how easy to exercise during your recovery time. We are typically trying to gradually make gains with range of motion and then strength as you work through your rehabilitation. You will have ups and downs, plateaus, and feelings of frustration when things don’t progress smoothly or at a regular rate. Remember, this is not unusual. We do expect our patients to make regular progress on a weekly or biweekly basis. Patience is the key!
Also, ask yourself if you are doing everything as instructed by your therapist. If you are negligent in performing your home exercise program, you cannot expect to see the same results as if you were faithful in performing the exercises. Probably the biggest obstacle in a person’s recovery is their lack of adherence to their home program.
So be faithful about doing your exercises, doing them properly and regularly!
Fall is here! And so is the rain and the colder temperatures!
It is easy to curl up inside and be inactive during the colder months (which is a lot of the year here in Michigan), but you will feel much better – healthier, stronger, and happier – if you stay active this fall.
Here are five good exercises with which to start. You can do all of these from the comfort of your home! Warm up your muscles first with 30 seconds of jumping jacks or 2 sets of stairs, and if you experience pain with any particular exercise, do not continue with that exercise.
1.) 2 sets of 10 Sit-to-stands in a chair (or couch if you want to make it more challenging)
2.) 2 sets of 10 Push-ups – if you can’t perform 15 full push-ups, try them from your knees or against a stationary countertop/table. The lower the surface, the more challenging!
3.) 2 sets of 10 Glute-bridges – to make it harder, do 10 single leg bridges on both sides
4.) 10 Bird-dogs on each side (lifting opposite arm and leg
5.) 30 second High-plank hold (from your hands)
Cool down with one minute of deep breathing lying down.
Try to do a workout like this one 2-3x per week to build strength and stability. When adding in new exercises, aim for exercises that work large muscle groups, and if you have any questions about exercises you're trying, or experience any pain, feel free to call us to schedule a free consultation: 616-662-0990.
Steve Bartz, PT