Exercise therapy is an effective method of decreasing pain and improving function for people suffering back pain and a range of other musculoskeletal problems. It encompasses a group of interventions ranging from general physical fitness or aerobic exercise, to muscle strengthening, various types of flexibility and stretching exercises. Exercise has been shown to have a range of mental and physical health benefits.
The prescription of exercises is an important part of Physiotherapy treatment. Whilst ‘hands-on’ treatment is very important, you will obtain longer lasting and more permanent correction of your problem if you perform recovery enhancing exercises. By giving you these exercises, the physiotherapist is also showing you how to treat yourself, so that you don’t become too dependent on therapists and passive treatment for relief of symptoms and management of a chronic health condition.
Some of the things your physiotherapist will try to address with an exercise program include:
- Increasing range of motion and flexibility
- Improving your posture
- Improving muscle strength and endurance
- Increasing muscle length
- Unloading painful joints and tissue
- Improving function
- General physical conditioning and weight loss
- Improving pain management and coping with chronic injury or illness
- Self-management of chronic health conditions including persistent pain
Exercise therapy can include a wide range of different exercise approaches and modalities as outlined below, but a program carefully tailored by your physiotherapist to meet individual needs and a carefully graded progression of exercise is often the key to exercising safely and successfully achieving identified goals.
Home exercise programs
One of the features of physiotherapy treatment is that you will generally be given an exercise program to perform in between visits. The purpose of a home exercise program is to help make the treatment you receive more beneficial and to enhance your recovery. A home exercise program will help prevent recurrence of your problem and it will reduce the need for multiple sessions of treatment. In a way, these exercises enable you to treat yourself.
To gain the best results from treatment, it is important that exercise is performed as directed. You may need to continue to perform exercises long after you have finished having treatment; this will help give you ongoing benefit and will help reduce the possibility of recurrence. If you have trouble keeping up your exercises or you would like better supervision and progression, supervised exercise can be very effective and assist in preventing flare ups and maintaining your condition, as well as improving your general fitness and endurance.
If you have trouble keeping up your exercises or you would like better supervision and progression, supervised exercise can be very effective in preventing flare ups and maintaining your condition as well as improving your general fitness and endurance. Structured and supervised exercise classes at Aim Physiotherapy and Work Health Solutions include Hydrotherapy / Aquatic exercise, Pilates exercise and Gym exercise.
Hydrotherapy / Aquatic exercise programs
In the case of severe injury, getting moving early can really help and hydrotherapy is an environment without the normal stresses of gravity, where easier movement is possible.
Hydrotherapy is often the environment where a client starts their rehabilitation, but they usually progress on to a land-based exercise program that is able to get more specific and focus on function.
Pilates exercise programs
A Pilates program can be developed that meets the specific needs of the client and gets them moving as early as possible. Exercises are initially supportive and done without aggravation of symptoms.
As the client progresses, the resistance and difficulty of movements increases. At all times the particular stresses of the clients job are considered and exercises are chosen to replicate these loads.
Gym exercise programs
For many clients getting into the gym and then undertaking an independent but monitored exercise program is a way of progressing into a normal non-rehabilitation environment. These programs are focused on improving general fitness and strength in functional positions. Our Physiotherapists may also come to your local gym and set up the program on the equipment that you will be using. Programs are monitored periodically to progress as improvement in strength, endurance, stability, recovery and general conditioning is seen.
Whilst guiding the client through the rehabilitation process it is the responsibility of the therapist to regularly communicate with the doctor regarding the client’s progress.