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Issue 14: Stuck at a crossroads with rehab?

Rehabilitation is never linear but there are ways to make the process easier.

Creating a rehabilitation plan for a patient has multiple layers. It’s not as simple as just throwing a few exercises together and hoping for the best.

But you might be feeling like you’re not progressing and getting where you want to be?

Before we get to the actual plan itself there are a few things you can address beforehand.

Talk. It can be the best medicine sometimes.

Each time we catch up with you, we will always ask about how you’re getting on. This is the time to be honest especially if you aren’t happy with your plan. Whether you’re finding it repetitive, painful or ineffective – we want to know. We understand that everyone’s circumstances are different and external stressors in life can make rehab challenging, so honesty is the best policy.

Now for the plan itself. What can change?

If you’re finding your plan too difficult…

Taking into consideration the stage of your condition, the goals of this stage and your individual needs, a really easy adjustment could be your reps and sets. Whether this means that you reduce your repetitions by a couple per set or you completely alter your repetition pattern and rest periods, this might be all you need!

Make it simple.

If you’re using larger pieces of equipment or doing your rehab in a gym, then switch it up!

Instead of using a barbell which might be too heavy or slightly restrictive, use a dumbbell, kettle bell or resistance band. Sometimes simplifying a movement and stripping back your equipment can make the process much more practical. It’s also more common for patients to own a resistance band or a basic dumbbell set.

Particularly in the beginner stages of rehab when we want to focus on decreasing your pain, any inflammation and increasing your range of movement using even just your body weight can be enough.

Change your position.

If you find certain positions uncomfortable or painful then have a chat with your practitioner about what alternatives you could try. Whether you sit instead of stand, lay on your side instead of lay on your back. Make life easier for yourself.

If your plan is too easy…

The same rules apply (sort of). Again – adjust your reps and sets but this time consider what your goals are. If you’re looking to increase your strength, build muscle, improve your coordination or balance then this will change what reps and sets are appropriate.

What stage of rehab are you on? Working against gravity might be your friend.

Let’s say for example that you’ve been doing squats for a knee injury but they’re getting repetitive. Try working against gravity and adding a jump squat in at the end of your set or adding in a hold time instead. This will help influence muscular fatigue much faster.

Slow it down.

We sometimes hear patients saying that they aren’t finding an exercise helpful or causing an effect and this is usually because they’re performing it far too quickly.

When you execute an exercise such as bicep curl, try and slow down the pace of the movement. It’s called time under tension and especially during the lengthening phase of an exercise - as this is where we create the majority of our microtears in the muscle (i.e. muscular growth).

Lastly, increase your joint angle. Doing this is either than it sounds.

Ankles? Perform exercises off a step or box.

Squatting? Try taking your shoes off and resting your heels on a weight plate.

Hips? Use a resistance band to help create a hook around your joint.

Shoulders? Lay on your back using yoga ball or heightened box and let gravity do the work.

As always, we hope this helps! But remember to always talk with your practitioner if you’re unsure.


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