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Busted - 5 Myths About Exercise Rehabilitation

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

Optimising the approach to health and exercise rehabilitation needs to start with an understanding of what condition you have and which practitioners you need to see. Rest, medication, and return to play when you feel well has always been the standard response, but it is so much more than this. How do you do the right treatment in the right phase and what exercise is needed and when? This is why patient education is crucial. Rogan Heyns Biokineticst has a self-help page that can offer some insight into injury treatment.

Myth 1 – You need to rest

Yes, rest is necessary for many injuries, but full rest will not allow your body to heal back to its fully-functioning state and can dramatically increase the risk of re-injury. This is due to the injured tissue going into a state of disuse and weakness. We land up using the bare minimum or compensating rather than improving the strength of the injury and surrounding support structures. We lower our capacity to tolerate load and when we do something unexpected or return to sport too early we are not equipped to use our body in the same way prior to the injury. Rest is required however it is injury specific and timeframes differ (enough to calm the area and allow the initial phases of healing) before rehabilitation is required. Rest means, rest the injury, and not rest your core and other body segments.

Myth 2 – You need to quit your sport

This is a rare occurrence after injury. Some injuries may prevent you from returning to the sport you love, but a very high percentage, once rehabilitated, will result in a full return to sport. Biokineticists study the mechanics and movement patterns which enables us to strengthen specific structures in the body to allow a full return to function. This can take the pressure off of the compromised areas allowing you to reinforce stability, and adapt movement dysfunction to improved your movement patterns.

Myth 3 – You’ll only get better with surgery

In many cases, this is an outdated approach. We work with many Orthopaedic surgeons who send their patients to us to try to prevent the need for surgery. The term ‘exercise is medicine’ is being used in many fields of the health industry and surgeons are no different. If we treat an injury conservatively we can help reduce the risks associated with surgery as well as lower the financial burden of surgery and rehabilitation post-operation. Conservative treatment identifies niggles and imbalances that may be the cause of injury or reinjure and allows them to be corrected in order to prevent new or repeated incidents. In some cases, this is not enough and surgery is necessary but even then, surgeons are happier with the condition of the body to allow for improved healing time, better post-op strength, and a faster return to activity. This term is known as ‘prehabilitation.’

Myth 4 – It will heal on its own

Yes, healing does take place on its own and we can survive with the amount of healing that takes place naturally, but surviving is not the same as functioning or thriving. You can have a decrease in symptoms, and even feel a difference between pre and post injury, but until you regain enough strength, control, balance, and movement to efficiently return to play safely you won’t have fully healed. When healing and scar tissue form we can have a blockage in the way our brain communicates with that tissue which can lead to poor movement and decreased control which places you at further risk of potential re-injury. Teaching our body to use the injured area through supervised and controlled movement can condition and mold the way our body heals that tissue. This makes your injury more resilient to the forces required by your lifestyle.

Myth 5 – I’ll never play at the same level

If this were true, our professional athletes wouldn’t make it through one season. Our elite athletes are always going through some form of active or maintenance rehabilitation program. We are always tweaking and redefining the limits their bodies can endure through sport and impact. Allowing for rest, movement education, exercise rehabilitation, and return to play protocols we can safely guide people to the same level of performance they were at prior to the injury.

The biggest hurdle Biokineticists face is educating people that movement is safe and necessary when trying to feel, move, and perform better post setback. Do not wait for your injury to heal before you start improving your body, challenge your support structures in order to be in prime condition by the time you begin to rehabilitate the injury after its initial healing phase. When supervised by a healthcare professional specialising in exercise, you will be able to fully understand what it means to heal through exercise.

Contact your Biokineticist to start Healing Through Exercise.

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