Health & Performance Pyramid: Health Layer – Exercise Rehabilitation

As one of the UK’s leading London physiotherapists, I regularly write about injuries, treatment and assessment techniques.

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In the past few posts about my Health & Performance Pyramid, which underpins all my work, I’ve started by talking about the importance of eating, sleeping and hydrating well, and keeping stress under control, to optimise tissue health. Then, before Christmas, we went through the first phase of the Health Layer, where I diagnose not just which bit hurts, but find the underlying cause of your injury, and treat it with manual therapy, exercise and education.  And having been through the first phase of physio, it’s now time to move onto exercise rehabilitation.

Today I’d like to explain exercise rehabilitation. It’s something many physio practices don’t emphasise or even offer, so why, do we think it’s so vital?

I think it comes down to two things: imaginative teaching, and habit formation.

In terms of teaching, I’ve done lots of exercise rehabilitation training – in the Army, with the amazing Diane Lee, and more recently with England rugby physio Dave O’Sullivan. This means that I’m good at prescribing effective and interesting exercises that will help you to move from the end of manual physiotherapy to the point of returning to sports.

And in terms of habit formation, the new ways in which I will be asking you to move will not always come naturally, because you’ll have formed the habits of moving to protect your injury.  Changing this takes effort, practice and supervision, to make sure you get it right.

The research tells us it takes 10,000 hours of practice to create a completely new habit.

However, I believe we can speed this process up dramatically – because we are not starting from scratch. Rather, I’ll just be reminding you of movement habits that you almost certainly used to have before you picked up your injury.  I’ll also teach you individualised cues and reminders that will help you to practise efficiently and mindfully.   Simply breaking bad habits is very difficult, but more efficiently, we aim to overwrite your suboptimal movement patterns with the original good habits. But this doesn’t mean that you don’t need effort, practice, and supervision!

Initially, you’ll work with me on an individual basis, so that she can prescribe and help you to progress through the basics of rehabilitation for your specific injury and underlying cause.  However, I also regularly work with a bunch of hand-picked movement specialists and personal trainers, and after a few sessions of going through movement patterning with me, I may look to help you transition to working with one of them, while maintaining contact with me.  Alternatively, you may already have a PT or movement coach, and if that’s the case then I’m very happy to work with them.  This will reduce the strain on your wallet while still giving you the supervision and structured practice you need to get your new movement patterns deeply ingrained, so that your injury doesn’t recur.

If your injury is relatively minor and you’ve not developed too many bad movement habits, then it’s possible that you may not need to go through the exercise rehabilitation stage – but that’s not the case for most of my clients, who tend to have either more serious or more recurrent injuries, and are therefore a lot more prone to dodgy movement patterns.

If movement training and exercise rehabilitation sounds like something you need, call my team on 0207 175 0150 – or just click on the button below and leave your details, and we’ll be in touch asap.

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