What Does It Take To Get Better?

What Does It Take To Get Better?

I recently had the pleasure of working with a client who was having trouble returning to running after a lower body injury had kept her from doing so for quite some time.She tried a few things on her own but needed some direction in her rehab, so she decided to try physiotherapy. We worked together for a few sessions, and within a couple of months this client had returned to running at 50% of her volume from years ago.  

I am always interested in things that help people to feel better. I have found some common denominators with people’s success stories after returning to activity post-injury. This client was kind enough to share some of the things she had done during her rehab process. Below is a list of 5 things I found that likely contributed very positively to a better outcome for this client, that many others I’m sure would find useful:

  1. Frequency of exercises (and other healthy behaviors): The client was able to say that she had done something everyday for two months. Did she do her specific physio exercises every day? Absolutely not, but she was doing other things that contributed to her rehab every day. Some days were more involved than others of course, but the idea is that there was a consistent focus on her rehab for two months. This could be focusing on a healthy meal, doing 5 minutes of deep breathing, or any other healthy behaviour that isn’t part of a daily routine already.  It takes discipline, but it works. As long as there is....
  2. Variability: Although there was something done every day, it was rarely the exact same thing. One day her exercises were related to running specifically, the next day was a set of accessory strengthening exercises, and the next day was yoga. It can sometimes be frustrating to pound away at one exercise everyday and not feel like you’re getting anywhere. You are much better off taking rest time in between sessions to focus on a different aspect of health or fitness. When you come back to that same exercise (which might be running) after a break, you may feel like it’s easier to progress. Speaking of progress...
  3. Gradual Progression: This client and I discussed how starting back to running in small spurts with walking in between would be beneficial. Everyone has a different starting point, and it’s important to find yours. Too often we want to start somewhere in the middle instead of the beginning, and it can be frustrating if you plateau early on, or even regress. Start slow, build up a tolerance for what activity you can do, be confident with it, and gradually increase the workload.
  4. Yoga: In this client’s journal, there were more than a few occasions where they did yoga throughout the week. And not just one type of yoga, but many different types. This helps with not getting bored with the same movements, and making your body adaptable. There are a few studios around town that can help you with starting out, or you can look on YouTube for yoga videos. I have personally found a 10 minute yoga session to be quite beneficial for the body and for the mind. Have you ever noticed a lot of healthy people do yoga? I don’t think this is a coincidence.
  5. Eating Right: Something that won’t hurt is making sure you’re giving your body the right fuel to get better. I’m not talking about a complete overhaul of your diet, but making a point to have at least one healthy meal per day is a good idea. Drinking lots of water falls under this category as well, as it can be a healthier replacement for pop, coffee, or juice that’s high in sugar.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but some of these things I consider to be top priority when giving advice to a client. If you are dealing with an injury, see if you can improve in one or more of the areas listed above to better your rehab. If you want an individualized plan, please contact our clinic to book an assessment today.

About the Author:

Jordan Gillis is a physiotherapist at Advanced Health and Physiotherapy. He has worked in several different settings including The Moncton Hospital and with local sports teams doing training and event coverage. He has taken many continuing education courses in Advanced Orthopedics through the National Orthopedic Division of CPA, Selective Functional Movement Assessment, McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment, and others. For any questions or feedback, please e-mail Jordan@Advanced-Health.ca.

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