The SINGLE reason why an exercise approach to pain and rehabilitation is the better choice!
It’s confusing when you’re in pain or have an injury. We get it, you just want rid and to be back playing freely and fully again! But where do you start? There’s so many options these days with chiropractors, osteopaths, drugs, physio, massage, and acupuncture.
All good approaches that can have hugely positive effects, especially in acute phases of pain and rehab BUT…
Have you felt relying on someone or something to rub or make it better doesn’t really get you there?
Do you find you’re always going back to get ‘treated again’?
Are you fed up of not getting anything to take away to do on your own that will help?
How much better would it be if you had the power to reduce, minimise and heal your own pain without ‘magic hands’?
What if you knew techniques that you can do anywhere, anytime that have far reaching benefits beyond just getting out of pain?
Want to know why someone else making it better doesn’t ultimately get you there?
The common theme of all the above treatments is that they’re passive – relying on someone or something to rub or make it better. Passive rehab typically causes a peripheral reflex response at the spinal level, creating a transient motor event. Put simply you feel good for a while but as the days goes on (sometimes as little as an hour) you get the feeling that perhaps not much has changed. Ever walked out from a massage feeling wonderful to only stiffen up and feel achy again by the evening? That’s the epitome of a transient motor event!
With passive treatment there’s minimal self-learning or taking responsibility going forward and that’s a major issue in the long run! The likelihood of passive approaches solving your pain alone is minimal.
With a limited treatment time and scope they often miss the obvious! What you seek is more active…
Exercise & movement, the active approach to rehab!
Active rehab, like corrective exercise and stretching, works on a central processing level. It effects and engages your motor cortex (the cool part of your brain) rather than just causing a peripheral reflex. Put simply engaging in corrective exercise means there’s a learning phase connecting brain and body to create, sense and remember changes, which with practice stick around. This tends to have far reaching, beneficial effects compared to the passive counterparts. Your body is more switched on than you realise!
This isn’t about knocking approaches. On the contrary they all have a place and at aps we consistently work with professionals in most of them. However we highly encourage an active rehab approach combined with passive treatments if needed (not the other way around and especially not passive treatment by itself).
The key goal of corrective exercise is to bring consciousness to movement, adapting and retraining how you move to ultimately create more effective, biomechanically friendly, autonomous movement. But it gets even better, the benefits transcend physiology. With a little guidance and understanding you realise ‘I can make MYSELF better’. You realise, in the words of He-man. ‘I have the POWER!’ Seriously empowering stuff!
Give a man a fish vs. teach a man to fish …
Corrective exercise quintessentially requires and therefore create a sense of:
- Learning – you literally learn how to feel and move your body better developing new skills
- Competence – knowing you’re getting stronger increases your confidence to take on life outside the gym, e.g. pain bending over to deadlifting half your bodyweight with relative comfort
- Accomplishment – Moving out of pain, hitting and surpassing tangible physical goals reaffirms that your taking positive steps
- Responsibility – Corrective exercise is yours to do and reap the benefits or not do and usually remain in your dysfunction. It’s a strong learning experience either way
YOU learn, YOU play, YOU practice, and YOU reap all the benefits!
Using active rehab and taking responsibility is a great idea, easily said but can certainly can be challenging to put into practice. We encourage:
- Giving it time – Learning a new movement skill roughly takes 300-500 conscious repetitions. Retraining old movements could be more like 3000 reps, patience is key.
- Seeking guidance – Finding a good exercise coach or trainer with a strong understanding of anatomy, corrective exercise, programme design and pain science can be invaluable, especially in the early stages.
- Coupling it with manual therapy practices when needed, especially in acute phases
- Being kind to yourself – The path is endlessly fulfilling but often full of emotions and unexpected turnings both tough and pleasant. A little kindness goes a long way.
Other active approaches that are very rewarding to explore are nutrition, rest, recovery and meditation (we delve into these when we work with anyone one to one. Remember exercise is just one piece of the puzzle.
Getting people truly free from pain and back in the game is what we do at aps. If you’re seeking guidance or just want to be out of pain as soon as possible our approach might be exactly what you’re needing. The best thing is you can tell us more about your specific pain or injury and find out exactly how we can help you for free!