Exercises are an integral part of almost all physiotherapy treatment plans because keeping the body working keeps your muscles strong and improves blood flow to injured areas. When your body is not moving and functioning as it should, muscles atrophy
and the necessary blood flow and nutrient exchange does not happen.
While injury prevents you from normal day-to-day activities and even normal exercise routines, physiotherapy exercises are designed to work within a patient’s level of functionality. Depending on what your level is your physiotherapist may prescribe range of motion exercises (ROM); strengthening exercises; general conditioning exercises; or balance exercises.
What Are Range Of Motion Exercises?
As the name suggests, Range of Motion exercises are used when a joint or muscle is tight resulting in a limit to your movement. These exercises can be performed under the direction of your physiotherapist or with the assistance of your physiotherapist if you are unable to move your limb or need assistance to complete the range of motion required. If necessary, your physiotherapist may also treat the area with heat to relax the tightness prior to the performance of ROM exercises so that they are more effective.
Why Are Strengthening Exercises So Important?
The fitter we are the faster we recovery from any injury or chronic condition. Clinical studies have shown that the sooner physiotherapy begins after surgery the better. If they are able, patients are encouraged to be ambulatory within a day or two of major surgery. Muscles atrophy quickly when immobilized and become inactive. Activity, on the other hand, enhances blood circulation which, in turn, provides nutrients to the body’s cells. So keeping our muscles fit, keeps our bodies functioning better and prevents future injury.
Again, strengthening exercises are adapted to your condition and level of functionality. You may work with resistance bands to begin with and work up to free weights as you rebuild your strength.
What Exercise Program Should I Follow After My Physiotherapy?
Throughout the course of your physiotherapy treatment plan, you may be given at home exercises to assist with your recovery. Some of the exercises prescribed may be to improve and/or maintain your general conditioning. These exercises may include range of motion, strengthening and walking exercises to ensure your cardio-pulmonary fitness; your muscle and joint flexibility; and your muscle strength.
How Do I Know If I’m Doing My Exercises Properly?
Your physiotherapist will demonstrate how to perform your exercise properly so that you get the full benefit and do not re-injury yourself. If your therapist prescribes at home exercises you will be given exercise sheets and email access to videos.