Prescribing specific exercises is a big part of my (and any physios) role. For some people, exercise prescription is the only input they require and for others a combination of home exercises and “hands on” treatment is more appropriate. This purely depends on the needs of each individual.
So why are the exercises I issue so important? Why can’t I just fix you during the session and send you on your way? There are many answers to these questions, here are a few of the fundamental ones:
1. More often than not, the problem requires loading (putting weight through) the muscle/joint involved, in addition to strengthening and at times stretching the area. This all aids recovery. This cannot simply be achieved in a treatment session as it requires repetition and regularity to be effective.
2. Exercises are often a part of a long term management approach, they help prevent the “sticky plaster approach” – where you get a quick fix but the underlying problem/cause is not addressed and therefore the problem continues to reoccur.
3. My job is to advise on what you can do for yourself to aid recovery. I am a motivator, encouraging you to take responsibility for your own body and rehabilitation. This is essential for long term effectiveness.
4. The aim of physiotherapy is for you to physically improve. By completing exercises between sessions you will see a greater and faster improvement then if you simply relied on the sessions. That can only be beneficial to you.
I do not issue too many exercises at one time and teach ones that can be done easily at home/gym as I do appreciate that we all have busy lives and it can be difficult at times to fit the exercises into your schedule.
The exercises taught by a physiotherapist are always given to you for a reason. They are evidenced based and specific to your needs. Have trust in them and in time you will reap the rewards for following them!