I take pride and pleasure in having clients leave my treatments feeling better than when they walked in. I do as much as I can in my appointments to benefit my clients. However, as good as I may be at making you feel like that when you leave it is down to you to cement in the good work! So, I am going to explain the importance of doing the exercise "homework" rehab exercises and stretches that I or any other therapist/practitioner/trainer prescribes to you.

Breaking the habit

Many of the cases that I deal with on a daily basis involve injury or dysfunctions that have been created by bad lifestyle habits. These habits are often formed over YEARS and they are ingrained into your brain and nervous system. The longer you have had the habit the longer it may take to break the habit. The body is very efficient, it has to be to survive so it constantly looks for the path of least resistance when performing tasks and I'm sure everyone has heard of the term "use it or you'll lose it"?! Well that term doesn't just refer to cardiovascular fitness or muscle mass it also refers to flexibility and mobility too. If you don't move often enough or well enough the body starts to shut down the movements that you no longer perform or require. Look at babies, they can perform flawless squats and reach overhead because they've not spent years sitting at a computer desk!

A test for anyone with shoulder pain: when did you last lift your hands up above your head when you were NOT performing a daily task? Those that can't remember, how easily can you lift your hands above your head without pain or restriction?

The body limits the movements we do not do enough, often it can be through physical restriction whereby scar tissue has formed (hardware) or it can be through a neural restriction (software) where the brain in a sense does not trust the body's ability to control the limb/joint in that position without risk of injury, so it either creates pain to stop you doing it or it weakens the muscle so that you cannot perform the movement. The brain is very clever! Any spasm, muscular inhibition or neural tightness is a protective mechanism so we need to reassure the nervous system that we can do this movement safely by getting stronger and more stable in that area/movement.

TheraBand shoulder exercise - Oliver Ody - Personal Trainer

External rotation with a TheraBand a classic shoulder rehab exercise

Techniques and Tricks

All fitness and healthcare professionals have techniques and tricks that can treat and bypass both physical and neural restrictions allowing you to improve range of motion and reduce pain. Unfortunately, these results won't last forever especially if you return to the daily habits that created the problem in the first place. This is where a specific rehab programme or something like my carefully designed Desk Job Fix Programme will help prevent your treatments going to waste.

This is where continued exercise and rehab is vital

As I mentioned hardware and software before I often use a very basic analogy of a computer to my clients. Essentially your computer has caught a virus (injury/pain/restriction) with the treatment we wipe the computer clean by treating the necessary areas whether that's inhibited, tight and or weak muscles it is then down to the guest to reboot the computer with new and better programmes (better movement mechanics, rehab exercises and stretches) so that it is functioning properly.

The super important part that the majority of people miss out on is when they are pain free and moving well they stop doing the exercises and stretches that have helped, this is a monumental mistake! These exercises are off-setting the bad habits we have during everyday life that got you into a mess in the first place, these should become your new daily habits that will keep you from needing to come in and see anyone for physical treatment so often.

Taking responsibility

Now here is where I sound like the demon headmaster... "have you managed to do your rehab this week?" "no, sorry I didn't have the time..." that's ok, fair enough but you won't be making any progress with your injury/pain, if you really want to fix yourself there are zero excuses. Make time to prioritise your health and wellbeing. I often only prescribe 2-3 exercises and stretches max to each client mainly for simplicity. This makes sure they are performed well and secondly, less excuse of not doing them! 10 minutes of your day focusing on your rehab will make the world of difference and accelerate your progress leaps and bounds.

I also refer people to my Desk Job Fix Programme. This is a programme I have developed through my experience as a personal trainer and sports massage therapist that will help eliminate most aches and pains as it is a whole body programme targeted at those who suffer from the effects of prolonged sitting. I have designed it to be as safe as possible when executed correctly, avoiding exercises I know to exacerbate the symptoms most people present with. There are video and text descriptions on how to perform each exercise, stretch and self-massage technique so make sure to watch and read them all first to maximise your benefits. Commit to this and your body and future self will thank you endlessly for it.

The Desk Job Fix Programme does involve going to the gym as this way you will see the best results however if the gym isn't your thing then get in touch and I can develop Bespoke Programmes for you to do at home with whatever equipment you have available to you.

Find strategies that allow you to do bits here and there during your day like having a TheraBand in your work desk drawer have a minute break every hour and do 20 reps of your rehab exercise and with 7-8 hours in a working day that's 160 reps!

I hope you found this a good read and make sure you do your rehab!