Stretching before exercise increases flexibility and elasticity, thus, decreases the chance of injury. People should focus on stretching the muscles that will be activated during the workout. So if it is leg day, the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and calves all need to be stretched. This prevents these muscle groups from tightening up during an exercise.
Not only is it essential beforehand, it is just as important if not more to stretch post-session. In fact, if a muscle group has been continually contracted throughout a workout, stretching can help muscles return to their normal length. In addition, it can decrease recovery time and alleviate soreness.
It’s important to stay committed, as studies show that flexibility from regular stretching can disappear after 4 weeks of inactivity.
The benefits of stretching include:
• Muscles release tension.
- Range of motion increases.
• Help muscles resist stress, thereby, prevent muscle and joint strains.
• Prepare the body and heart rate for strenuous exercise.
• Improved blood flow.
• Reduce the severity of painful menstruation (Dysmenorrhea).
- Body releases endorphins, making people more energetic and relaxed.
However, DO NOT stretch if:
- There is a bone fracture, acute sprain or strain.
• Range of motion is limited due to other pathology
• The joint is inflamed or infected.
• There is pain doing stretches.
Stretching determines how far a joint can bend, twist, or reach. When it is done incorrectly, it can be ineffective or dangerous as it can cause tears, instability, and damage to tendons/ligaments. It is controversial still which kind of stretching is beneficial before or after exercises.
If you are stretching before exercises definitely you need to some kind of warm up exercises before you stretch. Thus, it is important to consult a physical therapist to see which stretching exercises can be incorporated when dealing with an injury or condition.
No time for the gym but still want to be healthy and stay in shape? Well, bodyweight exercises can benefit you! Even without additional weight, these exercises can build strength, muscle, and fitness while helping people lose weight. The goal is to use your own body weight as resistance, by pushing, pulling, or lifting it. And if you don’t have time, don’t worry! These exercises can be done whenever and wherever.
Your physical therapist will most likely include body weight exercises into your treatment program. He/she will cater the regimen to the specific condition at hand. Such exercises include strength training to build muscle and cardio to keep the heart strong.
Based on the patient’s starting point and age, the therapist will determine the pace of each session with the quantity of exercises and how many repetitions to perform. With body weight exercises, patients can complete their full range of motion without restraint, allowing joints to move freely and decreasing the risk of injury. You’ll be able do these exercises at home with little to no cost, as equipment is not needed.
Bodyweight exercises are considered “closed chain” which is the scientific term for saying moving the body through space instead of an outside object. Closed chain exercises have been proven to increase lower body strength by 31%, whereas, open chain exercises only increases it by 13%. The reason is because moving the body through space increase the amount of muscle fibers used. Thereby, yielding more results.
If you’ve been sitting at your desk all day, it’s probably best to not go and sit down on a machine at the gym once again. Body weight physical therapy helps patients reestablish good movements. It allows movement in multiple ways that can activate muscles in the back, knees, and shoulders, thereby, keeping them healthy. This may be a better alternative to machines that can be limiting.
Examples of bodyweight exercises include planks, push-ups, squats, sit-ups, marching, and lunges. Since physical therapists are professionals in body movement, it’s best to consult one to see which exercises are appropriate for you when dealing with an injury.
Are you experiencing inflammation, pain, and/or stiffness in your joints? If so, a possible cause may be arthritis. It may be accompanied by a limited range of motion as joints are too inflamed to move. Arthritis is quite common, in fact, there are more types of arthritis then you know. It can affect men, women, and even children.
The most common are osteoarthritis which onsets from wear and tear of cartilage and rheumatoid arthritis that occurs from an overactive immune system. It’s important to treat the specific condition as it can interfere with work or everyday activities. Physical therapy has been proven to be highly effective in treating the effects of arthritis.
A physical therapist will create an individualized treatment plan based on your diagnoses and pain level. The goal should be to improve mobility by restoring the use of affected joints and to increase strength for joint support. Your physical therapist may also focus on increasing flexibity, coordination, and balance if appropriate.
He/she will provide knowledge on exercises to do at home and what activities to avoid. Depending on their condition, patients may be advised to use assistive devices such as a cane or walker to relieve pressure. The physical therapists will work consistently with patients to maintain progress and safe return to daily activities.
It’s important for patients to adhere to their exercise regimen as regular physical activity can keep surrounding muscles strong, decrease bone loss, reduce stiffness, and control swelling and pain. Exercising can also enhance energy and stamina, thereby, decrease fatigue and improve sleep. Patients with arthritis who are overweight can forsee additional benefits as exercising can promote long-term weight management.
Besides exercises, your treatment program may consist of manual therapy. Evidence shows that joint and soft tissue mobilization can help patients relieve pain and stiffness. Specific modalities may be used during treatments such as a hot/cold pack and electrical stimulation to relieve pain.
These techniques can increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, reduce pain, and enhance mobility. Thus, it’s important to consult your doctor to see if physical therapy is appropriate for you as it can be a safer alternative to surgery and pain medications.
Many people believe that surgery alone can lead to full recovery. However, without proper care and rehabilitation, any work/progress completed during surgery may be undone. Post-surgical rehabilitation concentrates mainly on increasing strength and mobility. The physical therapist will provide appropriate modalities, manual therapy, and exercises to improve patient’s endurance, strength, and flexibility.
They will work with the patient to create an individualized treatment program that will cater to the patient’s surgicial procedure, pain level, and goals, allowing them to bounce back successfully. Physical therapy for post surgery should focus on progessing patients to a pain free state without limitations and risks of future injuries.
Surgerical procedures that often recommend follow up physical therapy somer common surgeris include :
- Rotator Cuff Tear
- Hip, Shoulder, and Knee Joint Replacements
- Ligament Tears of the Knee (ACL, LCL, MCL and PCL)
- Tendon Rutprue Repair
- Arthroscopy and Meniscus Repair
- Spinal Surgery
- Additional Operations Resulting in Weakness or Stiffness
Physical therapy can reduce pain/discomfort from surgery with techniques such as electrical stimulation, ice, hot pack, massage and manual therapy. Once the pain subsides, the treatment program will focus more on the challenges of each surgical procedure.
For instance, if a patient received a knee replacement, the therapist will prescribe strengthening and range of motion exercises to promote recovery. Patients can also experience weakness from being sedentary after surgery, but physical therapy can help increase muscle mass to its previous levels.
Without physical therapy, there are possibilities of re-injury or prolonged recovery, post surgical complication like stiffness, contractures, weakness. It is necessary for the patient to be aware of what activities to avoid and how to safely perform daily activities to prevent future setbacks.
Physical therapy will also help patients return to regular activities quicker as it enhances healing in damage tissues. Thus, physical therapy is essential in achieving a safe and fast post-surgery recovery.
Physical therapy is a great option to consider in relieving knee pain. The main goals of a treatment program should be decreasing pain and increasing mobility. If someone experiences difficulty standing up from or sitting down on a chair, going up or down the stairs, or walking to run errands, it’s important to treat the problem earlier on before it exacerbates.
During the initial evaluation, the physical therapist will examine the patient’s strength, range of motion, and functional abilities. From there, a personal treatment plan will be created for the individual, taking in account of any goals he/she may have in mind.
A session of physical therapy may include stretching, strengthening, balance and gait training, and joint mobilitization /stabilization. If the therapist deems appropriate, a hot pack, ice pack, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, or althetic taping may be used.
People with knee pain should consider physical therapy because it can be an effective treatment in place of surgery. Therapy has been proven to be successful for patients with meniscal tears and moderate osteoarthritis; allowing them to avoid possible risks, side effects, and expenses of surgical intervention.
If surgery is inevitable, therapy can be essential both before and after surgery for efficient recovery. Therapy beforehand, can help patients become stronger and help them accustom to an exercise routine, thus, requiring less intensive therapy post-operation. After surgery, therapy can help individuals regain mobility, increase strength and balance, walk without an assistive device, and return to previous activities of everyday life.
After an injury, exercises can help patients prevent joints from stiffening, increase movement, and reduce pain. Some beneficial exercises include stretching for the quadriceps and hamstrings, strengthening the hip and knees with clamshells, squats, and strengthening the calves with heel raises.
However, every patient start off at different levels and experience different types of pain, therefore, it is important to consult a physical therapist so they can make an exercise regimen catered to the patient alone.
For many years, the dominant technique for hip arthroplasty replacements has been the posterior approach. For this type of surgery, an incision is made at the back of the hip, muscles are cut to reach hip joint, the head and neck of the femur are removed, a stem with a “ball” at the end is inserted into the femur, and finally the hip joint is rejoined and surrounding tissues are repaired.
There are many risks of dislocation including sitting with hip hyper-flexed, leg internally rotated, and crossing one leg over the other. Because of this, many surgeons have taken different approaches that may be more beneficial such as the anterior approach.
In this case, a smaller incision is made in the front of the leg. Instead of cutting and possibly causing damage, muscles are separated to reach hip joint.
Post-operation will require a shorter recovery and hospital stay time compared to the posterior approach. Less precaution is needed as the patient should only avoid keeping their leg externally rotated.
There are many disadvantages to the anterior hip replacement approach as well. Because of the smaller incision, there is a restricted view of the hip joint. A special operating table is required for the anterior approach that may give rise to femoral and ankle fractures.
There may be risk of lateral femoral-cutaneous nerve damage which may lead to numbness, tingling, or burning sensation along the thigh. Finally, obese and muscular patients are not good candidates since additional soft tissue makes it difficult to access the joint.
Physical therapy can help patients with hip arthroplasty replacements regain mobility and strength. Exercise routines can increase the lifetime of an implant, thus, post-phoning another surgery.
Patients who received the anterior approach may have better range of motion, thus, there is less restriction on their exercise prescription. Studies show that they may use crutches or a walker unaided 6 days sooner than patients who received the posterior approach.
They may also experience less pain, thus, they are able to bend at hip and bear weight sooner, leading to faster recovery.
However, this is just general information. Always consult your doctor or surgeon to decide which procedure is appropriate for you.