Benefits of Physiotherapy Exercises

Physiotherapy has traditionally consisted of a hands-on, manual therapy approach consisting of joint mobilisation or movement, manipulation (clicking or cracking of joints), soft tissue massage and trigger point therapy. All of these treatment modalities, alongside out-dated treatment options like ultrasound, were utilised to reduce muscle or joint stiffness and to relieve pain. In more recent times, treatment intervention has begun to include a focus on the rehabilitation of motor (or movement) skills, regaining strength and flexibility, improving daily function, improving walking or gait and training in the use of mobility aids and performing safe transfers.

In combination with the above, over time, physiotherapists have developed a lot more focus on reducing pain through restoring and maintaining functional and normal movement patterns. It involves therapeutic exercise and stretching to improve strength, range of motion and endurance and aims to correct posture, muscle imbalance and promotes overall wellness.

Physiotherapy is focussed on rehabilitation and an exercise-based approach for long term recovery. Your Physiotherapist not only provides you with a guided and progressive exercise program appropriate to your level of function and rehabilitation needs, but also assists with evaluation of technique, motivates and encourages you to reach your desired goals or just simply return to your previous level of function.

Some of the general health benefits of exercise are a decrease in the risk and progression of many chronic diseases; it helps build healthy and strong bones, provides well-oiled joints as well as lengthening and strengthening muscles. Some of the non-physical benefits of exercise include a reduction in stress, and anxiety, and improve in mood and even sleep behaviour. As we fatigue ourselves with exercise, our bodies need sleep to heal and repair themselves, and thus we see an increase in high quality, deep sleep.

Specifically, Physiotherapy exercises can provide the following health benefits:

  • Restore the body from injury and the effects of disability
  • Improves strength, flexibility and range of movement
  • Controls severity and duration of an activity or
  • Improve return to sport timeline and standard of play  
  • Reduces the likelihood of re-injury, minimise re-occurrence of certain conditions or functional decline
  • Maintains and improves physical performance and overall body function

Often it’s hard it commit to exercises on your own or be motivated to complete those recommended by your Physiotherapist, which is why it’s important to stick to the guided schedule so that you can reduce setbacks and guarantee maximum improvement as quickly as possible.

One of the biggest issues that Physiotherapists face, is managing their clients’ expectations. It is important for the conversation between physio and client to be open and transparent to ensure your long-term outcomes are achieved, and not simply short-term pain relief. For example, if you haven’t completed the stretches or exercises that your physio has set, while it’s not ideal for your recovery, it’s important you communicate that to your physio. Without that knowledge, your physio may think their rehabilitation plan is not going well and therefore change it. It is also important to have this relationship so that your physiotherapist can continually challenge your goals and help to make you the best version of yourself you can become!

Everyone can benefit from exercise; however problems arise when the exercise or the program is performed inappropriately. Common mistakes that cause injury often include

  • Inappropriate frequency and/or intensity Eg; going too hard, too soon or exercising infrequently/undertraining and increasing the intensity of training at a rate the body can’t adapt to.
  • Appropriate frequency and intensity for fitness level, but inappropriate type of exercise for your injury or medical condition. Eg; Heavy overhead squats with a lower back injury may not be appropriate for you, at that time in your recovery.  

However, the last thing we want you to do is avoid exercise altogether through fear of injury or re-injury. The health risks that go with avoiding exercise are endless, and can lead to chronic health conditions. Regular exercise can assist in the management of over 35 chronic diseases, and cure over 25 chronic exercises. Therefore, if in doubt about exercise, it’s probably a good idea!

This is where if you have any concerns on starting or returning to exercise after an injury or if you haven’t trained in that area in the past it is best to seek Physiotherapy advice. They will assess your injury, weaknesses and functional movement patterns and design a program correctly targeted at your goals at the appropriate frequency and intensity under supervision until you are safely able to self-manage your program.

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