How To Keep Progressing After PT

Have you ever wondered what to do with the exercises you were given during physical therapy once your rehabilitation process is over? You are not the only one! Often clients will ask us, "What do I do once I feel better? What do I do to make this exercise more challenging?" As physical therapists we love hearing this question. During the rehabilitation process we are always thinking of ways to progress our clients back towards their previous level of function and then beyond that.

The best thing to do is ask your physical therapist for ways to progress the exercises you have been given, especially if you find yourself feeling better and are about to be discharged. That way you can continue to feel better and improve the way you function every day on your own! Here are some ideas that you could take to your physical therapist to get you started:

Load/ Weight/ Resistance - You may think of this as weight, which is not wrong, after all 10lbs is more than 5lbs, but that is only one way to progress. If your exercise uses bands you could progress the band you are using. At CTS the progression through bands is yellow < red < green < blue < black and then you can start to combine to continue increasing load. Sometimes just changing what you are doing with your body can add load. If you have ever done leg lifts as an abdominal exercise you know a straight leg is much heavier than a bent leg!

Duration/ Time - Another way of progressing your exercise may be the duration or time you are doing it for. This could simply mean doing 12 repetitions instead of 10. It could also mean slowing the exercise down. Take a push-up for example - doing a push-up with a 1 second down is much easier than doing one where you lower for 4 seconds.

Position - This is a favorite for us at CTS because one of the home exercises we prescribe often is pelvic floor contractions. Usually pelvic floor contractions are taught lying down face-up to start, but a great way to progress them is by changing your position. Can you contract laying on your side? What about on hands and knees? Sitting? Standing? Each position requires more coordination and stability than the last. This can be true for many other exercises as well.

All of these ideas work backwards too! So if you find an exercise is too hard you can modify any of the above to make it easier as well! So next time you see your physical therapist ask about ways you can modify your exercises to make them more or less challenging and you will get even more mileage out of your rehabilitation process.

If you have questions about home exercise programs, progressing or regressing exercise, or feel like you have stalled with your current exercise program, call us at CTS to schedule a consultation!


Fitness With a Side of Dysfunction?

This time of year, many people are focused on fitness so it's worth taking a look at what fitness really means. The dictionary defines fit as "sound physically and mentally, healthy." Using that definition, many "fitness" routines fall short of the goal. If you don't enjoy running and dread every workout, you're probably falling short of the "sound mentally" portion. Exercise should be enjoyable, reduce stress, and leave you feeling better, not worse.

No Pain No Gain?
Exercise should also leave you feeling better physically. If you can run a good time in a 5k, but have aches and pains for days after, you're not "sound physically." If you are increasing your PR in the squat rack, but your joint pain is increasing right along with it, you're not "sound physically" either. Sure, some muscle soreness and fatigue after a hard workout is normal. But if you're having pain that doesn't go away, sore joints, or trouble moving after exercise, you're probably developing movement dysfunction along with your fitness.

Movement Dysfunction
Go back to the dictionary and you'll find that dysfunction is "impaired or abnormal functioning." So movement dysfunction is impaired or abnormal movement. When someone has a movement problem like a sore joint, limited range of motion, or strength loss the brain finds a way to get the body to do what it wants. That usually means moving in a way that is less than optimal. For a while, it works. But eventually it leads to injury. As a concrete example, think of someone who has trouble bending one knee doing squats. When one knee bends further than the other, it will cause one side of the pelvis to drop lower than the other. Now that the pelvis isn't level, the spine bends towards the high side to stay balanced. When that one side of the pelvis drops lower than the other one, it also usually rotates. Now the spine has to bend to the side and twist to keep you upright. This works for a while, but as weight gets added to the squat, and the repetitions add up so does the risk for a back injury.

Preventative Medicine
Pain during workouts, or pain and soreness that don't go away after can be warning signs of a movement dysfunction. If you're experiencing any of these, your physical therapist at CTS is a movement expert who can help. PTs are trained to analyze movement, and figure out the root cause of problems. We can then design a program to treat the cause and correct the abnormal pattern. There is no need to wait until you're injured to see your physical therapist. In fact, it's preferable not to. Getting minor problems fixed early means fewer visits to the PT, less pain, and not having your workouts put on hold by injury. So don't wait - give your PT at CTS a call!!

Article Courtesy: American Physical Therapy Association
Men's Pelvic Pain Support Group
Tuesday, March 17 at 6pm

5677 Oberlin Drive, Suite 106, San Diego, CA 92121 - Directions

1 in 12 men suffer from pelvic pain and most suffer in silence.

Let's gather together and share our experience and resources. Together we can heal & help others get on the road to recovery.
For more information, contact Milan at 858-457-8419 or milan@comprehensivetherapy.com