Rehabilitation Exercises: Keep the Faith to See Results

The road to recovery can take time following an accident where an injury was sustained.

The intervention of a trained medical professional, and their prescribed rehabilitation exercises, is vital to ensure the best chance of returning to a pain-free, or a less painful, scenario where normality can return to the patient.

However, there is the increasing temptation among clients to waver in their commitment to exercises that will benefit their long-term prognosis.

But it’s vital that faith is maintained and they stay the course, as our senior physiotherapist Michael Armstrong explains in this question and answer session about rehabilitation exercises and sticking with them:


Is there a temptation among patients to stop doing their physio-prescribed exercises after a short period of time?

There could well be and it is something we come across a lot, but when I come across this issue I’m always reminded of something that an Australian colleague – who worked at On Medical 24/7 for a brief period while travelling – said; “If a patient isn’t doing their exercises, then don’t blame the patient, blame yourself!”

I think there is some truth to that and it’s an idea that seems to be gaining traction in more and more physio educational resources…did the patient stop because they weren’t working? Were they bored? Did they not understand why they were doing them? Did they feel ‘fobbed off’ by being given exercises rather than treated?

These are all issues that a physio can address and so education and communication are key.


Why is it important to stick to the physio’s advice and guidance?

There seem to be many journal articles and pieces of research published recently that supports active rehabilitation in the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries far more than passive treatments.

Both have a role to play, but some people have a bit of an outdated view that being clicked, or cracked, or pulled or massaged is the central crux of physiotherapy treatment with exercises being an optional add-on or an afterthought.

The opposite seems to be the case though; with most injuries, the most important approach is to correctly identify the problem, improve the way the patient moves and gradually increase load to the patient’s tissues with appropriate exercise.


What could happen if you don’t follow the guidance of your physiotherapist?

Quite simply – nothing!

You could have the best physiotherapist in the world diagnose your problem and choose the absolute gold standard in treatment, but if the best treatment involves moving more or strengthening part of the body and that isn’t done, then it’s not likely you’ll get what you want out of the treatment, whether that’s a reduction in pain, a sporting goal or being able to perform a household task or hobby.

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