The problem with rehabilitation
Rehabilitation for chronic pain and long term movement flaws very often takes a commitment of years on the part of the client because, usually, the problems that created the pain or movement flaw have been present for years, and in many cases, decades. This can be as demoralizing for the client as the presenting issue is debilitating for them, however it need not be this way. For those who are prepared to take up the challenge of fixing the issues that have begun to cause them an ever increasing amount of discomfort and pain with an open mind and a modicum of grit and determination, the journey to wellness and pain free movement can be liberating and even exhilarating.
Fix your approach to rehab: when rehabilitation becomes the workout
It is in these circumstances that the rehabilitation eventually becomes the workout. Once a weakness, or set of weaknesses are identified, and if the client treats their elimination in the same way a professional athlete approaches their training. In other words they focus on the goal at hand, and train with effort, purpose and a genuine commitment to achieving that goal, then the rehab programme will become a workout to the client.
A case in point is that of Will Grattan, a client of Myokinetics who presented at the clinic over 12 months ago experiencing chronic knee pain with extremely limited mobility of the hip, knee and ankle joints. Will, an enthusiastic racket sports player was suffering pain that just would not go away. This is his story (so far).
Will had resolved himself to do what it takes to eliminate the issues that had started to manifest, in his mid 40s, such as having difficulty descending a flight stairs. He had the hip and knee mobility of an elderly patient 20 to 30 years his senior.
‘Developing mobility and strength that has not been there for years takes time, for me getting on for 2 years. Frankly I was struggling to do some basic things like walking downstairs! I had a wake up call, not yet 50 and really struggling; do something now or just continue to decline?’
At an early stage his therapist, Paul, identified a need for Will to stretch and mobilise his quads, calves, hips and ankles; with a requirement to also strengthen his posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings)
‘Paul has been the mastermind behind the rehab. It began with daily strengthening exercises which I intermixed with yoga over 12 months. This included couch stretches, banded bridges, clams, planks, hip strengthening reps and many more.’
All of this was fairly foundational work, designed to begin chipping away at the muscular restrictions and weaknesses that were responsible for the joints in Will’s lower body effectively beginning to seize up in something akin to ‘frozen shoulder’. However after a time, Will began to fret, he missed working hard and getting a decent cardio workout that he got from racquet sports but was fairly sure that a return to squash and tennis at the time would be detrimental to his progress.
At one of his review sessions, Will mentioned his concern, and Paul half-seriously suggested that, if Will could do a kettlebell swing, he could achieve a decent workout, get plenty of cardio and turbo-charge his rehabilitation, by having a go at something called the ‘10,000 kettlebell swing challenge’, a strenuous 4 or 5 week kettlebell swing workout made famous by strength coach Dan John that consists of 500 swings per workout,
‘Then came the challenge of a 24kg kettle bell swing and recording a total of 10,000 in a short a period as possible. I ticked off my swing sets on a white board. It became compulsive.... a strenuous cardio routine of 50 or 100 sets of swings, broken with short breaks of stretching, to build up to 500 swings per day. All this could be done at home in about an hour.’
Will checked out the challenge, and let’s just say, he ran with it.
‘After Paul and I celebrated the first 10,000 swings with an intense massage and discussion, we adapted the routine to include some hip strengthening drills. I was feeling positive with greater mobility and strength. I continued daily, never stopping mid set and adjusting my daily home/ work routine to ensure I could allocate the time.’
And then he ran some more….104 kettlebell swing workouts later, Will completed 50,000 kettlebell swings. A feat that takes some doing but which he completed, willingly, voluntarily and because not only was he feeling a rehab benefit but the exercises were providing him with additional fitness and well-being results over and above mere rehab. In essence his rehab had become the workout.
‘Having now completed 50,000 swings, we have agreed its time to move on to the next challenge...10,000 lunges and I'm ready to take it on!!’
Will is now working towards his next set of rehab goals using the same workout mentality and it is highly likely that he will smash those too. In doing so he will not only begin to move better (and is now pain free) but he will start to discover the freedom to move naturally and in ways that prior to his rehab he would never have been able to.
‘Paul has provided for me a combination of sport massages, programme advice and encouragement to work on my own healing. This has been the best guidance and results so far for me after years of trying other avenues and I'm inspired to continue with belief and determination.’
The fundamental purpose of rehab
Early on in life many of us find easy ways to move, and over the space of years we begin to limit our movements mainly to those easy ones, with perhaps a small number of additional difficult ones that we choose for ourselves (this also tends to apply to highly trained athletes and sports people).
Insidiously and without our conscious awareness the scope of what we are physically able to do narrows within the confines of those ‘easy movement patterns’ until one day we find that those ‘easy movement patterns’ have become the ‘only’ movement patterns. From that moment forward chronic or acute pain is only a slip or a mis-step away.
Rehabilitation is simply a method by which one seeks to expand ones movement capabilities beyond our small repertoire of ‘easy movement patterns’ such that we are capable, for as long as we can, of moving in as many ways as may be required to live a long and healthy life.
Many of us ignore this until it is too late, all of the therapists at Myokinetics know this, having each been through similar journeys to Will’s but the journey, once it starts, need not stop, the joy of being able to move pain free can lead you to moving in ways that may even put a younger you to shame.
As Will puts it...‘My rehab is not yet complete…’
And nor should it be.
Need a hand contact us
The team at Myokinetics, having provided these services to clients in and around Chester since 2008, are skilled at identifying faulty movement patterns, assessing weaknesses and imbalances and educating you on what's is causing the issues that you may be facing.
Their approach involves the taking of a history, comprehensive physical testing, manual therapy (deep tissue and sports massage and the like), explanation of the issues in layman's terms, preparation of an initial rehab plan and comprehensive coaching to ensure you understand how to perform your rehab in order to start to make progress. The only thing they require of you is to be like Will: make your rehab your workout and the results will speak for themselves. Schedule a pain and injury assessment with one of the team here.
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